Thursday, 23 December 2010

Mary: Her unchristmassy poem for Christmas

In case you don't know, I am a published poet. I try to send friends a poem for Christmas. Sadly I don't have some people's email addresses so, for you, here's this year's poem. It's written in the voice of one of the key Nativity figures, Mary. It uses as its structure Ann Sexton's famous poem, Her Kind. Happy Christmas!

Mary: Her Kind
After Sexton

I have known the greedy looks of men
their black eyes frightening as night.
I have hurried, busied myself since I was ten
refusing their snares, kept my wits bright:
Lonely child, lonelier woman, hardened mind.
A woman like that is no-one’s possession, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have been a canvas mother to a holy child,
a carved idol receiving prayers from those unable to cope,
been forced to be pure, pious, to deny the furious wild
been stripped of sex as if thus I was a fit focus for hope:
seething, febrile, exploding, confused, disaligned.
A woman like that gets washed away, becomes empty and mild.
I have been her kind.

I have binned the heavy blue gown
escaped the velvet prison, stolen a motor bike,
pawned for a rock of crack the heavenly crown,
shagged some hairy ape, luscious women, ‘cos that’s what I like:
I have refused your dreams, wasted my soul.
A woman like that is free, save your frown.
I have been her kind.

RM. At the Hairdressers. 08/12.