Sunday 8 July 2018

Poems as character snapshots

Poems are helpful for all sorts of things, from celebration to closure. I also use them to capture moments, to capture feelings and sometimes, to capture characters.

This is one I wrote a long, long time ago. Every time I read it, I can conjure her up. And every time, I understand her a little more.

Cutting Chips  by  Jan Jones

She cuts chips the long way
One slice at a time
Thanked me with remote eyes
when I told her how it could be done faster
but said there was more to life than speed

She fills whole afternoons shopping
Looking for things not to buy, reasons not to buy them
Changes her clothes several times a day
as an excuse to move from one room to another

She inhabits the kitchen distantly whilst we crack beers,
Eat dinner at peak acceleration, rattle through the washing up
Sits alone in the lounge in the evenings
with a CD and a glass of sherry on a drinks mat.
He always hated rings.

We ask, does she want to come out with us tonight?
She smiles and shakes her head
She’s going to watch television
There’s a programme later on about making ravioli