An anthology of poems compiled by Linda Coggin and Clare Marlow
Mother measuring curtains, picking up from school. Mother as dancer, diver, explorer, barrage balloon, the sea. Memories and "the smallest whisper of death" (Brian Patten in "The Armada").
To write about our mother is to explore the deepest of our emotions, and in this collection there are no commonplace hearts and flowers but expressions of gratitude, respect, regret and love by some of our best living poets, including Simon Armitage, Jean "Binta" Breeze, U.A. Fanthorpe, John Freeman, Tony Harrison, Seamus Heaney, Liz Lochhead, Andrew Motion and Benjamin Zephaniah. There are also poems by Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling and D H Lawrence.
Getting to Go
By John Whitworth
When we'd done with Sunday school, she wasn't there.
Not then. Not soon. Not ever. No more Mum.
She had fallen on the landing by the stair,
Just coming up, and now she would never come.
Though I prayed and cried and prayed, God didn't care.
In the Edinburgh Infirmary she lay
On life support. We did not get to go,
And how she looked at last I cannot say.
They told us all they thought we ought to know.
My father went to see her every day,
Bess who had laughed and talked and smoked late as
Twenty past two on Sunday afternoon,
Now emptied into absence, a hiatus
As uninhabitable as the Moon,
Something connected up to apparatus.
He watched the picture of Elizabeth
Jean Boyes, who was fat and witty, who was good
And kind and lost her temper, watched her breath
Pumped in, sucked out, her tubes, her bottled blood.
He watched the whole technology of death.
All this I think. Of course I do not know.
We did not see. We did not get to go.
Mother, Dear Mother
By Elma Mitchell
She is invigilator; her name is knife.
She changes nappies and sleeps in my father's bed.
If I cry or trickle, she'll come to my whistle
And give me her breast. Or let me lie and cry.
Half of her's mine, and half is my hot fat father's.
To each, one arm, one eye - and then what?
What is the good of possessing half a woman?
I'll put her down to me by her swinging hair
And eat her all up, moon-face, belly and toes,
And throw the skin to my father, to keep him warm.
Price £7.95 per copy post free (£5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover design: Not credited.
Publication: 2001 (99 pages laminated paperback)