Grand-Mère

So I tap, tap, tap.
White you go
but I’m still waiting.
I’m still waiting.

Who are these boys,
the ugly man that runs the country?
A mere twinkle when I was first an
old woman.  A pretender who
hides his heritage for the love
of power.

Til I roll my eyes again and repeat
the nursery rhymes that I taught you
which spill out between the cracks of my
shattered mind.

I was the suffragette who first
dared The Channel.
I was the crooked smile who
cocked a snook at the stiffened
shirts of the gendarmes.
I was the mother who rocked the baby
you in my arms.

And I was the granny who bit the
nurse on the commode.

I was the face in the photograph,
tiny torso in a wheeled chair.
I was the groaning carapace who,
hollow-cheeked,
pinched the shawl about my
knees and swore like a navvy
at the lady in St. Nicholas Park
and smiled like a treacle mouth so
she didn’t know.

Until I rattled my last.

Until I sighed out my submission
as you held my hand – and fingers
loosened their grip on this moment
and slipped from you without the
chance to sing again about the
tower on fire and the good prince
with the baggy trousers like we used
to in the glimpses of the past.

You brushed my hair again and
washed my face one last time and
crossed my suffragette arms
across my suffragette chest.  One
last time.

You kissed the face of what was
left, red-eyed with a crunchy
smile at the memories.

And the people sang in French. One
last time.

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  • Chant funèbre

    Chantez un chant funèbre, muses my-
    tiléniennes, chantez! La terre est sombre
    comme un vêtement de deuil et les arbres
    jaunes frissonnent comme des chevelures
    coupées.

    Héraïos! ô mois triste et doux! les
    feuilles tombent, [neige dorée]
    le soleil est plus pénétrant dans la
    forêt éclaircie… Je n’entends plus
    rien que le silence.

    Voici qu’on a porté au tombeau Pitta-
    kos chargé d’années. Beaucoup sont morts,
    que j’ai connus. Et celle qui vit est pour
    moi comme si elle n’etait plus.

    Il est temps aussi que je disparaisse.
    Pleurez avec moi,
    muses Mytiléniennes, pleurez!

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