It’s a great pleasure introducing this month’s poet Pat Edwards. We met on Facebook and then discovered we both have a book with Indigo Dreams Publishing.
Pat is a writer, reviewer and workshop leader from mid Wales. She also offers a poetry feedback service on her site Gold Dust. Her work has appeared in Magma, Prole, Atrium, IS&T and many others. Pat hosts Verbatim open mic nights during more ‘normal’ times and curates Welshpool Poetry Festival. She has two pamphlets: Only Blood (Yaffle, 2019); Kissing in the Dark (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2020).
Today is Mother’s Day in many countries. Pat’s dedication for Only Blood reads ‘For Mum and Dad if only we could all try again.’ Here are three poems from Only Blood, followed by Journey, from Kissing in the Dark, in Pat’s honest and compassionate voice.
The year Mum died
She is cutting tiny pieces of foam rubber
to comfort-cushion her feet in pinch-painful shoes.
There’s that look in her eyes, the one I don’t yet understand,
that gives away the cell-division in her breast.
She has a box of keepsakes I’m allowed to sift through:
the silver clasp for keeping sixpences together;
the golden compact that clicks open to reveal a mirror;
the trace of bronze powder that smells like ladies.
Here in 1963 amongst the fullness of her skirt,
I am barely five and only know I love her.
I want to find my mother’s jewellery,
to lift the lid on a tin box
of paste and pearls;
to find drop earrings that glint,
necklaces that lie on collar bones,
a charm or two for luck.
I want her wedding band,
brooches that once fastened scarves,
all the souvenirs and sentiment.
But I bet the first went to pay the gas,
the second to buy the weekly shop,
the third towards a gambling debt.
Teenage me always knew when he’d put on a bet.
The channel would get changed,
there would be an urgent tension,
tight as a fist.
We’d sit saying not a word,
for fear speaking would fracture us.
Then, in the closing furlongs,
I’d know for sure.
Dad would bounce on the edge of his seat,
building from a hushed Come on my beauty!
to blatant demand of it.
We would both urge the horse
across the finishing line,
jockey standing in his stirrups,
cracking the whip.
Then the relief.
Let’s get your hair done.
I can buy you a new coat.
As if I was my mother.
I draw a blue-black line under my eyes,
trace it across the tattoo on my left arm.
I watch it slide down the veins of my leg,
to settle in a grey graffiti pool by my feet.
That’s quite some journey I say out loud,
so the man on the train looks up from
his screen and glares at me like a priest.
My thin mouth flashes a penance smile
back at him and he absolves me I think.
That’s quite some journey I say silently
so the man in my dream looks up from
his book and smiles at me like a friend.
My full mouth offers him a lover’s kiss
which surely changes something I think.
I draw a blue-black line under everything.