Poems: Mary Gladstone
 
 

MEMENTO MORI 
on 11th February, anniversary of Sylvia Plath's death
 
My pen stabs those who let you die
  My pen melts the ice that froze you
    My pen splits the apple that damned you
      My pen explores your wound and heals it
        My pen as wand wakes you from your sleep
          My pen as staff is St. Christopher to your Christ
            My pen as sceptre anoints you as queen of rhymes
              My pen as taper lights the candle in your remembrance
                And without those two letters as suffix
                   My pen is saying to you on this your death-day
 
 
                             LIVE!     LIVE!     LIVE!
 
published in Chapman Magazine Number 46. 

 


 
 
MISS CURRER BELL
 
Your wren frame
and rib cage
(brittle as the picked bones
of a baked capon)
 
trod slimy flagstones
in flimsy shoes
where you shivered
in churches, expiating
not your sin but
the cant of others.
 
You saw them all die,
including the profligate
brother
 
from consumption, bad water
and cold kitchen floors:
Ellis, with her heath-wanderings
and intractable will and
Acton, docile and willing
to give herself to her Maker.
 
Your fame never cooled
your rage,
but in a snowdrop dress
you gave yourself to a
clod whose possession
killed you.
 
published in FRESH OCEANS an anthology of poetry by Scottish Women (including Valerie Gillies, Margaret Elphinstone, Kathleen Jamie, Naomi Mitchison)


 
OLD SIR JOHN
 
So you, Sir John,
were her kinsman
and that sperm from
your loin
spawned a man
who ruled the waves.
Yes, Sir John,
brute face
stern patriarch
whiskered and spatted,
Sir
John.
 
You, Sir, a merchant prince
who carried on
a tidal wave
all in your wake
making them flotsam
and jetsam
and fake.
You, Midas and grotesque
swept up slaves into
galleys, plantations, estates,
controlling and nailing
them all to your mast,
Sir
John.
 
And now,
six generations on,
She still feels your
evil presence,
Sir John,
Your sin has been
visited on her. 
 
Published in Chapman Magazine Number 46.