Go back

                                                                                                Alan Wickes


Concerning Mother

'Let's revisit last week's conversation
and think through why the stories you make-up
concern abuse and cruel sarcasm.
You said, I quote, My childhood seemed a waste,
so many futile sunny days; singing
happy birthday made me cry. I felt diseased.

I wonder why you chose that word - diseased,
not lonely, or anxious? Conversation -
you said it helps, Maybe the words we waste
stave off white space, and I, through you, make up
a paltry life, and feel fulfilled singing
from your hymn sheet.
Was that your sarcasm?'

'No, more like the crumbling edge. Sarcasm
is just a puritan's social disease'

She smiles, takes notes, as if to say why waste
your humour on a shrink; so I make up
to please her, a bogus conversation
with mother, how I hated her singing.

'I cannot see her face; I hear her singing,
a rich contralto voice; my sarcasm -
shielding the cat's ears as she sang..
''Why make up
these tales? Last week's concerned childhood disease -
your allergy to cats.' Conversation
falters, expensive moments go to waste.

'Like litter blown across a weed strewn waste,
her songs are lost..'
' No, think about her singing.
I know how hard you find this conversation,
don't hide behind your phony sarcasm'
'Towards the end she lost her voice; the disease
stole it. She mouthed the words, doing her make-up

propped-up at the mirror, daubing make-up
on hollow cheeks, her pocked face gone to waste.
Later, bedridden, when finally disease
addled her mind, I ended-up singing
old songs to comfort her. No sarcasm -
just sentimental songs, our final conversation.'

These memories I make up - Mother's singing,
her terminal disease, my sarcasm -
I waste today in ritual conversation.



Prospero At Breakfast

Top-billed, you might expect a grand hotel
while cast and crew make do with B&Bs;
but no, you're stuck in 'Braemar' (vacancies,
bathrooms en-suite). You wake to Prospero's cell
spruced-up in Laura Ashley; Ariel
deflowering Miranda next door. Please
Do Not Disturb, some hope! Breakfast, you squeeze
two cups from one tea-bag, slick hair with gel,
then enter with rehearsed panache; a head
or two might turn and whisper to a friend,
"Who's that?" "Not Alan Bates", "I think he's dead."

Still, you tame the matinee; gradually
the sniggering kids are hushed, and by the end
applaud enough to set an old magician free.



First Post

Welcome 'persibish' to Sonnet Central.
Your handle seems familiar, have we met?
Although there's much to praise here, the octet
employs a strange rhyme scheme that's detrimental
to your poem's success. Best avoid slant rhyme -
like stone and frown within a formal verse,
inversions in line 6 just make things worse,
(though 'sneer of cold command' is quite sublime).
Who's Ozymandias - some obscure pharaoh?
You have prodigious talent, but lack craft -
the simple diction found in the sestet,
could be used throughout, IMVHO.
The more you post the better you will get.
Good work. Well done. Please post your second draft.



                                                                                                © Alan Wickes

triple rule

Loch Raven Review Winter 2005 — Vol. I, No. 2
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