- and here is The Wish by Josephine Haslam (runner up, joint second place with Matthew Sweeney) in the National Poetry Comp. I put it up because it is the kind of poem that makes me say, oh yes - I wrote that! Meaning not that I am claiming authorship or any wish to plagiarise, but when you read a poem that hits home it almost feels as though one could have written it. It comes in and speaks from the centre of you. Only a woman could have written this, was my first thought. Not necessarily true, but still - 'twas my first thought.
I give you my wish; my half of the bird’s
fused clavicle picked clean of flesh. I give
you its winged thinness and its seed head curve
to stand for everything I own and love.
And though I want it most to be the one
that brings you back as surely as the bird
that turns for home, it isn’t that.
Nor is it the unearthed bone from Grimm
that speaks the truth and knows its provenance;
but only what we’ve taken from the supermarket hen
we cooked for lunch. Still, it’s this
they say will bring you all you long for.
But if that doesn’t happen, know that every bone I have
is for you a wishing bone and every wish,
for you, the best there is. And if
when it comes down to it and we’re all done
the bone is all that’s left, I’ll give you my tibia
and fibula, the femur, knuckle, pelvic girdle, skull,
this finger with its ring on, spine that holds me up,
every part in fact of the empty cage that’s held
the inner workings of the heart, the breathing lungs.
So I think we will skip the Gratias and zoom straight on to the Jesu Christe. It's really short, but asks for every bit of breath in one's body to sing it. The alto line is the dominant one. Turn the volume up and imagine this coming from the breast of Signs on a Tuesday night. A whole week's worth of breath in one enormous whoosh. I trust that someone up there (hello Gawd) is listening and notching up gold stars.
- and perhaps someone can tell me who this Renaissance dame might be.