03 July 2012

Tuesday Poem: 'The Sewing Room' by Vana Manasiadis

T h e  S e w i n g  R o o m .  T h e  d a u g h t e r s  a r e 
s u r r o u n d e d   b y  o p e n  b o x e s  a n d  c r a t e s . 
T h e  w i n d o w s  a r e  o p e n  a n d  t h e  w i n d ’ s 
p i c k e d  u p

What will we do with it then?

The dozens of boxes labelled Little Girls’ for a start?

You’ve heard her: don’t dare sell an inch for nothing to idiots

who’ll use woolblends for blankets and crushed silk for sheets

St Vinnie’s won’t do then

nor will ads in The Post

definitely not Trade Me

or friends who’ll frown and say: more trouble than worth, sad to say

We could keep it all

But where would we put it?

And I don’t sew

and I don’t have the time

What if we didn’t take it from her?

What do you mean?

I mean it’s all hers after all

But can she do anything with it now?

Maybe it could do something for her: whisk her away, lead her off

A trip?

Yes, now you’re getting it

She did love the sea

(although she never learnt to swim)

and she loved ships

she went on that cruise around the world

and she made us drink holy water

and sprinkled it into every room

We need to make a sail

Yes. A mighty patchwork

I’ve got the tartan over here, the red cord is next to you

and there’s this box: Special Occasions

and when we’re done we’ll fly it from the mast up on the roof

This’ll be big


It’ll be big enough to set the house adrift

turn the lawn blue

draw southerly sea-winds

flap seagulls out her way

Can you see her sailing up Akatea Street? Down The Parade?

Looks like she is heading towards The Strait

the Pacific

the Atlantic oceans

and now?

She’s caught the wind, she’s sailing alongside Poseidon’s very arm

Give me your binoculars: she’s floating

on the white organza

way above the sea spray.

Vana Manasiadis, from Ithaca Island Bay Leaves: A Mythistorima.

This poem is for Lela, for Matt, for Wiremu and for Iris, sailing above the sea spray.

I haven't blogged for ages. I hope this will be the beginning of a bit more.


Mary McCallum said...

Helen, I know this as soon as I start to read it. It's by Vana Manasiadis and it's about her mother who recently passed away. It filled my heart to read it again. I remember that image so well it's painful, of her mother sailing up Akatea St and down the Parade and floating off on white organza ... such a poignant image now she's gone. Thank you Helen.

Helen Rickerby said...

Wow Mary, that was quick! There's been a lot of death, or anniversaries of deaths, around me just lately, including Vana's mother, and I wanted to honour them. I never met her mother, but I can imagine her sailing her house over Island Bay and out into the ocean.

Mary McCallum said...

As soon as I saw you'd blogged I clicked excitedly on it! And glad to hear there will be more.

Yes, I feel the same about all these deaths at the moment - so many mothers and fathers, so many orphans - hence my strange poem on grief on my blog this week ... and last week's one about the wind which was for the mother of a friend who passed away in a car crash....

I like that you've dedicated Vana's poem to others who've passed away - it lends itself to that.

Harvey Molloy said...

Thanks for this Helen. Good to see you blogging again.

Michelle Elvy said...

Gorgeous images in this -- ones I can relate to. Longlasting lines and impressions, like her floating on white organza above the sea spray. Such a full poem.