Wednesday, April 11, 2007

What does the queen carry in her handbag?

Today I share with you two poems I found in Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times. The two poems sat together on a page and were too perfect to separate.

What Every Woman Should Carry

My mother gave me the prayer to Saint Theresa.
I added a used tube ticket, kleenex,
several Polo mints (furry), a tampon, pesetas,
a florin. Not wishing to be presumptuous,
not trusting you either, a pack of 3.
I have a pen. There is space for my guardian
angel, she has to fold her wings. Passport.
A key. Anguish, at what I said/didn’t say
when once you needed/didn’t need me. Anadin.
A credit card. His face the last time,
my impatience, my useless youth.
That empty sack, my heart. A box of matches.

by Maura Dooley


My mother's old leather handbag,
crowded with letters she carried
all through the war. The smell
of my mother's handbag: mints
and lipstick and Coty powder.
The look of those letters, softened
and worn at the edges, opened,
read, and refolded so often.
Letters from my father. Odour
of leather and powder, which ever
since then has meant womanliness,
and love, and anguish, and war.

by Ruth Fainlight

What have you stopped carrying in your handbag? What do you wish your significant other would carry in hers? Discuss.

One last thing: check out this book (and other books listed in this blog) at your local library. I link to because the dynamic URL from the library wasn't a successful link. I'm all in support of purchasing poetry, but consider checking them out at your local library as well. Libraries rock!

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