t w o i s l a n d p o e t s w e a v e i d e n t i t y i n t o l a n d s c a p e
Carol Hunter-Clarke's poems merge contemporary insight with images, traditions and voices delineating the ancestry of women descended from the Caribbean. In "Tropical Petal," the reunion between past and present crystallizes through landscapes, revealing the contrasts of Diasporic identity.OLIVE SENIOR
t r o p i c a l p e t a l
A year after your death,
your things come from the cold Mother
country. I uncork your memories
sealed in barrels winged from her frost,
decades of foreign fragrance coffined
in the corner of my room,
mountains of yarn, stuffed toys, knits,
doilies delicate as spider webs,
remnants of you stretch across my bed.
I reshape your patterns,
recollect your rheumatic limbs, fighting fatigue,
(you who bloomed so in the sunshine)
I see you stone-faced angel at double-deckered stops,
remember the woman who pissed
in her boots because it was too cold to be decent
(it’s good for the leather too).
Today I do the last rites,
brighten your British beiges and muted greens,
inter you in mountain spices,
fold your memories like sheets
for the grandbabies
I want to plant some fever-grass
right at your head, tropical petal,
but instead I resurrect your navel-string,
replant it with this coconut tree.
c a r o l h u n t e r - c l a r k e
This poem first appeared in The Spoon River Poetry Anthology in 2002.
Regarding Olive Senior's poetry collection, Gardening in the Tropics: "As in all poetry dealing with landscape, the imaginative geography is not an end in itself but points to something beyond itself. It is the symbolic force of the tropical garden that forms the intellectual centre of this book of poems…" —From J. Michael Dash in Caribbean Week, 1994.
t h e b i r t h o f i s l a n d s
Fire at the core
Necklace of ash, stone, coral.
Islands emerge, submerge or shift
with continental drift. Islands
are not immortal. Without you,
islands could never be. You
are the portal. Islands are born
from your longings.
See how easy:
The spoon stirs up the void
Seabird drops its egg
A sand-grain launches itself
You blow breath on the ocean
Something breaks out on the face of the water
o l i v e s e n i o r
This poem first appeared in The Poetry International Web.
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