Poem: Eggshell garden

November 10, 2022

Half an egg, hidden in a drawer,
a tiny half-skull among the socks.
She gathers dirt, careful not to leave
a tell-tale trail, fills her tiny cup,
waits until dandelions are blown
into wishes, wraps a seed in tissue.
She puts her garden on the windowsill,
a promise behind the curtains,
which are printed with pink roses
and stringy effusions of lavender.
Sprouting towards the light,
a tiny green finger pokes into being,
and the eventual flower is more
dandekitten than anything fierce. 
It purrs in her mind, her flower
wattle-like yellow, punctuating
her bedroom with a freedom of glee.

PS Cottier

Somewhere there’s a photo of me as a child holding a plant which is growing inside an eggshell. That memory inspired this poem.

Glassy eyed

She wraps herself in air, mere
scent and breeze and rumour,
and perches on the nearest branch
to hear the evening’s chat.
Invisible, except when the youngest child,
not quite doomed to prose,
holds a kaleidoscope to open window,
bored with the inexplicable gush
that parents call a conversation —
a strange animal dressed in beige
that sometimes flares to angry orange.
And amongst the leaves of glassy,
clipped punctuation, caught in a cylinder
of found poetry, the girl sees a pellucid
curve, bending towards the house,
and knows it to be outside the scope
of parental chat or cunning toy.
A shimmering crescent perched
between the eucalyptus leaves,
the eager figure bends towards the hum,
a stingless bee, muted hint of dragonfly.
Shaking her toy and her mousy hair,
the girl turns away, back to the easy
world of solids, and lumpy certainty.
Outside, a quiet sigh augments the wind,
and gossamer wings unfurl to flight.

P.S. Cottier


You can’t have too many fairy poems, in my opinion.  Well you probably can, but I quite like this; and it’s nice not to always be writing angry poems about politics or climate change or mass extinctions.

Are fairies an endangered species?   Discuss in two thousand words or fewer.

For Zoe

Snow falling in flumps
down to make a slushy mud
as rolled in by
the dalmination of pigs
marketable, beef-eating and
shown on Playschool,
and repeated forever,
one yawning stretching week,
between half past three and four.
(That giraffe-necked word
animation, she connects
with 101 Dalmatians,
a hang-dog Disney book
dredged together from the film
and read once when she was two.)
All hail the child genius, says Mum,
struck with awe, but not quite dumb.
Here, would you like to see a photo?
Every wallet a portrait gallery,
the child nestled beside the notable.

When she’s eighteen,
she’ll deny that
flumps ever passed her lips,
those cubes of whiteness,
borne from experiment,
flavouring my day.
An only child learns fast,
melts into cultured age
and books, the favoured flavour
of literacy.
Her ecstasy at reading now hints
that flumps’ days are numbered.
Expelliarmus, flumps!
She’ll wave her wand of bigger words,
casting new spells.
Not yet, please, not yet.
Bide a little longer,
stay home from school,
and we’ll be two flumps on the couch
between half past three and four.

PS Cottier

My daughter graduated from primary school last week, so I dug out this poem written when she was just starting school, which was published in my first book, The Glass Violin. Now for a list of cliches:

They grow up so fast
Blink and they’ll be gone
No, that’s not your little baby is it

All so true, and all so tedious. (Note that I am being tough here; back to the safer realm of the satiric after a very rare leap into family matters.)

The Tuesday Poets are of all sorts. Click this feather and track them like endangered birds:
Tuesday Poem