Tuesday poem: The lock

February 5, 2013

The lock

‘…a lock of Jane Austen’s hair has just sold at auction for £5,640 (on today’s exchange, that’s AU$11,640.73)….’ 
The Australian Writers’ Marketplace blog, June 24th, 2008. A photo of the hair appears in The Guardian, June 2nd. It has been shaped into the crude representation of a tree.

Do they stroke it with avid fingers, this palm tree lock
that once grew from the full head of quietest genius?
Scalping would be too much, headhunting too tropical
but buying the hair of a dead woman you can’t know
is quite the thing. Your age, Jane, would craft sad crap
like this weeping whale-spout from bits of loved ones,
so willowy wrists were always kissed by absent lips,
dead, or gone to Australia. Perhaps the buyer loves
your wit and grace, balanced like a cat walking over
a bark of craning dogs; the way your corseted matter
could expand beyond tight binding without showing
the pumping. Or perhaps your dead snips are stalked
by modern zombies of celebrity, shameless and bloody.
A bit like Bath, but bigger. Personally, I blame the BBC.

P.S. Cottier

only more old-school

only more old-school

Two hundred years since Pride and Prejudice this year, and I thought it was appropriate to post this little poem (first published in Eureka Street and then in The Cancellation of Clouds) about the author. I hate those BBC dramas where the clothes seem to be the main feature. Austen’s strength was her prose style, not her embroidery.

Tap this quill and be taken to a site where many poems appear:

Tuesday Poem