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THINGS I WILL PUT IN MY

MOTHER'S POCKET

 

Catherine Graham grew up in Newcastle on Tyne where she still lives.

 

Her awards include a Northern Voices Poetry Award.

 

Her chapbook Signs (ID on Tyne Press) was one of The Poetry Kit's top five recommended books for 2011.

 

Catherine's work has appeared alongside poems by internationally acclaimed poets including: Carol Ann Duffy, Seamus Heaney, Benjamin Zephaniah, Sharon Olds and Bob Dylan in Soul Feathers (Indigo Dreams Publishing 2011) and Paul Muldoon, Robert Hass, Fleur Adcock and Penelope Shuttle in The Stony Thursday Book (Arts Office of Limerick City Council, Ireland 2009).

 

She is a popular performer at poetry events including: Northern Stage, the Liverpool International Weekend of Poetry (with Jim Bennett, The Poetry Kit) and a number of Amnesty International Poetry Benefits.

 

 

THINGS I WILL PUT IN MY MOTHER'S POCKET

 

CATHERINE GRAHAM

 

ISBN 978-1-909357-08-2

 

Indigo Dreams Publishing

 

Poetry

 

138 x 216mm

 

74 pages

 

£8.95 + P&P UK

 

Publication March 2013

 

 

ORDER HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Signs

 

When I set out on my journey

I shall leave home early.

 

I shall wear shoes that breathe slowly;

button up my best coat.

 

My scarf will wrap itself around me,

brushing my cheek like a newborn hand

 

and I shall need a bag, the one

that smells of her favourite perfume.

 

A simple sign

nailed to a wooden post.  

 

See her alight with only the ghost

of a well dressed smile.

 

This is the place

where dandelion clocks stand still.

 

 

 

 

Making Clogs At Gallowgate

for Doris

 

 

I let him believe I'm fourteen; old enough

to be a clog-maker. The rough, green overall

tied tight around my waist gives me the figure

I haven't got: I comb my fringe to the side.

Uppers hang in the workshop like kippers;

the genuine smell of leather all around.

Gripping the sycamore sole between my legs,

I squeeze my knees together, like mam

says I always should, and hammer like hell

at the horseshoe, braying the nails into the wood:

slicing leather with the sharpest knife in the world;

my hands bleeding, like Christ up on the cross.

Soon I'll be promoted to stretching the skins

over metal lasts, if I keep my head down.

My workmates are five sisters, all would-be

opera singers. Listen, you can hear them

even now, Si tu ne m'aimes pas prends garde à toi!

And old Ebenezer next door, stitching:

our would-be baritone. Every morning

we're greeted by a longtail that runs along the pipes.

The same R.A.T. (for it's unlucky to say the word),

comes out again at noon, scurrying around

like a frantic clerk of works, on the look out

for idle crumbs. The loud clock ticka ticka ticka ticks

its way to Friday when the shop window's filled

with beautiful black clogs, perched in pairs

on shelves, like lovebirds, and I collect my

seven and six. That's when I leave work

by the front door, so I can pass the window

and Fenwick's with its felt hats and blouses

made from the finest of satins and silks.

Last Waltz

 

 

Bedroom slippers are her dance shoes now,

still shining like silver paper

 

as we slow waltz around the kitchen.

One two    three    one

 

two three. Left hand resting on my shoulder,

right hand palm to palm with mine,

 

her wedding ring no longer round.

Without band or CD

 

we sing her favourite: Moonlight and Roses.

The mother I meet this morning

 

smiles as she did at nineteen, her twenty inch waist

the envy of every girl in the dance hall.

 

Resting her head on my breast

she whispers how much she's missed me.

 

Today I am my father, yesterday

her schoolgirl daughter, scolded

 

for not clearing my plate. The glitter ball stops

right above us; we collect our prize and pour tea.

 

 

 

Scent Of A Woman

 

 

When a new love gives you

perfume for Christmas

 

you want to swim in it; spray it

in places you haven't touched

 

in years. When you discover

it's the perfume his first love wore

 

you want explosive sex

before spraying some in his eyes.

 

Things I Will Put In My Mother's Pocket

 

 

The photograph taken

on the veranda,

his arm around her shoulder.

 

The letter he sent

from Yeovil.

Her first-born's silver bangle.

 

Imperial Leather soap,

a comb

and a clean apron.

 

A Jim Reeves L.P.,

a bottle of

Youth Dew perfume.

 

The way he'd call her bonnie lass

and touch her cheek

as she entered the room.

 

Three rings

I'll not answer,

letting me know she's safe home.

 

 

 

“Graham writes with a sharp eye for detail, building glorious pictures that reveal and explore her subjects in new and exciting ways. She is incisive, direct and there is something fresh about her approach and style that makes these poems very readable and memorable.”

Jim Bennett

 

“These poems explore intimacy and distance, the breathtaking strangeness of everyday situations, and the many faces of pain and hope. They entertain, too. Skilfully plucked images are spun across the reader's attention with playful bravado. Tyneside has produced a new poet. Catherine Graham is the real thing.”

Peter Bennet

 

"In an original, imaginative series of poetry, Catherine Graham, weaves lyricism and everyday insights to create a glorious fabric. She creates a beautiful collection of poems full of the wonderful material of life."

Sheree Mack

Catherine Graham crop Pocket web