In my previous post I shared the first two poems from Still Born, the collaboration of response poems by Valerie Morton and me. Valerie and I each had a poem ‘in waiting’ – here is the poem I gave to Valerie and her response. For each copy that we sell we are giving £5 to Sands, the still birth and neonatal death charity. You can buy a print or pdf copy at Books.
Rosemary for Remembrance by Karen Dennison
Rub this rosemary between finger and thumb
to escape the walled garden where you walk
the same path. Do not cling like dead roots
to these crumbling bricks. There is more
than one sun. Listen. The river is calling,
rocking the empty boat. There is more
than one heart. I know you’re lost in the lyrics
of don’t be cruel, that each verse for you
is a windowless room. But there is more
than one song. Remember the girl setting out
in the dark, how the moon was an oyster
to be shucked, how each day slid down
your throat. There is more. There is more.
Lost by Valerie Morton
That girl has been lost for too long – singing
the same song, brushing the same path,
wearing out shoes on gravel that crunches
with the memory of feet that will never return.
Today she’ll pluck the last stem of rosemary,
suffocating amongst ground elder, crush it
between her palms, and leave behind that garden
strangled by neglect. I’ll dig deep, pull her out, drag her
along the river path, following the sun, my pace
quickening at new horizons. When I can bear
to let her go, I’ll not look back to where she sits –
but forward, where each turn in the river is a new song.