Enough. Take your feathers
dead or alive and flutter into oblivion.
I'm done with the fractured wing,
the punctured lung, severed spine.
I will not weigh your soul
and account for all its cherished works.
Though your nest lies ruptured,
and broken at my feet, all my remedies
are used up, finished, expired.
Mud no more, dear downy love.
Burn the twigs, the riff-raff rags.
Let the cats loose.
Fetch the axe.
I'm cutting down the tree.
originally appeared in Crab Creek Review
T. Clear is a Tuesday Poet of Irish descent who lives in Seattle, U.S. She has been publishing her award-winning work for more than thirty years. She is a founder of Floating Bridge Press, and works as a production and shipping manager for a Seattle-based glass artist. Her poetry, photography and stimulating posts can be found on her blog Premium T (in our sidebar). Links to her published work can be found there too.
Tuesday Poem first discovered T. Clear - christened Therese, she's known as T - via TP co-curator Claire Beynon's blog. As happens in the blogosphere, these two very similar thinkers/writers had connected, and Claire approached T. to join us in posting poems every Tuesday. We were delighted when she came on board. One of her first Tuesday Poems was Last Rescued Bird which blew me out of the water.
T. Clear's poetry is powerful and clear-eyed. It ranges from the warm, funny and quirky to the unsentimental and uncompromising. Its foundations are strong, playful language. Last Rescued Bird impresses me because it is subversive, using the imperative mood and uncompromising language to attempt to silence the myth of woman as the unquestioning nurturer.
Against the thrust of society, history and literature, where the 'womanly art of caring' is apotheosised, the woman in this poem - for woman it must be - puts herself first, and cries 'enough'.
It reminds me of Australian author Helen Garner's The Spare Room which unsettled many readers for its portrayal of a relationship where a woman cares for a dying friend in her home, but also says, eventually, 'enough'. Author Kirsty Gunn in her review of The Spare Room says it's ' I like this poem for similar reasons.
As with any good poem, I like it, too, for how it sounds in the mouth. The 'f' and 'u' and hard 'c' sounds echo between the lines to evoke the 'rupture', the 'fracture', the exhaustion, the strength of purpose. No accident that together they form a word that's felt but not said.
'Mud no more, my dear downy love,' is wonderful for the softer sounds of 'o' and 'm' and 'u' which, with the phrase 'dear downy love', evoke earlier more tender feelings. 'Burn the twigs, the riff-raff rags,' is tough again - spitting. This is a woman who is uncompromising in her decision. And the poem finishes with three powerful statements that gather momentum to the final violent act of sundering.
Do visit T. Clear's blog for more wonderful revelations. Last Rescued Bird is published with permission and can be found on T's blog here.
This week's editor is the co-curator of Tuesday Poem, Mary McCallum. An author and poet, who also teaches creative writing, reviews books and works as a bookseller, she lives in Wellington, New Zealand. Her blog is O Audacious Book. Check out her poem this week After Reading Auden, and the blogs by the other Tuesday Poets, in the sidebar.