May 14th, 2010


Another Abigail poem

Bethnal Green 1994-2005

She never spoke on platforms. Wasn't shy-
hated the thought and could not tell you why
of speaking to a crowd. She'd work a street
one household at a time, and she could meet

people who answered doors, and hear them moan
and leave them feeling good. And on her own
she'd walk with leaflets through a tough estate
and if a skinhead jostled, would debate

could make him cry with that same gentle voice
that soothed old ladies. When the Party's choice
was Blair, she sighed. And then there was the war.
She didn't love her Party any more

Never quite left, but thinking she'd been part
of so much death...That was what broke her heart.

Another Abi Sonnet

The Better Maker

Sometimes her cats. Or Eliot. Or Myles
Na Gopaleen. She'd skitter round the page
turn verbal tricks. Her essays' many styles
weren't just a game - under the jokes, her rage

Bubbled away. As critic, she was calm
yet passionate; she tried to make you care.
Her writing draped fine textiles on your arm
or made you see, as if it was just there

before your eyes, the fine line of a pot.
She was the best of ghosts - her Dublin book,
all research and invention, feels like what
the truth was. Icy, fiercely she would look

and mock if you suggested any part
of all her work for pay or fun was Art.

And another


'Come off it, Roz,'she'd say,'and cut the crap.
I was no saint. You know it. Half the time
I was depressed and sulky, and would wrap
Myself in gloom. You'd bitch at all the grime

Fag ash left on my stuff, and all the smoke.
In dead of winter, if I came to tea,
You'd make me stand outside - pretend to choke
If I lit up. And all this misery!

I'm dead; you're not. And if the stiff were you
I would be over it. And all this verse!
I ask you, sonnets?! bloody sonnets! Who
D'you think you are? Rosetti? Fuck it. Worse!

Christina!!!' I'd just love to hear her moan
If Hades or Elysium let you phone.