(Things Left Unsaid)

I was running out of the house to work the other day, but couldn’t find my notebook. Turned out later, that I’d actually managed to leave it at work the day before, but at the time, I needed something to write on. If I don’t have paper, I’ll need it, so I try never to go out without some. Also, I can read back through my old stuff.

“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on a train.”

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So I picked up one of my old notebooks, hoping for a blank page or two, and came across an old half-finished poem that I’ve attacked.

This one is inspired by two Young Learner teachers at my school. The style is like the notes that Claire makes on the language she aims to elicit from children – she makes the most ridiculously complete notes, which are useful when you want to steal ideas. And the idea and concept come from Kirsten, who hates to teach anything related to family, because for some children, herself included, talking too much about your family can reopen some painful wounds.

As you’ll see in a sec, it’s kind of an experimental style. I’ve actually written three or four more verses of dubious quality, so for now, they’re cut. Here’s the poem:

(Things Left Unsaid)

This is my (sister),
(her) name is (Claire)
(She) works as a (teacher)
with (long curly) hair.

“Are you good friends?”
“Yes we are.” / “No we’re not.”
(She) (always) wears (hats)
when the weather is (hot).

(She) likes (over-ripe) peaches,
(sweet ooze down her chin,
that she wipes with her finger
and sucks it back in)

(she) (laughs) when (she)’s happy,
and (hides) when (she)’s sad
(the truth from her family,
the troubles she’s had).

(She) hates (stormy nights),
that’s one of (her) fears
(though the lines on the window
are raindrops, not tears).

(She)’s (older) than me,
and her birthday is (missed,
when she once ran away
for a man she had kissed)

I love to (remember)
my (sister)’s (blue) eyes,
(the look that she) gives me
when (she rolls them and sighs).

(She) (died) last year,
and now (don’t you see),
now (she)’s (whoever)
I want (her) to be.

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