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Spring/Summer 2003, Volume 20.3

Poetry

 

Pat JourdanPicture of Pat Jourdan.


Pat Jourdan graduated from Liverpool College of Art. She has published work in California Quarterly, River King Poetry Supplement, Asheville Poetry Review, Mojo Risin' and elsewhere. She is winner of the Molly Keane Writing Award 2002. She recently has been published in 100 Poets Against War and in Irish Poets Against War (O'Brien Press). She is a painter now living in Galway, Ireland, where she is the Editor of The Lantern Review.

 

Hampstead Laundresses

Discarded signs of peoples' livesó
we see everything
plummetting into the swirling vats.
Our hands grow huge, the knuckles red
patches of skin soaked to vulnerability.
Our trade, our trading fingers,
always the water, the floating grime.
Our chatter releases the casual dirt,
we take past weeks and
transmute them into whitenesses.
We are the ones who give the second chance,
make the linen and the satin perform again.
Appearancesówe dress the play,
we see the beginnings and
the aftermath of love,
the innocent sweat, its stink,
the vanishing stains.
We see everything.
We see the blood on Mr. Keats' shirts.
We see the poetry fall back into prose.

 

Beethoven Understands

Beethoven understands,
gives me bread and healing.
Know nothing of the chords and textures,
just know I need him.
Past the spirals of adolescence
he returns now, later,
much nearer
than half-forgotten actual lovers.
Heavier than town halls his reassurance,
more tender than student midwives
his gentleness.
Perhaps he must also
have written on Wednesday afternoons,
pulling God in
through the windowpanes.

 

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