Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuesday Poem: Looking Back, by Aleksandra Lane

Looking Back

Something must have disappeared
from that day. A little sun veneer,
surface of light stolen
by the swooping hands
on your watch
perhaps. All around us
the grass was dazed dry
and the trees above were moving
in small fits, like children
not yet acquainted
with their own bodies,
but still painfully aware of their will.
We willed each other away
and then willed the other too quickly too
close again. Between us
there were no words, only children
unmade and children undone. It seemed
nothing was missing
at the time – that something
must have disappeared just now in me
explaining the day
must have lost a tooth
in that grass, in those clouds –
a little milkiness
never to be found again.

Looking Back is taken from Birds of Clay, Aleksandra Lane’s first book in English, after two published in Serbian. Aleks moved to New Zealand in 1996, and completed her MA in Creative Writing at Victoria University’s Institute of Modern Letters in 2010, receiving the Biggs Poetry Prize. Her poems have been published in Jacket2, Sport, Turbine, Takahe, Snorkel, Side Stream and Swamp. She lives in Wellington and is studying for a PhD in English at Massey University.

I enjoyed reading Birds of Clay, a varied collection which contains a range of forms - a number of prose poems, free form poems like Looking Back, but also more traditional forms such as the rather edgy villanelle "Knife". I was attracted to Aleks's beautiful although sometimes surreal imagery. I found some of the poems rather mystifying at first, but they reward careful re-reading. A book to be savoured. My thanks to Aleks for allowing me to choose a Tuesday Poem from her collection.

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4 comments:

Helen McKinlay said...

The imagery in this poem is unique. Love the way Aleksandra bases it on children.

'must have lost a tooth
in that grass, in those clouds –
a little milkiness
never to be found again.'

Michelle Elvy said...

Fantastic. I don't know this poet but will be sure to watch out for more. The opening line here is great. And, like Helen, I find the images lasting...

Keith Westwater said...

I like it a lot - loads of lovely word associations and light leaps. Thanks Catherine.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Lots of nice touches in this, sun veneer, dazed dry