Today’s poem is by Selima Hill – a very prolific poet, who must be pretty well thought of. I have much of her back catalogue, but have to admit to not quite “getting” a lot of it. That said, there must be something quite compelling about it, as I keep on reading it, hoping that one day maybe I will “get it”. Perhaps that is the point. It certainly does get a lot of re-reads from me.
I first read this poem in an anthology of food-themed poems and recipes called Poetry on a Plate, published, appropriately enough, as part of the Poetry Society‘s National Poetry Day in 2004.
This poem is a poem about you.
I’m going to lay you down on the bed
and all you have to do is just listen.
I sit beside you on the little chair.
And this in fact is where the poem ends –
just as I’m about to forgive you.
(This poem’s getting shorter and shorter.
It used to be a poem about lettuces.
It used to be bright green and irrepressible.)
Somehow the poem seems to create, for me, an image of the poet sat on a chair by the bed despairing, with a bright green lettuce on a red pillow on the bed. Why? The image is not in the poem. It’s not about lettuces.
I think what I really appreciate about this poem is it’s resolute insistence that it belongs in my anthology of food-related poetry, despite it’s tenuous link to the subject matter. It is fairly irrepressible after all.
I’d love to share more of Selima Hill’s poetry, but it’s quite hard as her books tend to be very thematic, with individual poems really only existing properly as part of the whole. I think. Perhaps I will try later on in the month.
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