Lent 11: Liberation

I bought Ros Barber’s collection How Things Are On Thursday despite it having not being (to my knowledge) mentioned in the PBS Bulletin. This is most unlike me. I did however, for some reason, get a small flyer with one of its constituent poems – Liberation. I presume it must have been an advert printed by Anvil, the publisher. I don’t recall whether it was distributed with the PBS Bulletin, or perhaps part of the junk shipped with my (now ceased) Mslexia subscription. Either way, I was hooked, and bought the collection.

Now, I have to say that ‘Liberation’ is still my favourite – but I’m still glad I bought the book. There’s lots more to like in it – a compelling sequence about the façades and personalities of a hotel over the years, several resignedly melancholy odes to some ‘other woman’, Jolene-esque type character, like ‘The Dancer’ and ‘Pronoun’. Plus, there’s an image in ‘Airtight’ shared by Polly Clark‘s poem ‘Buffalo Mozarella’ which was published a year later.


      The weather person shapes a bulletin
      around this week in nineteen fifty-one;
      then depth of snow off-piste in Val d’Isere,
      the unusually heavy rain for the time of year
      in northern Mexico. Not a thing about the English
      weather, now. Not a single place she’ll likely go.

      In the other room, her children snap and spark
      like static shocks, trickle-charged through years
      of a marriage that chafed their parents’ artificial
      hides. Little capacitors. She feels from them
      volts of their father not properly earthed,
      not even by their trailing love-me wires.

      Once, she thought she lived in fifty-one.
      Accepted, like a pelt, her husband’s coat,
      slippered a carpet soured with baby piss
      as neglected potatoes galloped their way to soup.
      At night, unpegging washing from the line,
      damp with dew, it was hard to go back in.

      That was old-fashioned dying. This is new:
      the late night bottle of budget red, alone.
      Drunken keyboard chats with strangers who
      haven’t the foggiest who they’re typing to.
      At least she gets to pass out when she wants.
      At least she gets to stay in her outside shoes.

See the intro/roundup.

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One Response to Lent 11: Liberation

  1. Pingback: 40 Poems of Lent: an introduction & roundup | impeus.com

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