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Poem of the week: My Stranger by Maria Taylor

A funny but poignant story conceals – and reveals – much about its narrator

My Stranger

hangs where the plaster cracked
and the ribs of the house show.
He’s the only stranger I can afford,
a middle-aged man in a plaid shirt
smiling for an artist. Nothing to me,
but still I hang him in the hallway
and call him Dad. Of course, visitors
have doubts. I know they know
his hair’s too light, the eyes too blue.
I win them over by recalling
our fishing holidays, how dad
slit the belly of a rainbow trout, and out
slipped a diamond ring for me.
A perfect fit. Dad was handy.
He met my mother when she broke
down outside the Camden Palace,
and changed her tyre without a jack.
He made us a sherbet playhouse,
we licked its walls to nothingness.
He taught my brother harpsichord.
Now he’s international. You may
have heard him on the radio.
That’s a self-portrait. He never lived
to paint us all. ‘What a terrible loss,’
visitors sigh. I lead them into
a living room, and whisper, ‘Yes.’

Continue reading...


Poem of the week: My Mother says No on Bloomsday by Mary O’Donnell

A daughter wonders whether her elderly mother’s reluctance to submit to her care might not be turni...

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Poem of the week: Nocturne by Wanda Coleman

This exhilarating portrait of a runner resonates with a wider struggleNocturnemy tongue has grown st...

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Poem of the week: Homage to the Square by Tishani Doshi

This spiralling meditation inspired by the artist Josef Albers has a quietly political thrustHomage ...

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Poem of the week: Lucifer Takes a Break by Barbara Smith

The fallen hero of this intriguing work does not seem all that demonicLucifer Takes a BreakHe stirs ...

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Poem of the week: The Unconquered Dead by John McCrae

This first world war poem remains loyal to the patriotic ethos of its time, but the human cost of co...

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Poem of the week: American Sonnet for My Past and Future Assassin by Terrance Hayes

The US poet began writing his sonnets the day Donald Trump was elected president – but even after T...

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