motes of dust whisp upwards like black pepper spilt in the kitchen /
Sid hung up the animal in the airing closet / it greeted her that
morning / she pulled elasticine dough / yeast rising, from the top
shelf / the shaft of bullet still lodged in its hindquarters / visible,
tinged the bread / gun-metal and the iron of blood was on her lips /
all morning, as the sun refused its trembling ascent / a poached egg
wobbling / with the unformed whites / she lifted the hare to the top
hook / met its satin mafia stare / tucked a bunch of caraway, black
mustard & liquorice leaves / to mask all / smacked the proving out of
the swollen dough / hearing the slump / she peered outside mid morning
/ there were still stars / quivering
I am delighted to post this poem by fellow Tuesday Poet Elizabeth Welsh. The Hare was first published in Jaam 30, December 2012. If I mention the sharp clarity of Elizabeth’s language and the detail of her observations you may well think you have stumbled across a scientific forum but Elizabeth turns these skills into an art form. She also has an uncanny ability to relate the world of animalia to that of mankind in the most surprising ways.
ELizabeth says, ‘The Hare’ was written in late 2011 after a visit to Keats’ house in Hampstead. I am undecided about the act of recreation inherent in writers’ legacies, so the visit was fascinating. There were two things that really struck me – the death mask in a humidity-controlled cabinet in the corner of Keats’ bedroom, which emitted an eerie respirator noise; and a stuffed rabbit (courtesy of some ancient taxidermist) hung from a gigantic hook in the dank basement kitchen. These seem rather morbid, but really they just got me thinking about our relationship with small acts of creation – the bread rising – appetite and living.
And this is what Anna Hodge, Senior Editor, Auckland University Press and judge of the Divine Muses Emerging Poets Award, said about two of Elizabeth’s poems.
“I’m delighted to give First Prize to Elizabeth Welsh, the writer of ‘Water Buffalo’ and ‘Soft-shelled crab on Fridays’. Both of these poems are very impressive – confident, ambitious, successful at what they set out to attempt. One charts a specific time and experience with evocative but precise concrete details and language; in the other, poised and taut in its control of line and stanza, Elizabeth plays cleverly with some sophisticated poetic conceits and ideas. I liked both poems, but I was especially impressed by the achievements of ‘Water Buffalo’. My warm congratulations to her.”