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Inheritance, by Ruth Stacey and Katy Wareham Morris

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From the back cover of this 36 page pamphlet:

2016. Nights of no sleep, new infant to feed and soothe; a woman reaches for an old box of papers to read. Letters, diary: fragments of a life long gone. The writing of a forgotten relative from the 19th century that she had always meant to do something with. Archive. Study. Yet, she never had the time, until now, when her baby ‘murmurs in the blue slate light’. The woman from the past is suddenly in her life, ‘soft as the nook between neck and ear’. Two voices trying to find their way through motherhood and marriage, whilst still clinging to their own identities.

Inheritance brings together two poets, Ruth Stacey and Katy Wareham Morris, to create an unforgettable sequence of poems. The poems follow each other with echoes from the past, images that re-surface and bring with them a feeling of universal emotion, irrelevant of the century.

Two poems from Inheritance:

 

1887
Promised Green Figs

Were I petty as you are, I would roar
Beneath your window, my voice a-howling,
Or wait until your head lay flat and draw
My mouth to the lock and gruffly, growling.

Refer to the last words we bittered over:
Lack and lack, a list of things forgotten.
Cream-skinned cow and you the drover,
Rough-hemmed wool and darn this cotton.

Into this discontented realm water breaks,
Two sisters stand firm as I am clinging.
The sun comes back as all flesh aches —
You, the babe and the thrush are singing.

 

RUTH STACEY

 

2016
Debrief

The sun is setting now
the last splinters of light tease
the bottom of the blinds, lick
my raging hopes that are
swinging from the shadow-cast
lines on your skin.

The birds have stopped singing.
It feels like we’ve been through
it all in a day and I’ve forgotten
what happened in the lost hours.

I wonder what you learnt,
whether you will laugh
more tomorrow. I stroke
what I think will be blonde hair.

You pause for a second,
look up at me and smile.
I try to believe that this means
today I mothered well.

 

KATY WAREHAM MORRIS

 

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