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The Very Salt of Life: Welsh Women’s Political Writings from Chartism to Suffrage

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Poem of the Month

November 2012 - Hilaire Wood


Rapunzel

The future enters into us in order to fulfil itself in us, long before it happens. Rilke

My room was at the back of the house,
it had a coal-fire and my aunt's wooden bed
where the cat felt safe enough
to give birth to kittens
all drowned
and she herself put to sleep to make way for the dog.

My window billowed out over the yard -

'Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair,
you can escape!
'

We walked on carpets of egg-shells, my sister and I,
at night we lay listening for the sound of raised voices,
and learnt how to smile when someone was looking.

But the back door was a portal
to the garden beyond,
to the two apple-trees
reaching far and away,
calling me up into their branches.

'Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair,
you can escape!
'

I dug in the flower-beds
finding clay to make pots,
peered through the staves of the fence
to the other world beyond

sometimes made contact with strangers
a girl with a cherry-stained pinny,
an old woman waddling towards me
in mud-coloured stockings.

'Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair,
you can escape!
'

I remember helping my father to dig,
banking up the dark soil,
and later the bright golden gleam of potatoes
finally freed from the clutches of earth.

I remember too picking the mint
for the sauce, my hands growing green
and electric, strong for the climb.

Looking back through the lens of the years
child, do you see now it was me,
nutured on green and gold,
reckless with the wild scent of apples,
who waited and called at the foot of your window?

'Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair,
you can escape!
'



Hilaire Wood was born and grew up in Yorkshire and settled in West Wales in 1977. As well as poetry she writes about Celtic mythology and religion. Her work has appeared in a number of publications, including Leaf Books' The Outbox and Other Poems and the Buddhist arts journal Urthona. Two of her short poems are included in the forthcoming Small Stones anthology A Blackbird Sings.




Her first poetry booklet, The Sea Road, is available from independent bookshops in Aberystwyth, Llanidloes and Machynlleth, from her blogs Storing Magic and Musings From Gelli Fach and from Waterstones Online.

Hilaire is a member of The Word Distillery, a group of performance poets based at Aberystwyth Arts Centre. In 2012 they are performing at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre, the Poetry Café in Covent Garden and the London Welsh Centre.
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