Poems

Caroline Smith Glen: ‘Boardrider’ and ‘With Daphne du Maurier’

Boardrider

Again the television surfer.
Arms of ambivalence, he crouches,
stands, tip-taps on his porpoise of belonging.
He points its nose, spins its body
along the highest white and blue-veined
underbelly of a protean wave

that rises to dribble from its white
upper lip, then falls to a frontier
that could toss fifty knights
in white armour.

No Proteus of the deep, our boardrider,
but a wave-scrounger,
wave-devourer, a courageous performer,
who clings to the wave’s smooth
inner shell, counting for more.

Release me, boy-surfer, from admiration
of your athletic achievement,
for you splash memories
of distant, obscure rivers, creeks
and dirt; the solitude of trees,

of riding a horse over infinite
committed earth, arms loose,
the body in message with
the horse’s body,
like pass the butter,
pass it back;

leather saddle-bag redolent
with all the flavours
of the bush,
my heart unrushed,
flowered to Heaven.

Caroline Smith Glen

With Daphne du Maurier

When they sat together, Daphne’s mother
seldom turned her head to her.
Did they sit on a sofa of belonging?
Who spoke the most?
What did they say?

Did Mother advise her on life,
on womanhood, encourage
her literary ambitions?
Did rivalry sit too close?

My mother looked
at my face when she spoke.
Oh yes, she looked; her ocean-green eyes
reeling me in. Usually, without words,
my eyes just looked back.

On a visit to a neighbour,
the neighbour asked me a question.

Behind her, Mother stood, stared at me
stretched her neck and mouth,
opened wide her eyes.
What did the gestures mean?
I hesitated.

I soon learned I got my answer seriously wrong,
for after, on the main street,
sounds from my Mother’s mouth
banged on me like the unified slamming
of the street shop doors.
How dare I open our family door
where bats may hide in dark corners.

Body to body, eye to eye, we stood.
I listened, speechless,
bewildered that my response
had held such disrepair.

We walked home.
Her eyes would always reel me in.

Caroline Smith Glen

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