Monday, 19 May 2008

Poem of the week

I'm going to post a poem once a week. It might be new, it might be old. Whatever it is - I hope you like it!

Lieserl Einstein

That summer waiting to hear about my GCSEs
I worked in an ice-cream kiosk on the beachfront
and met a boy expecting to study maths in London
who had a way of putting Mr Whippy in cones,
and away from the children dripping lollies along
the promenade, I let his fingers do sums on my skin.

Come September I was counting back the weeks,
trying to predict when the multiplication we had been
working on would be noticed, and I could understand
what my new physics teacher meant about the cat
in the box that’s just been poisoned which you can’t
be sure is dead until you lift the lid and take a look.

Throughout October there was morning sickness and
the cat was running around the house to the screams
of my mother, who called me a slut loud enough
for Mrs Evans and her hard hearing, while my father,
too stunned to remind his wife about the neighbours,
tore up my postcard of Saint Paul’s Cathedral.

Now it’s September again and I’m back at my desk,
my mother at home with her own second chance,
another summer gone, a new law of motion learnt,
comparing hair and eyes, the way we sometimes cry,
and the boy from the kiosk comes home when he can
and demonstrates that he also has a way with bottles.

Tonight, when you finally slept, I read about Einstein
and how even he with his head for figures could make
the classic miscalculation and get his girlfriend pregnant;
but they gave their daughter away, a wrong answer.
We will work this out. You are simply someone new
among our number that we need to take account of.

by Lorraine Mariner

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