Ireland and Scotland: Colonial Legacies and National Identities || Eight Poems: Potted Chrysanthemum; Margaret's Trunk; Paracetamol; Signs and Wonders; Summer Job; The Astrakhan Coat; The Stowaway; The Three Graces

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<ul><li><p>Eight Poems: Potted Chrysanthemum; Margaret's Trunk; Paracetamol; Signs and Wonders;Summer Job; The Astrakhan Coat; The Stowaway; The Three GracesAuthor(s): Angela McSeveneySource: The Irish Review (1986-), No. 28, Ireland and Scotland: Colonial Legacies and NationalIdentities (Winter, 2001), pp. 91-97Published by: Cork University PressStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/29736047 .Accessed: 16/06/2014 15:01</p><p>Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms &amp; Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p><p> .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.</p><p> .</p><p>Cork University Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The Irish Review(1986-).</p><p>http://www.jstor.org </p><p>This content downloaded from 185.2.32.21 on Mon, 16 Jun 2014 15:01:23 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=corkuphttp://www.jstor.org/stable/29736047?origin=JSTOR-pdfhttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>ANGELA McSEVENEY </p><p>Potted Chrysanthemum </p><p>You gave me it </p><p>the day before we </p><p>fell out </p><p>- a thank you for my attempts at making your stay a pleasant one. </p><p>Sentimental, I wondered if </p><p>you could have known how much </p><p>I like the scent of Chrysanthemums. </p><p>I kept the soil moist, </p><p>pinched off dead blooms, turned it daily so it could bask evenly in an all round sun. </p><p>For nearly a month </p><p>I spun out its forced hot house blooms </p><p>until the day your unexpected letter came </p><p>and even I had to admit, </p><p>sad though it is that they don't last, </p><p>it was well past its best </p><p>so headfirst </p><p>it landed in the kitchen bin. </p><p>McSEVENEY, 'Eight Poems', Irish Review 28 (2001) 91 </p><p>This content downloaded from 185.2.32.21 on Mon, 16 Jun 2014 15:01:23 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>MARGARET'S TRUNK </p><p>She dashes back from the taxi </p><p>grabs whatever it was </p><p>she almost forgot </p><p>then I close the door </p><p>on our fading farewells </p><p>and mope for a while in the livingroom. </p><p>A splash of sunlight runs down the side </p><p>of her navy blue trunk </p><p>which I grow used </p><p>to living with as it waits to be uplifted. </p><p>It sat here, open mouthed, </p><p>throughout her leave, </p><p>filling up with all she thought she'd need this winter; </p><p>? more clothes, fifty tin whistles, some books, thirty-four tambourines. </p><p>I imagine that it too </p><p>must be raring to go, the labelled lid crammed close on a dark hold of warmth </p><p>and muffled music. </p><p>When the porter arrives </p><p>he heaves it onto a barrow </p><p>and I hear a hesitant clink </p><p>the first note struck </p><p>from her cargo of song. </p><p>92 McSEVENEY, 'Eight Poems', Irish Review 28 (2001) </p><p>This content downloaded from 185.2.32.21 on Mon, 16 Jun 2014 15:01:23 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>PARACETAMOL </p><p>They sit in their cool dark storage place, each tablet a measured dose </p><p>of pain relief or poison. </p><p>As I unscrew the bottle </p><p>I want only the letting up of backpain or toothache </p><p>but remember a cold room </p><p>where a girl I suppose must have been me </p><p>sat up half the night every bottle of pills she had </p><p>ranged on the table beside me. </p><p>All that held me back was doubting their potency </p><p>(and a squeamishness about </p><p>who might find my body). </p><p>I understand her reasons </p><p>better now than she did herself </p><p>but each time I dose myself for flu I'm appalled that all the time </p><p>I had the means beside me. </p><p>I gag as I wash them down </p><p>not letting the foul taste touch me. </p><p>McSEVENEY, 'Eight Poems', Irish Review 28 (2001) 93 </p><p>This content downloaded from 185.2.32.21 on Mon, 16 Jun 2014 15:01:23 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>SIGNS AND WONDERS </p><p>If I'd been looking for omens </p><p>they would have been good like the news from the hospital. </p><p>So that Thursday night as I latenight shopped I was worry free </p><p>for the first time in two weeks. </p><p>I saved up the details </p><p>of my new dress </p><p>and my meal with friends </p><p>and never doubted that on Saturday she'd be hearing all about my night out. </p><p>Later I felt there should have been </p><p>a sign - a star cleaving the frosty air </p><p>of that completely ordinary January sky. </p><p>For weeks about 11 am on Fridays I wept or raged in a quiet spot at work, slamming cardboard folders </p><p>back into their places on the shelves, </p><p>wondering how the day could have </p><p>worn on for ten more hours </p><p>before I'd heard. </p><p>I'd felt no pain, the dust motes didn't spin in some symbolic shaft of light as the hills round about shook. </p><p>Maybe somewhere a petal fell, </p><p>a baby's firstcry took up her </p><p>vacated space, </p><p>but at work at the filestore </p><p>it was teabreaks, banter, the usual tasks, </p><p>as forty miles away </p><p>my mother breathed her last. </p><p>94 McSEVENEY, 'Eight Poems', Irish Review 28 (2001) </p><p>This content downloaded from 185.2.32.21 on Mon, 16 Jun 2014 15:01:23 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>SUMMER JOB </p><p>It was my first holiday job, back home in the canteen of the factory </p><p>where my father had worked. </p><p>Some men remembered the name </p><p>and asked after him </p><p>making me feel worse </p><p>for being recognised as I mixed up the orders </p><p>and fought with the till. </p><p>At tea breaks I read 'Dombey and Son', </p><p>lugging it around in my overall pocket like a paperback brick. </p><p>Evenings frittered away somehow, </p><p>rereading the postcards that drifted in </p><p>from friends working abroad or inter-railing. I was waiting to be hunted down </p><p>by those buff coloured envelopes </p><p>bearing exam results. </p><p>I believed I was good for nothing, </p><p>browbeating myself with every clich? in the book: ? </p><p>hands like putty, ? never done a day's work, ? too educated to be any bloody use. </p><p>THE ASTRAKHAN COAT </p><p>When the manageress pulls it </p><p>from the black plastic bag the volunteers mob round for a better look. </p><p>Undiminished by its cast-off status, </p><p>the coat drips opulence. </p><p>The raised pile is redolent </p><p>of life's good things - </p><p>theatre going, pearls, chocolate, scent. </p><p>McSEVENEY, 'Eight Poems', Irish Review 28 (2001) 95 </p><p>This content downloaded from 185.2.32.21 on Mon, 16 Jun 2014 15:01:23 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>We study the labels, the lapels, the set of the sleeves, </p><p>trying to age it like a thoroughbred. </p><p>In the overcrowded window </p><p>of our charity shop it shrugs off the stares of the insolent </p><p>like a White Russian waiting tables </p><p>in 1920s Paris. </p><p>THE STOWAWAY </p><p>We often wondered </p><p>how such a small thing made its way in, </p><p>scaling the rough outside wall, </p><p>negotiating a windsill, </p><p>finding a bolthole, </p><p>perhaps behind a skirting board, a safe berth if it was lucky to travel unnoticed from the long winter </p><p>through to Spring. </p><p>It must have realised its mistake soon, </p><p>foraging blindly at night among our carpet's thin weave. </p><p>We'd find each morning a silver frosting on the livingroom floor, </p><p>dry as powder, </p><p>shimmering in the daylight like dew. </p><p>We baulked at poison, </p><p>hoping to come upon it by chance </p><p>and capture it that way </p><p>96 McSEVENEY, 'Eight Poems', Irish Review 28 (2001) </p><p>This content downloaded from 185.2.32.21 on Mon, 16 Jun 2014 15:01:23 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>The silver trails flickered, </p><p>began to seem fainter, </p><p>trickled less far afield. </p><p>Perhaps it could hear us </p><p>from beneath the floorboards </p><p>not understanding as, huge and noisy overhead, </p><p>we wheeled furniture around, </p><p>just sensing somehow </p><p>that we meant to track it down. </p><p>THE THREE GRACES </p><p>It's a bit bizarre </p><p>to see three big lassies prancing naked </p><p>in the hall of the National Gallery. </p><p>Victorian hairdos unruffled </p><p>by a day spent romping in Arcadian grottoes </p><p>they lean together in a breathy huddle confident that their buttocks hang all ripeness and symmetry. </p><p>Fully clothed I'm the one at a disadvantage </p><p>trying to imagine </p><p>being clad in that frozen loveliness </p><p>made chillier by a blue line </p><p>rising in the middle girl's leg like a varicose vein </p><p>and their not being able to </p><p>rustle up a body hair amongst themselves, </p><p>pudenda as shocking as a baby's. </p><p>McSEVENEY, 'Eight Poems', Irish Review 28 (2001) 97 </p><p>This content downloaded from 185.2.32.21 on Mon, 16 Jun 2014 15:01:23 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p><p>Article Contentsp. 91p. 92p. 93p. 94p. 95p. 96p. 97</p><p>Issue Table of ContentsThe Irish Review (1986-), No. 28, Ireland and Scotland: Colonial Legacies and National Identities (Winter, 2001), pp. 1-203Front MatterIntroductionConstituting Scotland [pp. 1-27]</p><p>GenresWaking up in a Different Place: Contemporary Irish and Scottish Fiction [pp. 28-45]Referendum to Referendum and beyond: Political Vitality and Scottish Theatre [pp. 46-57]Women and Scottish Poetry, 1972-1999 [pp. 58-74]Contemporary Scottish Film [pp. 75-88]</p><p>PoetryTwo Poems: Selchs; The Bower [pp. 89-90]Eight Poems: Potted Chrysanthemum; Margaret's Trunk; Paracetamol; Signs and Wonders; Summer Job; The Astrakhan Coat; The Stowaway; The Three Graces [pp. 91-97]</p><p>IdeasReviving Critique [pp. 98-107]The Democratic Psyche: Scotland's Philosophical Psychiatry [pp. 108-124]The Place of the Nation in the Work of Jacques Derrida [pp. 125-135]</p><p>ReviewsReview: Towards a Radical Empiricism? [pp. 136-142]Review: A Union for Good? [pp. 142-147]Review: Concepts, Rights and Languages [pp. 147-151]Review: Critical Re-Formations [pp. 152-155]Review: Semicolonial Cities and Triestine Joyce [pp. 155-164]Review: Ireland in the Great War/The Great War in Ireland [pp. 164-167]Review: Not so Poetically Conservative [pp. 167-172]Review: If Women Must Be Anything [pp. 172-175]Review: Restricted Redress [pp. 175-178]Review: Beyond the Canon [pp. 178-183]Review: Manipulating 'Memory' [pp. 183-187]Review: Living with the past [pp. 188-191]Review: Contested Rights and Relationships [pp. 191-197]Review: Catholic Voices [pp. 198-201]</p><p>Back Matter</p></li></ul>