Friday, February 19, 2010

Sing O Muse Week: Heart String

The last--and my favourite--of this week's attire-inspired poems is an ever-so-romantic recreation of loss and remembrance. Edward Rochester is rattling about Thornwood in anguish after Jane Eyre left him, after the revelation that he had a previously undisclosed mad wife locked away in the tower. Jane also forsook Rochester's gift of pearls . . .

Jane's Pearls

Rochester called her all day
like you would a dog or cat,
up and down corridors, behind
curtains and in the orchard
where only the owls answered.

The second night he put candles in
her room, opened wardrobes, drawers,
found nothing he’d given to her gone.
He picked up a narrow, suede box,
flicked its little gold catch.

Pearls curled round themselves,
a slight bloom like an apricot.
Each bead different from the next,
each pearl a supplication in his hands,
a rosary he could tell to bring her back.

It fitted round his neck,
hidden under his cravat.
The diamond clasp fixed.
Pearls cool against his sallow skin,
the touch of fingertips at his throat.

Alicia Stubbersfield

(from the anthology Out of Fashion, by Carol Ann Duffy, ed., Faber and Faber, 2004)

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