Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Tuesday Poem - Girl

for Ali, aged fifteen

You're all prickles today
a native pyracantha
snapping and wrapping
the house in a barbed-wire

There are tacks
underfoot, an armoury
of weapons
at the back door
a legacy of lead.

Your mouth
is a live coat hanger
a twist of wire firing
into unexpected
Alexander Calder shapes.

Despite the jabs
the flicks and flays
all the elements are here
for a mobile shape
of extraordinary aesthetic.

When winds thrash
and sharp shards fly
there can be no denying
the whole damned gorgeous
truth of you.


Girl appears in my collection Open Book - Poetry & Images , published by Steele Roberts (2007).

Ali is now twenty-five. We weathered some spectacular teenage storms and, yes, she's gorgeous!

For more Tuesday poems, click here.


  1. Spoken like a poet-mom with tenderness and perception!

  2. maggie@at-the-bay.comJune 1, 2010 at 10:26 AM

    Gulp, gorgeous. Ah, girls. I'm the grandmother of a delectable three year old girl, and the mother of two adult sons - I'm utterly fascinated and in love all over again.

  3. Oh yes! the barbed-wire mantle... the coat hangar mouth.... Girls, eh. Thank you, Claire. (Love the sketch too)

  4. Claire, I enjoyed this poem when I first read it in Open Book and it was once again a joy to re-read.

  5. Oh, what a lovely drawing of that cranky girl....
    thanks, thanks, thanks!

  6. Arrived here by chance, glad I did. Lovely poem, yes, I had a daughter!

  7. Gorgeous girl, gorgeous poem. L. P

  8. Dear friends - mothers & fathers blessed to have daughters - thank you. And isn't parenting one of our most challenging, humbling and transformative of experiences...
    L, C

    Welcome to Icelines, Mike. I'm off to visit your blog now.

  9. Another very favourite Claire-poem of mine.

  10. It's great to read a poem on the other side of the fence, so to speak, of that rollercoaster teen ride. :) The third stanza feels like gospel truth. The intensity of the ending, very apt. A teenager in 'spontaneous combustion mode' can be such a sight to see.


  11. Hello and welcome, S. L. Corsua in the Philippines! It's great that you've joined the Tuesday Poet community... Looking forward to reading your poems and exploring your blog. I see you've been posting for a good number of years already - I believe you started your blog some years before I even knew blogs existed, let alone what they were or what one was supposed to do on one!

    Take care - warm greetings from our sleet-wracked South Island city, Dunedin.