Entry #4 in the series Poetry Tuesday.
Since the end of the fall semester, I’ve been reading more and more poems by Jackie Kay. She is a Scottish poet and novelist; I read Trumpet a good while back, which I fully recommend, but it wasn’t until last year I really got into more of Kay’s stuff. One of the characters in my novel is a poet and I was – kind of still am – figuring out what kind poetry this character would read.
I feel that Kay falls under my category of “character’s favorites,” not just because I love her poems myself, like “Other Lovers,” “Keeping Orchids” and “The Year of the Letter.” When I read a poem by Jackie Kay, any poem, I feel as though she is speaking directly to me. Plus, the emotions captured within those lines, no matter if it’s joy, heartache, anger or whatever, they seem to linger in the room even after I’ve finished reading. Something about that ghost feeling makes me think of my character.
I could pretty much pick anything by Kay, but I’ve decided to go with “Late Love” since it’s so miserable outside, and there’s something heart-warming about this one. Little bittersweet at some places, but all the same…
How they strut about, people in love, how tall they grow, pleased with themselves, their hair, glossy, their skin shining. They don't remember who they have been. How filmic they are just for this time. How important they've become – secret, above the order of things, the dreary mundane. Every church bell ringing, a fresh sign. How dull the lot that are not in love. Their clothes shabby, their skin lustreless; how clueless they are, hair a mess; how they trudge up and down streets in the rain, remembering one kiss in a dark alley, a touch in a changing-room, if lucky, a lovely wait for the phone to ring, maybe, baby. The past with its rush of velvet, its secret hush already miles away, dimming now, in the late day.