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Sunday, May 29, 2011

In the Attic

(Andrew Motion, poet laureate, 1999-2009)

Andrew Motion, born in 1952, was appointed poet laureate by Queen Elizabeth II. Beginning with his tenure, the position is now restricted to a term of ten years. Motion has worked as an editor and publisher and is a prolific poet and writer of critical essays and biographies.

The poem here is one of several Motion has written about his mother, who suffered a serious riding accident during a fox hunt and lay in a coma for ten years before her death.


Even though we know now
your clothes will never
be needed, we keep them,
upstairs in a locked trunk.

Sometimes I kneel there
touching them, trying to relive
time you wore them, to catch
the actual shape of arm and wrist.

My hands push down
between hollow, invisible sleeves,
hesitate, then take hold
and lift:

a green holiday; a red christening;
all your unfinished lives
fading through dark summers
entering my head as dust.

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