Mair De-Gare Pitt
Our Lady of the Rags
A sickly-sweet cloud of cheap violet scent
masks her smell.
She shuffles past, flapping her mind
like a bird’s broken wing.
Crowds freeze around her like water congealing
on a sea-bird’s warm breast.
See where a young man sniggers
at her broken-backed shoes.
Winter evening curtains drawn at three.
Insistent minutes swirl in cups of tea.
Her mouth is stale with silence.
Her breath smells of loneliness.
Time in her fingers is tapping, tapping.
Time in her fingers is tapping
in ever present tense.
Black to Grey
everything was grimed:
window sills, washing lines.
Everything was gritty:
teeth, eyeballs, fingertips.
Cable cars on the skyline
tipped slag on the hillside.
We slid on tin trays
and saw our toes when we bathed
clogged in dark dust.
the litter that swirls
in the doorways
of boarded-up shops
is just grey.
And we have clean hands.
Words are sly, ink-black and full of holes
and some of them are pointed sharp as needles.
They stab me dumb as I fall through
the spaces in between.
My words mouth mimes
and hover, silent on thermals.
A cage of hot breath shuts them in.
My brain is taut with humming.
My tongue selects a silent power.
I live in the next building
Come on up
I’m on the sixth floor
From my balcony we could see them in silhouette
Just there. See?
We could hear them.
We were sick scared and our hearts, our souls
As the tower, its black rags ripped like wings of crows
And their lives, brimful of dreams and hopes
It was a vision of hell, somebody said,
The flames flickering like Satan’s tongue,
Like his forked tail.
But I think the devils are still here,
Still with us.
Still in one piece.
Woman Sleeping Rough at Cardiff Castle
Tomorrow, while I’m walking city streets
tourists will admire the tower’s strength.
They leave. I swing back like a pendulum
clumsy with bags and blankets.
I throw my quilt among scuttling leaves
and wrap my smell around my shoulders.
Tomorrow I’ll stand beneath a shower,
let the heat scour my skin.
Its sores and scabs will flake with suds
and streaks of grime that swirl around my toes.
Soaped and sweet I’ll ride the roundabout
until my smile is sculpted into stone
back to the keep which keeps me safe.
I dream of scrabbling up its lichened walls
and scrubbing my hair with clouds.
thistles stretch their prickly arms afar
Mair De-Gare Pitt has taught English and Creative Writing for many years and has published poetry widely in magazines and anthologies. She has been successful in competitions for poetry, short stories and playwriting, and has published studies on Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore, and children’s writer, Alfred Bestall. She runs a local drama group in Cwmbran, and is a member of Red Poets, taking part in readings in South Wales, where she lives and works. Her poetry collection, Power Play (2018), with illustrations by Jill Powell, is published by Culture Matters.