Monday, March 26, 2007

"My Mother In Violet Dress"

Some places we visit as children have lasting impact on our imaginations; we draw on their colours, their scents, their very essence, for the rest of our lives.
We store within us emotions evoked; years on, we remember the curve of a smile of someone we met there,the touch of a hand, the sound of footsteps on a street we strolled. The place becomes part of our creativity; it haunts and it taunts us.
For me, St Ives in Cornwall is such a place.
And this is a poem I wrote ages ago, after visiting St Ives September Festival. It's set on Porthminster beach.
It is, by the way, complete fabrication.

The painting is: " Untrodden sand" by Dame Laura Knight.
My poem is called “My mother in violet dress”.

"My mother in violet dress,
“Everything comes in threes”.

On Porthminster,
three deckchairs in a line,
Me in the middle,
And I said:
“The sea, the gulls, the sand, they come in threes,
flowing, screeching, drifting.”

And my sister beside me in ruched pink bathing suit,
wet from the waves, said:
“The Aunts at Christmas, they come in threes,
Ethel, Annie, Ruby,
bearing their gifts.
The scented soap, their flowers,
the Bristol Cream sherry
for the three course lunch….”
And my mother in peep-toe shoes, said:
“ Things that matter come in threes,
things that mattered in my life….”

And with voice bright as lemons,
She held out her compact so that it glittered in sun,
renewed her crimson lipstick,
pursed her crimson lips,
and then she remembered...
a third day of a third month,
when my father walked
beside a woman with titian hair,
and their child ran between them... "


Blogger marlyat2 said...

And now you need something else "violet," because you have two in a row--where's the third?

10:46 pm  
Blogger apprentice said...

Nice idea to use the threes like that.

I remember those swinsuits, I had a blue\green one. Awful thing that streched, and made you skin as puckered as it was!

11:23 pm  
Blogger Anne S said...

Lovely poem - very evocative and pictorial.

12:24 am  
Blogger Carole said...

I loved this poem - the sentiment and the evocation. I too have memories of St ives.

5:50 pm  
Blogger Jan said...

Possibly a violet swim suit?? Thanks Marly!

Yes Puckered Skin!
And damp towels, cold feet, large grey pebbles, Welsh or Cornish beaches..

Thanks Anne. Glad you liked it.

The Sloop, Porthmeor tides, The Island..I could bang on!

8:52 am  
Blogger Philippa said...

What an evocative piece of writing, Jan. Strange to think that we, too, have fond memories of St Ives. I recall sitting overlooking Porthminster Beach many years ago. Simon was quite young, maybe 7 or 8, and we were enjoying fish and chips (from the wrapper, of course!) in the ozone-filled air (they always taste better like that, don't they?). Simon had chosen a sausage instead of the usual piece of cod and a seagull took a liking to it, swooped down, grabbed the sausage and flew off! Boy, did we laugh!
Yes, those ruffled swimsuits! I remember having one, a pale blue little number,possibly one of your hand-me-downs. Do you remember it?
We spent my 50th birthday in December in Mousehole. The weather was so glorious that, on the way home, we took a detour to St Ives and strolled along the beach. It was glorious, far better than when crowded in the summer months. A wonderful place.

10:16 pm  
Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

Oh yes! You've painted a beautiful picture here.

2:37 pm  
Blogger Jan said...

I didn't know you inherited my clothes...
St Ives wonderful in Winter. I have a photograph of people walking on Poirthmeor on January 1st, dark and narrow people, like Lowry figures lost from their real landscape..

Thanks . I am always pleased to see you as I like your blog very much.

10:29 pm  

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