Monday, January 03, 2011

A poem I read today - by Bev Braume

Bev Braume’s poem Housewarming floats you off one minute with the image of ‘crushed mint on our wings’ and brings you back to earth the next with the stand out phrase ‘the orphanage of feet’. That’s just the first stanza. The poem is published in Writing Ulster: Northern Narratives 6, 1999 and takes me back to a 1950’s childhood in Belfast. ‘Do you want to go to an orphanage!?’ was a common cautioning.
     I visited an orphanage once as a member of Junior Red Cross. We helped with a small group of preschool-age children in a large room with big windows overlooking a park-like garden. We helped with lunch and entertained two children each outside on the swings. Eventually we all returned to our homes and our parents. I still remember the red lino and a wee blonde curly-headed boy who hadn’t made a sound since his arrival in the weeks before.
     When in Belfast in 2008 I experienced the wrung out, hung out stories of The Magdalene Sisters (dir. Peter Mullan 2002) and other people. A chilling part of our history.
     Back to Bev. For more recent work by Bev Braume see Cordite’s Epic issue. Her latest book is If the last czarina could speak (2004).

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