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Sunday, 2 November 2008
(of a sort),
those faces on her pages.
Patterned like old masters,
skeined from thought
or torn from magazines,
with pin or compass point
'till each became, from
hairlines down to eyebrows or beyond,
a wickerwork of scratches.
They's all us crackles, she would tell
of where a glaze had crazed -
or so we might have thought.
And crackles too
from fir cones chewed,
And eyes closed as she drew.
They's all us family, she'd say
(thumb marking every one),
all suffering the family disease. All they
long hair roots manglin' down
and choking all us brains... And then
I'd find her ruler eaten half away.
Dozz me 'ead in, straight it dozz -
allus they old centimetres staring up
an' givin' I the evil eye.
Some days I daresn't even lift me desk lid up!
Wherem all us English inches gone?
All been eaten, az 'em?
Weekends Elaine was mum.
Two brothers in a pram
(one old enough to walk),
small sister on a rein
and all unwashed,
she'd walk them up on Saturday
to watch the boys play football in the park.
My son came once to run the line.
That was the week we'd looked
at ripples on the lake; the way
the waters moved round a canoe
or ruffled differently
when following or faced
into the wind; the way
a small wave slapped against the bank... our play
to find the best words
for the patterns we had seen
and to embody them in art. Elaine
was energised beyond herself.
Ripple became her word
You's ripple, you!
she told my son.
He looked to me for help.
As far as I could determine, skeined was used of anything that came from the memory or the imagination: a drawing, painting, speech, song, a tune played on an instrument, writing, and so on.
Mangling seemed to carry the double meaning of hanging down and becoming entangled.
Allus = always.