Day One Hundred and Ninety One: Not Sexist

You’d be forgiven for thinking that I’m a bit sexist when it comes to poetic inspiration – not so!

One of the most powerful poems I’ve ever read, and perhaps one of my favourites, is by Jackie Kay. I’m not going to say anything about it because, while it is obviously ripe for analysis, I think the subject matter speaks for itself.

Dance of the Cherry Blossom
by Jackie Kay

Both of us are getting worse
Neither knows who had it first

He thinks I gave it to him
I think he gave it to me

Nights chasing clues where
One memory runs into another like dye.

Both of us are getting worse
I know I’m wasting precious time

But who did he meet between
May 87 and March 89.

I feel his breath on my back
A slow climb into himself then out.

In the morning it all seems different
Neither knows who had it first

We eat breakfast together – newspapers
And silence except for the slow slurp of tea

This companionship is better than anything
He thinks I gave it to him.

By lunchtime we’re fighting over some petty thing
He tells me I’ve lost my sense of humour

I tell him I’m not Glaswegian
You all think death is a joke

It’s not funny. I’m dying for fuck’s sake
I think he gave it to me.

Just think he says it’s every couple’s dream
I won’t have to wait for you up there

I’ll have you night after night – your glorious legs
Your strong hard belly, your kissable cheeks

I cry when he says things like that
My shoulders cave in, my breathing trapped

Do you think you have a corner on dying
You self-pitying wretch, pathetic queen.

He pushes me; we roll on the floor like whirlwind;
When we are done in, our lips find each other

We touch soft as breeze, caress the small parts
Rocking back and forth, his arms become mine

There’s nothing outside but the noise of the wind
The cherry blossom’s dance through the night.

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