Sheila and the Honourable Member 2.


Old poems, never more relevant than today #MeToo

Who’s Who?

does the honourable Member remember a night
when he wanted to lie outside?
he was drunk of course but still

sometimes I enter a hole in my
belly head first

does he remember the time before I slipped
out of the second person the time
when any time was question time in the house?

we are married but we live de facto
I am a habit and a fact I know
I am dull but I seem to be stuck

I am glad he has found the lady with purple carpets
the metropolitan lady who knows who is who
and who is nobody at all she

is never mentioned but I know
for every public man there is a lady
with purple carpets or a parade

I am sad for her lonely weekends
I would like to say I am not greedy
I have learned to share

he has filed her Tuesday to Thursday
I am Happy Weekend Wife
Backbone of the Nation

voice in the belly has no bones
did I say that already?
I know I am dull

Rachel McAlpine (1978)

This is the second poem from an old sequence, Sheila and the Honourable Member. They are totally relevant in the era of #MeToo. I wish that wasn’t true.

The first poem is THIS IS ME, SHEILA, TALKING


first on this much-married morning
I saw a star in a cradle of cloud—
it didn’t last.

either the star jumped
out of the cradle
or the cradle ejected the star

rachel mcalpine cc by 2.0

Early morning, Wellington winter

Like my poems? See WriteIntoLife on Fridays for others. And thanks for visiting!


Writing a book

Old Box Brownie snapshot of three girls and their dolls.
Old Box Brownie snapshot of three girls and their dolls.
Sisters Jill, Deirdre and Rachel Taylor with dolls on the steps of the Akaroa Vicarage around 1945. Not grown-up yet.

I am writing a book.
It will take some time.
The book has a title: Flatlantis
and another: Tropical Ice.

The poems will grow like pack-ice.
They will flow like sweat.
They will be easy to read.
They will be hard to write.

When the book is published
I will be a grown-up.
How will that feel?


Shadows on foam


here we are who we are
shadows on foam
littoral lateral between the sea
and feathery reality

skidding and sliding
here not here nor there
dots in a layer
of water on sand

maybe a simile
no, this is literal
us as the foam
in the shade on the sea

Rachel McAlpine

Who am I? Who are you? How do you know? Sometimes I lose myself in a strange space, and I enjoy those moments of anonymity. Do you? The poem (like many on this blog) is a first draft and will no doubt change and change again: in this case, so appropriately.

Poem and photo cc by 2.00 Rachel McAlpine as usual—i.e. feel free to share. 


Issey Miyake bonnet up close

Bare trees silhouetted against a twilight blue sky

inside the gloaming
all shadows flatten
and all pleats are blue

in the pleating, all shadows
are deep and deliberate
and weaving is tender and true

on the twilight horizon
all trees are pointing to heaven
and textured for Earth and for you

how rich is our planet
how pleated, how woven
and in the gloaming, how blue

Issey Miyake bonnet up close