Poem for my big sister Jill


I wanted to give you a poem
eighty years back
when you were first-born
and armies were rising
and peace receding.
You learned about consultation
in the womb.

I wanted to give you a poem
to thank you
for protecting me
and holding my hand
and showing the way
and making peace
without any fights or feuds
or atom bombs.

The poem sat in my head for weeks
waiting for Mother’s attention.
On a short dark day
lop-sided day
turn-around day
a fence of shards and sand
and shrapnel sprang up
between the poem and me.

So I clambered over the fence
ripping my shorts
on splinters
lost a shoe
and clambered back to you
the almost perfect baby
to give you what you lacked
the one thing all big sisters need:

your very own big sister
just like Jill
to shelter and protect you
and hold your hand
and take the lead
on dark days
and on bright days too
the way big sisters do.

with love from Rachel 23 June 2016

Seat on the board


I told my admirer that men are abundant.
I told him explicitly he was redundant.
I gave him the sack
but he simply came back
and expected a seat on the board.

I asked if he fancied an early retirement.
He said, I believe it’s a basic requirement.
He took me to bed
and seductively said,
I’m expecting a seat on the board.’

He’s easy to hire, he’s harder to fire.
I can’t afford him but still I adore him.
Should I give him a seat on the board?

He blithely agreed that I ought to retrain him
but soon I discovered I couldn’t restrain him.
He entered a bid
for my heart and my id
including a seat on the board.

I had to acknowledge the man had ambition.
I tried to remove him by subtle promotion.
He wanted a share
and it seemed only fair
to give him a seat on the board.

I’ve met many shyer but none I admire.
I’m quick to demote and I’m slow to promote
but I gave him a seat on the board…
I gave him a seat on the board.

– – – – – –

Rachel McAlpine