Golden DeliciousThese are some lines from one of my favourite poems Daughter by Michele Amas. Daughters - or one particular daughter - are on my mind at the moment. The poem was in Michele's collection After the Dance (VUP 2005) which was shortlisted for a Montana, and selected for Best NZ Poems 2005.
She is sunny
she is sunny side up, my girl
running to meet me.
The other girls look lumpy
with their slumping shoulders
dyed hair and regrowth.
But my one is a beautiful apple
rolling down the drive
out past the school gates.
Michele says her poems are inspired by what she hears; and like all good actors, she's an eavesdropper. I love that about her work. It resonates with the busyness of people: the things they say and do to fend off and cope with and love the world and each other.
In Best NZ Poems, it says Michele's shift from acting to writing poetry 'came out of a desire to speak from her own script rather than someone else’s.' She says:
‘Acting is a great way to escape yourself, to ignore yourself, and when I stopped for a while there was this chattering going on in my head that I’d never heard before, so I just started taking notes.’
“Daughter” was written out of a desperation to contain a myriad of emotions that living with a teenager forces you to experience daily. In this poem I have attempted to describe the shifting emotional landscape that a mother and child stumble into, quite out of the blue, both unprepared and bewildered – full of blame and guilt, need and love.’'
Read the whole poem online here.