Elly McDonald

Writer

Father and Child (1986)

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After writing a sequence of horrifying nightmare poems, I decided to attempt a life-affirming, positive poem.

I wrote it in two parts, out of an intended three: I was aiming for a triptych. But after Pt2 I felt my heart wasn’t in it. I abandoned that poem and didn’t write another poem for about 30 years. When I re-read this one I thought it was awful, Hallmark greeting card stuff. I chucked Pt2 altogether. This is Pt1.

I.

A woman pulled a rib from out
of my side
and my heart stepped out.
she looked
just like me: a small
grey-eyed, soft-fleshed, female
me.

My daughter
he said.
I am not ashamed
to recognise love.
I see no shame
in relatedness. Her eyes are
mine, and she
is my heart.

He walks
her up the road.
He holds her hand.
she rides on his back and
she laughs.

My daughter
he says, and her arms
curl around his neck as
years ago he
sucked the breast of a woman

he loves

Author: Elly McDonald

Australian-born, with English mother, has lived in several Australian cities and in London. Travelled widely. Way way back when, published widely as a poet and short story writer.

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