One of brown sauce, one of red
One of Bovril, jam, or spread
One of lard with salt and pepper
Cheese and pickle tastes much better
Condensed milk is such a treat
Sugar soldiers can’t be beat
Take your pick and do not peek
Surprise sarnies Granddad’s treat!
© Surprise Sandwiches 19.03.2020
by Alexandra Carr-Malcolm
This is dedicated to Philomena Lynott. Go well lovely lady.
I wrote this poem in 2016. I contacted Philomena and asked if it would be alright for me to use ‘Parris’ as the title to my third anthology, as a tribute to her son Philip Parris Lynott.
Phil Lynott as a poet, musician, and singer had a profound impact in my teenage years. The words, music, and mythology intertwined with my complicated and troubled adolescence, getting me through some tough and heartbreaking years.
When I had finished the anthology I sent it to her for her approval. I was really nervous and hoped she would like it. She contacted me to say she loved it. I was both elated and relieved.
Such a beautiful and inspirational lady, I am so glad we had a connection and I got to meet you. You will always be remembered, loved, and an inspiration to us all.
She stepped into the world
in an ill-fitting skin,
and fashioned a coat of shame,
woven with silks gossamer thin,
dip dyed with hues of blame.
Buttoned up with mismatched memories,
with her pockets full of dreams,
hemmed in, hemmed up, Portofino cuff,
stitched up by a seamstress’s seam.
One day she said, enough is enough!
and slipped off that coat infame,
she had grown right in to the ill-fitting skin,
so she crafted herself an new name.
Finally freed from her widow’s weeds,
she called to the Dakinis within.
The moon and the sun in a syzygy dance,
to the tune of the neap tide seas,
coronate crown of abalone shell,
with a cloak of Etesian breeze,
she plucked the lightning out of the skies,
and collected her juvenile tears,
forging an armour from Hadesian hell,
annealed in Elysian fields,
protector of Phthinoporon souls.
She learned to wear her life well.
Philomena by Alexandra Carr-Malcolm
Yesterday I attended the funeral of my Buddhist teacher Urgyen Sangharakshita along with over 1200 other Buddhists. It was a beautiful, poignant, moving ceremony. I have never experienced anything as immense in my lifetime. Despite the heavy downpour of rain, the birds still sang, and the wind played in the autumn trees. By the time the procession to the burial ground took place, the sun came out and lifted the heavy skies.
I cannot adequately put into words my gratitude to Bhante. I met him twice, once at a shared meal at the Sheffield Buddhist Centre, and later in Birmingham (2011). He guided and inspired my Buddhist practice, and encouraged me to take my writing seriously. Without his guidance and teachings I doubt I would be where I am today.
How do I say thank you, and how do I say goodbye? I started to write this poem on the way down to the funeral and finished it on the way back. This poem relates to the loss of significant people in my life – Safe Home Bhante Urgyen Sangharaksita, go well.
How do I say goodbye?
When I am living at the speed of life,
the eggshells I am walking on
pricking at my soul.
Remote and inaccessible,
with drawbridge raised to love,
how do I say goodbye?
The Trinity and Trilogy
conjoined in parse asymmetry,
seem so insignificant.
How do I say goodbye?
Slán Abhaile by Alexandra Carr-Malcolm
For my Mum…
I looked through the window,
I thought I saw you;
just a hint of a memory
that I wanted to view.
A past life once lived;
a deep memory pain.
I had to control myself
from calling your name.
Her walk was all wrong
and her hair, not the same,
but she had the same clothes
as I saw in my dream.
I followed behind her
and hoped to see
that it really was you
as you used to be.
I knew it was futile
and couldn’t be true;
you’ve been gone these six years,
it couldn’t be you.
© Mum 2012
Alexandra Carr-Malcolm 2012
I see the child within you,
with your boyish short fair hair.
I hold my arms out to you
I want to show I care.
They may have left you
broken, bewildered and abused,
but I will never leave you
feeling neglected, sad and used.
You stand there like a ghost child,
one sock up and one half down.
too sad, too shy, too quiet,
Your face a pale, sad, frown.
Your little dress is crass and short,
your shoes are scuffed and worn,
your toys are few and far between,
your bear, one eyed and torn.
I see you quietly playing.
keep out the grown-ups way,
don’t let them know of what you think,
they cannot make you say.
Come child, sit here upon my knee,
Let me soothe away the pain;
cry out your little heart to me
they can’t hurt you again.
Hush child, no need to cry,
I will wipe away your tears.
just hold my hand and follow me,
I can soothe away your fears.
Hold strong, my love, rest in my arms;
be still and do not weep.
Listen to my lullaby
I’ll guard you whilst you sleep.
Be brave and bide your time Karen,
your future may be bright.
Hold the pain, the memories
take up your pen and write
© Child Within 2012
by Alexandra Carr-Malcolm
This little beauty has landed through my letter box. This is a superb anthology raising money for Leeds Congenital Hearts via the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund.
Don’t let it’s delicate size fool you, it is packed with a mighty punch of poetry; like a luxurious box of chocolates it contains something for everyone. You can follow the story of Bonnie’s Crew on the link below – this precious anthology, edited by Kate Garrett, is a limited edition run of 200 copies, which are selling fast! Follow the link if you would like to order a copy.