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Bricks and Mortar

by Rhiannon Fielder-Hobbs

We

were all arms and legs once.

Swimming in the pools and spoils

of war. We saw out the dawn together,

resting our dream-heavy heads on camp beds

- a grubby mattress.

 

In no time at all you found yourself

suited. I, becoming entrenched in expectation

could only half embr

ace four walls. Swung

as a pendulum between ecstasis

and frustration.

 

We jarred some dreams.

Put them away at the back of the hallway cupboard.

And then another.

And then another.

Until all streams ran beige.

 

Both you and I know that cupboard sings

in the early hours.

For a decade we ignore it,

caught between the demands of all these arms

all these legs.

 

January

though we toiled to starve it,

arrives incandescent.

The beige river is now dry. 

 

You and I are unsure if they jumped

or if we threw them. Whichever,

jars rise as relics from that singing

hallway cupboard, now vintage-pungent

colour climbing bricks and mortar.

Treading paint as much as water we

embrace a not so natural light.

Reject a decade’s order.

Accept a painted dawn.

This is daytime on our terms

and

 

it is anything but beige.

Menna

by Rhiannon Fielder-Hobbs

Were my fingers,

gloved in soil and ash not enough.

Nails shovelling at slurry that kept my children captive

a song of strength, as much as love?

We fought the soil until it gave you up, breathing or not breathing.

And then behind closed doors,

we returned to weakness.

 

Wept at the kitchen table.

Made cakes with those same soiled hands, though never for you again.

Cakes for chapel meetings.

Oh-so accustomed to wood against our skin,

be it spoons,

or be it spears.

Hammers, tent pegs, beads.

 

Heating you up a future on our iron griddled hearts.

Stirring in the fear,

adding in the courage, always,

always flipping over and over again in love, to make it sweet. 

 

Letting male take the credit for the stiff and wild peaks

of our national achievements.

Letting male sing of all things suffering,

underground,

at the

coal

face.

 

All the while we remained here by the stove,

hands burnt on the fires of that same coal.

Humming these same songs of suffering,

but only ever,

under

our

breath. 

 

Cooking, carving, once our spears to spoons

and then our spoons to pencils,

we met our-sisters by the hearth here, whilst the babi slept.

Those sisters as much buried under earth as us

just ‘where the omnibus now stops

outside Elephant and Castle’.

We penned our poems without signing them,

upon our children’s backs

and faces.

 

Dreamt in colour of your choices, merch.

In the scullery joined with ancient Celtic voices

that chose intellectual learning over marriage,

chose God over men.

We fought then-

with our spears,

with our spoons,

with our pens.

 

Arriving today-faces painted, with berries, blood and flour.

Laying now our kill,

the cooked and conjured future out upon the kitchen table.

Inviting you our Merched, to come and have your fill.

Come now

with your spoons and with your spears,

with your wild and rising voices,

Sign your name, out loud-

upon silences carcass-canvas, be it in berries, blood or flour.

woman

Merch

Menna

Anonymous no more.

Rhiannon Fielder-Hobbs is a Welsh poet living in the South Wales Valleys with her husband and three young children. Following a diagnosis of Postnatal Psychosis after her second child was born, she found poetry, the writing and reading of it, as powerful as pills in ebbing the flow of despair. Now largely recovered from her illness, she continues to write on themes of motherhood, madness, feminism and faith. Rhiannon has made it her quest to locate the place where chicken nuggets and mysticism meet.

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