Lady Godiva – by Kathleen Strafford

           Ode to Peeping Tom
                          I peep through corkscrew chinks in doorways
The summer moon has drawn his curtains
                             declaring all shutters and windows shut
                                                the wind is preparing a speech
                                                                 the trumpeters a fanfare
She didn’t choose the plucky pony with a spring in its step
                  instead the hot proud palfrey for his smooth ambling
See how she strokes his ears
                  pats his hind quarters enamoured with his shape
Notice how she bows her face in prayer
                               pushing her ringlets against round breasts
              swings her thigh
                      slips her Venus mound
                                 straddles velvet birds of paradise
                                     how fine threads of fur mingle
I don’t know if I’ve ever loved a fragrance
                                             half as much as her smell at midday

As her stud trots through fields of heather, the sun dressing her in lace
                                                                 purple brushing her fringe
I imagine the dance of the seven veils
                                        & how quickly John        lost his head

 

 

 

Kathleen Strafford has been published in magazines & online:  Interpreter’s House, Butcher’s Dog, Fat Damsel, Ink Sweat and Tears, Panoply, and various anthologies. Her Own Language published by Dempsey and Windle

 

 

Birthday Song – by Kathleen Strafford

 

In the dark corridor
          I hear women
                singing in
                  pitches and tones
                        all their own
feeling their way through shadows
                       through the music
                        of epidurals
                             in this dissonance
I hear my dead mother’s melody
             soft from my daughter’s lips
                            its waves unravelling their DNA
                                       on our hospital walls
                                                              with interlocking shapes
                                                                         of crowning concertos
                                       Oh    what else can unzip
                                                                 the pain          of stretching skin
                                                                                  into pure song?

 

 

 

Kathleen Strafford is a student at Trinity University in Leeds studying for her MA  in creative writing.  She hopes her first collection of poetry will be published this coming year after graduation.  She has been published in magazines & online:  Interpreter’s House, Butcher’s Dog, Fat Damsel, Ink Sweat and Tears, Panoply, and various anthologies.

A Hundred and One Ways to Cook Potatoes – by Kathleen Strafford

Ode to my childhood friend Sharon

I’m not scared of the boys hiding in the bushes
but there’s mean old Mac

She told me   in the night
he creeps half-baked
           into her bedroom
                    trying to peel her

Because we are ten minutes      late
            Mac     grabs one leg     sweeping her      high
                 I can still hear her cries    the crisp crack
                                                     of tender skin
                              see her kick her legs
                until  she pees
                           down
                                his trouser leg
  She tries to ignore all the names
             he calls her
but they continued to sink
               deep into her fat.

 Later, her husband will grow spuds
              ploughing
                       under
                            blue & yellow wild flowers
                                         until they bloom
                                                       on her
                                                               cheekbone.
Now her family sit in their
                 brown-eyed cockerel kitchen
                         looking like Van Gogh’s Potato Eaters.

 

 

Kathleen Strafford is a student at Trinity University in Leeds studying for her MA  in creative writing.  She hopes her first collection of poetry will be published this coming year after graduation.  She has been published in magazines & online:  Interpreter’s House, Butcher’s Dog, Fat Damsel, Ink Sweat and Tears, Panoply, and various anthologies.

Fecundity – by Kathleen Strafford

 

 

Across stars and blood-bitten skies
     dryads
            fire nymphs
pulsate veined wings
              stirring a sultry breeze

After all
                there is quite a bit of flesh
                         one whispers as they spy
                                  the skin of earth
These hard-core sprites
                                          swoon
                             diving into orchards
                                      of swollen blossoms
             wiggling their pink toes     licking
                   maple  from  bark
                    sipping sassafras tea
                                      giggling
                  as forget-me-not petals
                                           open wide

 

 

Kathleen Strafford is a student at Trinity University in Leeds studying for her MA in creative writing.  She hopes her first collection of poetry Her Own Language will be published this coming year.  Her poems have appeared in Interpreter’s House, Butcher’s Dog, Algebra of Owls, The Fat Damsel and various anthologies.

How to Sculpt a Perfect Kiss – by Kathleen Strafford

 

While studying Rodin’s Kiss
       
she moulds lumps of clay
                         creating two heads

                                    flicking away clumps of earth
                           until features begin to appear

    & tilted faces begin to convey a calm
                              delight        their grey lips
                                           
almost
                                                   touching
but they could not
                              
and would not
                                         it was impossible.
                                                     In response the Professor shrugs
For another week
                   
she primps his nose
                                    plumps her lips
                                          halfway closes eyelids
                                                 forcing cheeks to nuzzle
                                 
but the clay heads rebel
                                                    refusing to kiss            perfectly

Fuming with frustration and the feeling of failure    she gives up

                                                 placing one hand behind each head
                                     she smears the two difficult
                                                                 faces together
                                                                        twisting hard
                                                                                        like this
Professor calls her work genius.

 

 

 

Kathleen Strafford is a student at Trinity University in Leeds studying for her MA in creative writing.  She hopes her first collection of poetry Her Own Language will be published this coming year.  Her poems have appeared in Interpreter’s House, Butcher’s Dog, Algebra of Owls, The Fat Damsel and various anthologies.