They stand about in grandmotherly disguise,
schoolchildren once, now grey-haired,
stiff and pompous, propriety made flesh,
cod gasping on the deck, flapping but almost dead.
The one who laughs a lot, the sporty one,
the fool, the quiet thoughtful one, the tyrant,
peddling their years between then and now,
purveyors of their own accomplishments.
But how it’s marked them. Some have bellies,
toenails thick and yellow, hair like Brillo
pads or cushion stuffing, absent teeth,
misplaced between fights, lovers, dentists, drinks.
A few who seem unchanged – the girl with gloss
black hair and manmade curls wearing
a dress so tight her knickers show, the one
whose bones and tongue are sharp as shears.
But the girl who played the violin,
(was bullied for her flair), now leads an orchestra!
Between us all, a hundred jobs, some
marriages, divorces, kids, a few deaths.
Our names declare ourselves, in letters
that require fumbling for bifocals
or desperate guesses. Some clutch at drinks
and dance at last, swaying too slow or too fast.
And me, well I am where I always was,
awkward in the corner, I watch.
I always have good intentions to write a poem every day for NaPoWriMo https://www.napowrimo.net/ but usually fall by the wayside quite early in the month.
2020 however is different and being stuck at home means I’ve had more time and on Day 8 I was still going strong. I chose a Sylvia Plath line generated by the suggested twitterbot https://twitter.com/sylviaplathbot). It’s a line from “Wuthering Heights” by Plath; “They stand about in grandmotherly disguise” and I used it as the opening line for my poem, “Reunion”.
In case you were wondering, the NaPoWriMo site tells us the following:-
there’s actually quite a respectable lineage of poems that start with a line by another poet, such as this poem by Robert Duncan, or this one by Lisa Robertson.