10 APRIL 1964, Page 29


Like another woman's, my bone-white feet Come out of the sheets, the heavy shin And the powerful oval of the knee Much coarser than when I was a girl Newly turned twelve, growing like a root In the deep white'dark, abed for months While my sick ears drummed.

My brain a pit where Jesus nightly burned.

Nightly by the bedroom fire my fattier coughed and read.

Now my skeleton, father's legacy, Has bent already from its apogee.

Ribs, chest, breast, chin, Arc gaunt as a featherless bird.

And like a hopeless neglected child In some foul slum, I'm covered in sores from scalp to leg.

Snow- falls once more past the window as it did then.

Again I've forgotten the date and the day. This north country's as dark as the other one. I'm helpless as I was then, but lonelier— My mother's dead, my father old and oversell, The man's away, the boy

Goes whistling past the bedroom door.

I see me presently old and sick, a big cross hag Bellowing from her bedroom of neglect.