Saturday, April 15, 2006

Among Strangers

Who are these white strangers
Upright in starched aprons,
Flannels ready in scrubbed hands,
With bright smiles stitched onto their faces,
Their blue eyes fixed on messes
Round her mouth, their noses held
Against her leaking smell?

A white porcelain bath stands
Antiseptic on a wooden floor.
Thin fingers turn the tap,
Measure out the lukewarm water.
She climbs into a brief assault
Of yellow soap, then shivers, thankful
For release to a coarse towel.

Black shadows creep around
Rows of creaking metal beds.
Humped beneath two grey blankets
She thrusts her knees towards her damp breath,
Clamps her arms tight against her flesh.
At last her urine seeps out
Warm, familiar, spreading into sleep.

By Elke Dutton
(Taken from Writing for Self-Discovery
by Myra Schneider and John Killick)


The above poem was written by Elke Dutton, a participant in one of the writing workshop conducted by Myra Schneider a well-known UK poet. She started off with Flow-Writing about silence and afterwards focused on a small part of it, which she later developed into a poem. I really like this piece and so do a search for her background or poems in the Internet.

Unfortunately none is to be found. If you have any links to her poems please let me know. Thanks.

A friend of mine, Liz has bravely taken up the challenge and participates in the still on-going NaPoWriMo 2006. To be frank I am quite tempted to do the same though not necessary during the month of April.


Amy said...

This is a wonderful, sad poem. The woman isn't comfortable being clean; she does not feel she is herself being clean.

Alson Teo said...

Hi Amy,

I 100% agree with you.

I really like this poem. Unfortunately I am unable to locate her other poems. :(

Martyn said...

Thanks for sharing that wonderful poem.

Alson Teo said...

You are most welcome martyn. :)