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This article is taken from PN Review 263, Volume 48 Number 3, January - February 2022.

Roarer and other poems Kathryn Pallant

The tea chests

arrive unannounced,

Splinter wood
with metal seams metal tacked,

lined with crinkled tin and the dead
rose scent of darjeeling.

At night I lie
rigid with reluctance to move.

Into them we lower our small
sacred things:

Water Babies,
LPs, a doll’s horse but not her house.

The chests press against the
speechless piano,

the table’s dropped
leaves. An unlinked chain of chairs

cleaves space with the blunder violence
of cows corralled at market.

Our mother collects us
in the middle of a mid-term day. I leave

a comic strip behind for my father. He
values funny things.


Being of the demographic,
I heard a man on Woman’s Hour
bemoan the menopause,
the unfortunate effects
of his wife’s unbearable rage.

Her whereabouts
went unmentioned
but he was there for her
in a soundproof studio.

I too have seen her—
iron woman unhinged
striding aroar across
the burnt out gorse
of the moors,

decrying the terraces
snaking the valley,
meek gardens,
man caves.

Hinze Dam

‘The first time I saw Ted Hughes was on a school trip to Hebden Bridge, where he read his poems ...

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