Without salt

by Mandy Pannett
The Write Idea
Third Place, October 2009
Judged by Majid Naficy


It’s about waking up
to the sound of a bird,
a bird for all birds
in the tree outside,
with snow on the sill,
an air that is easy to breathe.

And I’m still back
in that favourite time –
that crummy old flat
in Washington Square,
squatting with poets
on cold brown steps,
bright as the stars but hungry
for syllables, words
with a passion and meat.

But it’s winter in Paris and years since that
and they’re all long gone,
those rebels are dead.
I’m missing the salt,
need words that are tough,
am tired of courage,
go on.


This poem rests on memory. The bird that awakes the poet brings back the memory of the poet's youth, hanging out with fellow poets in Washington Square. I think the poem does not need the last stanza and should end with the line "with a passion and meat". --Majid Naficy

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