Many Happy Returns

little lou swingToday seems as good as any to get the old publicity machine oiled and ready for action. It was my late mother’s birthday today – two years short of a century (which is somehow difficult for me to believe).

Anyway, this day seems to be the right one for me to mention (again) my new pamphlet due out later this month: ‘Under the Influence’, published by the Hedgehog Poetry Press, a book which has more than just a passing mention of my mother (pictured here with little me, aeons ago).

Here’s one of the pamphlet’s  poems, ‘Learning to Sew’, which first saw light of day in the Strokestown Poetry Festival Anthology in 2019.

Learning to Sew
by Louise G Cole

She stitched me right into childhood,
paper pattern pieces of maternal advice
from The People’s Friend, My Weekly,
Woman and Home, invisible threads
- no-one should see crooked seams -
embroidered elaborate falsehoods,
basted ill-fitting words for my supper,
appliquéd subliminal messages, said
out loud I had a face only a mother
could love.

Believing, I took youth’s sharp scissors,
hacked at gauche, awkward tacking,
unpicked mother and daughter outfits,
discovered I could sew my own dresses,
girl into woman shouting down rough
fabric, frayed raw edges, sagging hems,
tailored new garments, gathered then
how to needle, needle, pinned all hope
on a tapestry of need she didn’t expect
me to get.

Of course, all birthdays deserve cake, so now I’m off to clatter and bang in the kitchen.

My mother taught me how to bake – and how to judge her mood by the noise she was making in the kitchen. It’s one of those useful gifts that should be passed down the generations. Except my own daughter is unlikely to hide if I’m caught crashing angry pans. She’s more likely to tell me to quieten down and get over myself! There’s probably a poem in there somewhere, but it is too late for this new pamphlet…

There’s a little more about it all in my last post here