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They Will Eventually Say Nothing of My Poetry: Poems by Abigail George

Image: Nad Renrel via Flickr

They will eventually say nothing of my poetry

He was good at it then and even now this voyager.
I had to go to pieces the afternoon delight.
Perhaps if I had been rich, a funny girl, classy and brilliant.
It would have been a different matter, significant.
Perhaps if I had not told him how much I loved him.
Perhaps he would have loved me back then even more.
Perhaps he would have married me, called me his wife to my face.
He would have been a family-man. We would have had a family.
Daddy was a spy and a proud man. Though he always wished me well.
He read all my notebooks. My outlook on man has always been primitive.
Perhaps I should have burnt my journals.

My hardcovers, and diaries in the end are not useful
And in the end my wishes did not become prophecies.
For the most part of my life
I felt unfulfilled, deeply unsatisfied.
I thought that only the measure
Of a man with shamanic wisdom
Could change all of that insecurity.
My father was an arrogant man, a mad man.
He taught me everything I knew, educated me
But not on how to be a woman.
So I felt cheated in the end

When I lost the only man I had ever loved.
I went out of my mind. At first it felt outstanding
But the bars at the window kept me up nights.
It was so dark, so dark, but love matters I told myself
And all I could do was to get up and drink water
The hunt for sleep was always peaceful in the end.
My beautiful Shura, it was always winter for her.
We were winter guests wherever we found ourselves to be.
The two of us were trapeze artists. There was always applause.
I always had to pray that we would navigate this planet
Together with our hero Ted, Edward Hughes the poet.

It was just in his nature his philandering ways.
As I later found out. He would never marry me.
Accept Shura as his own. So I melted, turned into a tree by a river.
Shura melted, turned into an angel. Her childhood was over forever.
We both became hollow, shells, driftwood, lotus flowers growing in mud.
Turned in our grave and slept. Dream Shura I whispered in her ear.
We would never see the sun again. Three marriages behind me.
And Shura dreamed of the Cheshire cat grinning from ear to ear.
Assia Wevill’s womb is silent. Another ghost house.
Assia, daughter of a German Protestant mother and a Russian Jewish father.
Assia, Sylvia Plath’s rival, that is all they will remember of me.



My flesh, my blood and your stem ill and bitter
Sink deep into your grave my little bold skinned flower
So small with your weak limbs heiress in your mother’s arms
You killed an angel you filthy exotic paranoid foreigner
With your orange silks, bangles at your wrists.
Known beloved, known neurotic will you ever be forgiven?
In death both of you will thrive at Ted Hughes’s bone-clinic
And you will whisper that war your majesty is a crime.
My dreamer, love poem, sonnet and my shell, my hell.
Death is a monster, a shell, while the sea is a ghost.
The air is beautiful isn’t it like a Paris soul, after a killing.

The combinations of water in a glass, the clarity of words,
A white meringue of a beautiful dress, is it mine, is it mine?
My stories are fragmentary, my poetry is terrible because
I say it is so it is so. My love for you is a blank thrill.
It is dying. Shame. But I have brought it upon myself you see.
I dislike my conversation. I’ve drilled it into myself. Gas.
This emptiness. Talent is my enemy. I wish to cry. You have left.
Regard me no more as lover. I will take the promises you made
To the grave. You will stand at the mouth of it, its purse.
Together Shura and I will rest in eternity. I will cling to her.
I do not need your soul. Our spirits are clouds, numb, celestial.

Everything, the earth is diminishing in front of my eyes.
People have become puppets. Winter has power over my mood.
There is no man on the moon. He has disappeared for good.
The angels have seen to that. Only a feminist remains. She is fair.
She is my gift to you, to Shura. No more harm will come to us now.
My mouth is frozen. My lips are blue with cold. My limbs, my limbs.
I cannot feel them. You chiselled them out of thin air of ghosts.
I am distancing myself more and more away from you. Evaporate.
Your father is responsible for this. I am off the edge. Leaning
Towards bleeding intelligently, rain is a feast and so is morals.
But you knew nothing of the latter brute, beast, traitor, and coward.

It hurts that you hurt me and that you hurt Shura too.
But what is pain my lotus flower? But sacrifices have to be made.
Why always the vulnerable, the wounded, the sick and troubled?
My beauty was accidental until glaciers came between us.
I wish I had destroyed you now, not romanced, and not seduced you.
Now I only have the capacity within me for spring, to swim.
Tel Aviv and Canada both distant memories I trained myself to grow wise.
The night is different now. I feel it all the time. Shura in my arms.
We are both prisoners. I can never make plans. She will never grow old.
Ted Hughes’s ugly duckling will never grow into a swan.
She, my Shura will never fall in love and whose fault is that.


Going all the way with it

Head bowed at the desk.
Stop talking. You’re no longer special.
Notebook in hand. Rilke and Hemingway
In my head. Always in my head.
Their empires have become mine.
Their knowledge has become mine.
What masters of observation, lessons, intimacy.
Their breath has become my breath.
They cut me with their small details
Because they were both tough in their own way.
I wonder what they thought of the feminine writer.

The female poet suffered too.
They sowed brave seeds and planted weather.
She discovered that clay was grand.
And having a husband and children too.
These poets they feel things. They see things.
They are prophets and chefs too.
Memorising recipes in the kitchen.
And their words come to them in whispers, mother-tongue.
Men of that generation thought it was strange
For a woman to write, to have that kind of knowledge.
And if women weren’t brave enough they gave it all up.

Stupid stars how I love them.
How I love to worship them.
Diamonds that are broken off into pieces.
What is poverty anyway? It is not a crime.
I don’t want love, any of it and that is the truth.
I don’t want to be worshipped or admired.
And that is also the truth. Ship the news off.
Insomnia means nothing and everything to me.
In youth perhaps I was more beautiful then
Than I am now. Now I live with regret.
And it is bitter like thoughts of suicide.

Watching someone bleeding to death is a horrible bore.
Or even in the sight of yourself in the eyes of someone you love.
Can I get anything useful from it I ask myself?
Here bleeding is a metaphor for such is war and battles.
The written word, love at first magical sight.
Loneliness, morning, waking up alone, the sight of a lake
No people swimming in it or on it in sight. No beasts about.
And when you remember and when you remember not to forget.
There was no fish on Easter Sunday. Daddy was very upset, sad even.
After leaving Mr Hughes there was nothing left of me.
But love can do that to you.


Assia Wevill, the greatest rival of Sylvia Plath

Love me I said
But in the end you hated me
And bitterly so.
Green was not our landscape.
It was much more as if
My childhood had begun to bloom again.
Nazi Germany, the train, that awful train journey, growing up
In Tel Aviv, the needles, flying into tantrums.
Was my English not articulate enough for you?
I would have peeled all the potatoes in the world for you
Given the chance but I was nothing like her was I?

Why didn’t you just say so?
That I wasn’t good enough.
Three marriages, three marriages.
I knew what they were all thinking.
Why weren’t you the one that came out with it, that said it out loud?
Let us put an end to this but it was much more than an affair.
You had said so yourself on numerous occasions.
Copycat. Copycat. They all said afterwards.
When I held Shura in my arms the one thing
That meant the most in the world to me all I could think of
Was forgive me, forgive me. Gas.

Ted, your gestures are in my blood you know.
Flowers in my brain while I fidget in my grave.
Gone too soon. Gone too soon from my beautiful Ted’s world
Of words, your seasons, your earth and your paragraphs
That I have envied for all of our life together
With our children. All I ever wanted is a glimpse of us as perfect people.
It is not working. This is not working so I will put on a disguise.
You abandoned me. You abandoned our blossoms.
Our kingdom, your throne for my empire of the sun.
Health is past. I am no longer part of the living my darling.
You have damaged my imagination forever and I cannot even

Dream of living uprooted
And forever being infiltrated by a madman.
Did you remember her at all when you were with us?
When you were up close and personal with shades
Of your dirty-exotic Assia and little pampered Shura?
And now that you will never see us ever again.
The taste of a double life was wonderful wasn’t it?
At the cost of others what do you feel inside your heart now?
Is it waves of decay inside the pool of your great mind?
I was your greatest admirer. Shura was Frieda’s greatest admirer.
Will you ever write a great poem again?


© Abigail George
Image: Nad Renrel


Abigail George
Abigail George
South African Abigail George is a blogger, essayist, short story writer, screenwriter, novelist, and poet. She briefly studied film in Johannesburg. She has two film projects in development and is the recipient of two grants from the National Arts Council, one from the Centre for the Book and another from ECPACC. Her publishers are Tendai Rinos Mwanaka (Zimbabwe, Mwanaka Media and Publishing or Mmap), Xavier Hennekinne (Australia/New Zealand, Gazebo Books), and Thanos Kalamidas (Finland, Ovi). Her literary representative is Morten Rand. She is a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net nominated, and European Union Poetry Prize longlisted poet. Her poem “The Accident” was Identity Theory's Editor's Choice for Spring. Ink Sweat and Tears chose her poem “When light poured into me at the swimming pool” as a September Pick of the Month, and she recently made the shortlist of the Writing Ukraine Prize 2023. She is a poet/writer who believes in the transformative, restorative and healing powers of words. Her latest book is Letter To Petya Dubarova (Australia/New Zealand, Gazebo Books). Young Galaxies (a poetry book) was released in 2023 from Mmap and a memoir When Bad Mothers Happen is forthcoming. “Clarissa, Hector and Septimus Redefined” was recently published by Novelty Fiction in Kindle format.

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