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Ruth Silcock

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Imprint: Anvil Press Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (104 pages)
(Pub. Mar 2006)
£7.95 £7.16
  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Author


    We never did care
    For Claire,
    Her blue stare,
    How it pleased her to scare
    Any new girl. – Despair
    Followed Claire.

    Yet our teachers would care
    For Claire,
    Her blue stare
    And the wave of her hair.
    No-one else could compare
    With their Claire.

    Now we don’t need to care
    About Claire –
    But those people who sat in her dentist’s chair,
    Watching her drill and her bright blue stare –
    Did they share our despair?
    Or did no-one else ever compare
    With their Claire?


    A Pleasant Lady in Blue

    ‘You didn’t know me, did you?
    Have you forgotten last year?’
    Said a pleasant lady in blue.

    ‘I’m Rosie – remember? – who
    You sent to the loony-bin dear.
    You didn’t know me, did you?

    I’d collapsed on the sofa, due
    To some smokes and some drinks. – I felt queer!’
    Said a pleasant lady in blue.

    ‘And the sofa had burnt a bit too,
    And Ron said he’d kill me, for fear
    (You didn’t know me, did you?)

    Of my killing the kids first, in view
    Of my habits. The kids were somewhere –’
    Said a pleasant lady in blue,

    ‘So we each got locked up! Which led to
    This consequence – my boyfriend here.
    You didn’t know me, did you?’
    Said a pleasant lady in blue.

    Ruth Silcock’s third collection continues in cheerful vein about often less than cheerful subjects. She has the knack of combining jaunty traditional forms with sometimes startling or even grim subject matter. Her poems focus on the lives of ordinary people – children, vicars, orphans, nurses, grannies, social workers at a dance, old people in residential homes – and she treats their stories with compassion and humour.

    Ruth Silcock, born in Manchester in 1926, read English at Girton College, Cambridge. She later became a psychiatric social worker, working with both adults and children. She also published several children’s books as well as her three collections of poems. A successful radio play, 46 Nursing Homes, was based ... read more
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