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A Wonderful View of the Sea

Ruth Silcock

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This title is available for academic inspection (paperback only).
ISBN: 978 0 856462 64 1
Imprint: Anvil Press Poetry
Published: October 1996
216 x 137 x 9 mm
96 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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    The Skeleton Dance

    We went to the pictures one bright afternoon,
    There were serials, slapstick, and then a cartoon
    Of skeletons dancing. That night I was soon
    Woken up by the skeleton dance.

    Those skeletons jiggled their fingers and toes
    And juggled their thigh bones and skulls with no nose,
    They grinned as their eye sockets gaped, and I froze
    At the clattering skeletons’ dance.

    I ran to my mother and shook her awake –
    ‘It’s those skeletons dancing!’ ‘Those what? For my sake
    Get back to your bed, it’s past midnight, why make
    Such a fuss for a skeleton dance!’

    I said I was sorry, I pushed back her hair
    To kiss her smooth forehead, now shining and bare,
    And saw that her skin hid a skull. Even here
    Was a skeleton waiting to dance.

    Since that night long ago I have tried not to see
    Her forehead – or yours – for it’s bound to show me
    The bone just below, which is waiting to be
    Whirled away in the skeleton dance.

    Ruth Silcock brings deft narrative skill, compassionate humour and a sharp eye for the oddities of human behaviour to these poems about the neglected, the marginalized and the unnoticed. ‘46 Nursing Homes’ is a sequence which draws on her personal experience. It will speak directly and wittily to the heart of anyone who has tried to find appropriate care for an elderly relative or friend. Her book is a triumph of humour and humanity.

    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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