Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I hear you singing in the next room by Helen Rickerby

I hear you singing in the next room

It is more than not being alone

We cook together and eat
from      blue bowls

Sometimes I am the wise one
                         sometimes you

The night we met, we both
kissed the same boy

You write ‘I love you’ in the condensation
        on the window

I lead you into luxury and indolence

We walk to the zoo and promise the animals
                                                                freedom

We draw a magic circle around ourselves

It is more than not being alone, it is being together

I hear you singing in the next room



Posted with permission.
Editor: Janis Freegard


I love this poem, from Helen Rickerby's second collection, My Iron Spine.  You get a glimpse into a whole relationship through just a few well-chosen details. The poem has a sweetness and simplicity about it, but with sounds, colours and actions that make it come alive: the lover singing in the next room, the blue bowls, the trip to the zoo.  There is a real sense of two people wrapped up in each other, their love being greater than the sum of the individuals. 

There's a musicality about the poem too.  I especially like the line about "luxury and indolence".  I also like the way it circles back at the end, to the singing in the next room.  But this time, we hear the singing with a deeper understanding.




Helen Rickerby is the author of My Iron Spine (HeadworX, 2008), Abstract Internal Furniture (HeadworX, 2001), and the poem sequence Heading North, which was  published in a hand-bound hardback edition by Kilmog Press in 2010She also runs the wonderful Seraph Press - a boutique publishing company with a growing reputation for publishing high-quality poetry books - and is co-managing editor of the literary magazine JAAM.

Helen's latest poetry collection, Cinema, will be published by Makaro Press early next year. She blogs irregularly at wingedink.blogspot.com.


This week's editor, Janis Freegard, is the author of the chapbook The Continuing Adventures of Alice Spider (Anomalous Press, US, 2013) and the collection Kingdom Animalia: the Escapades of Linnaeus (Auckland University Press, 2011), and is co-author of AUP New Poets 3 (Auckland University Press, 2008).  She lives in Wellington, New Zealand.


You can check out some of the other Tuesday poets and poems via the sidebar on the left.

7 comments:

Emma said...

I really love this poem too. Thanks Helen and Janis!

Elizabeth said...

Oh gorgeous! I love the passing of 'wiseness' from one to the other - how humbling and a true measure of respect. The circularity of the first line as the final was stunning. Thanks for sharing!

Jennifer Compton said...

yeah nice

Anna said...

Yes Helen is a brilliant poet, and the simplest of her poems are sometimes the most brilliant of all. It is always the details that are so surprising and so spot on - she lives in a world in which the condensation on the windows is full of meaning, sometimes quite literally.
I don't know if I can post this comment though because the words I am asked to transcribe are not full of meaning and when they are sounded out, ugh, robot-noise, how can I prove I am not a robot by transcribing robot noise I cannot understand?

Helen Rickerby said...

Thanks so much everyone, and Anna that's hilarious! Yes, the internet tries its best to make us robots. It clearly hasn't worked with you yet!

Ben Hur said...

Beautiful poem.artfully simple and simply artful.

Scale Lily said...

Great imagery with the moth above and referencing Icarus; a classic.