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Books & Poetry

Poem: Masquerades

Books & Poetry

This week’s Poet’s Corner sees Michele Slatter musing on masks and masquerades.

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Above my desk the Doctor dreams, white beaked nose,
empty eyes seeing a past: Carnevale, Venetian gold,
crowds, pairs, youthful laughter gliding out of sight
masked beyond recognition. Joyful abandon.
Take it off so I can kiss you.
Put it on. I’m going to miss you.

Upon my desk my laptop lurks: blue screen, mail,
myriad files archive a past. Graduations, the working years,
jokes, stress, fluid standpoints, leadership and new
masks to hide our ambitions. Over-achievement.
Take it off: I want to know you.
Staying on. Nothing to show you.

Along my desk mementoes rest. Red glass heart,
photos and cards framing a past: celebrations and milestone days
live here, friends and loved ones. ‘Happy, now’, we said,
maskless, losing inhibitions, worries forgotten.
Took it off and they could see me;
kept it off, happy to be me.

Beyond my desk, the world’s unrest: coal-black news,
pestilence, fire, famine and war. Post-truth times now. Uncertain days,
fears spread, tensions rise: Pandora’s fateful toll.
Masking brought new coalitions; tribal allegiance.
Wrap it on! Don’t get infected!
Rip it off. Fake news rejected!

Around my desk the windows show joy: green growth,
seasonal change, nature renewed, sunlight playing. A closer look:
all loss, damage, risk. Hail the Anthropocene.
Dispute masks our true condition; hope’s at a premium.
‘Too late!’ ‘We’re fine!’ ‘All’s lost!’ ‘They’re lying!’
I’ll mask my fear or I’ll die trying.

Michele Slatter lives in Adelaide. Educated at Durham University and University College London, she is a semi-retired law academic who has written extensively in her professional life and continues to undertake consultancy and research. Now, however, she also has time for the adventure of writing purely for enjoyment, both prose and poetry. She is a member of several active writers’ groups, online and face-to-face, and regularly reads at Friendly Street Poets.

Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to Submissions should be in the body of the email, not as attachments. A poetry book will be awarded to each accepted contributor.


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