Wonderland

Caroline Hawkridge

I wanted a den like Alice's rabbit hole:
burrowed by a woodland rabbit.

The Illustrated Book of Rhodesian Mammals
only sported nocturnal hares.

A boulder-hopper in granite hills,
boxing among moonlit kopjes,

Jameson's red rock hare
has no need to dig,

and sometimes sunbathes.
The red fur is grizzled, the book said.

And you can find their skulls
snapped off by owls.

I turned to the Cape hare: a sprinter
in arid semi-desert, savannah, bushveldt -

only ever outrun by a cheetah,
unless ambushed by a leopard or hyenas.

I read that hares are not rabbits.
Rabbits are born blind, in the dark.



Caroline Hawkridge, photographed by Richard Kenworthy, New Writing North

Caroline Hawkridge is the winner of the Julia Darling Travel Fellowship 2018.

Caroline began her writing career with two groundbreaking women's health books, Understanding Endometriosis (Optima, Little Brown, Vermilion) and The Menopause, HRT and You (Penguin), which enabled women to bear witness and be heard. She has since completed an MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University and decided to turn her writing interests from the silences of patients to the silence she experienced as a child immigrant.

Caroline will be using the Fellowship to return to Zimbabwe for the first time since her family left 50 years ago. Inspired by Julia's First Aid Kit for the Mind, Caroline will explore what home really means to a child immigrant. The experience will aid the writing of her first poetry collection. Caroline's poem speaking out about family history won Mslexia's Villanelle Poetry Challenge. Her work has been Highly Commended in the Magma, York and Torbay competitions.

Caroline's website.

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Wonderland © 2018 Caroline Hawkridge: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the estate of the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.
Photograph by Richard Kenworthy, used by kind permission of New Writing North