Julia’s Magic Carpet Bag – John Hegley

My copy of Apology for Absence
by Julia Darling, was brought back by Lucy.
She had borrowed the poems
to be companions in Seville.
And, although Julia was only present in her poems,
I still think she went to Seville
with her colourful carpet bag.
Julia, that is.
The night of the return
Julia was produced by Lucy (curly hair)
just as I was speaking to Jayne (straighter hair)
Lucy explained that Julia had been very good company
in Spain.
Lucy and Jayne had never previously met
and on my suggestion Lucy let Julia go away with Jayne.

Julia and I once had some fun
with some youngsters from Speke in the Liverpool area.
we got them making words out of clay,
so that they might see them more as things.

There follows, a game in Speke spirit,
in which words from each of the first 24 poems
in Apology for Absence
suggests what Julia might have had in her bag:

washing       and your sheets need washing
shoes            I’m that pair of uncomfortable shoes.
glitter           Some moments glitter
corners        or a day of corners, steps and slopes.
Brown          Brown walls, the clip and gleam of hospitals
vast               its shape, its vast thirsty tongue
buttons        I clung to my imagination, my buttons
pads             and dribbling in a stair lift, wearing pads.
sharp           She’s dreaming of wardrobes, of sharp gold shoes
pullovers     to take off pullovers and swirl, to get
moths          bobbing, trying to catch the moths
magazines  Pop Idol, magazines.
banana        The main street was one long banana stall
glasses         I am the woman who wears reading glasses
mirror          adjusting the mirror.
forgotten     You have forgotten it, that itching ache
red                I am overpowered by its fragrant red roses
soap              a moon-shaped slither of soap
juice             new and surprised, the trees full of juice
mud             tents, and whose mud is crusted on their shoes.
short            These short days, when I try too hard
coat              and evaporated breath, buttoned in sleep’s downy coat
trousers       hold my trousers up with string, pull.
science         Donate your family to science.

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