Esther Morgan

Image by Caroline Forbes

Bone China

Bone China

I want to leave something behind
like the maid who cracked one night
the length of her heart,
who crept shaking down the staircase
to where the service shone on the dresser,
plates pale as a row of moons.

She stacked them in her arms -
a weight greater than all she owned -
bore their white tower to the kitchen garden
where she stood between the soft fruit beds
and smashed each one against the wall
with a planetary anger.

That dawn she walked out of her story forever,
though her flavour salted the servants' tongues for months,
and clearing the ground a hundred years later
of this self-seeded scrub of ash
I can still piece bits of her together - white and sharp -
as if the earth were teething.

'Bone China' from The Silence Living in Houses (Bloodaxe, 2005), © Esther Morgan 2005, used by permission of the author and the publisher.


Esther Morgan

Esther Morgan Reading from Her Poems

1The Reason



4Out of Season

5Images on Glass


7Industrial Light and Magic

8Hints for Outback Motoring


10The Cows


12The House of


14Self Possession

15Bone China

16The Ghost of This House



19House Rules

20Her Given Names


22Balancing Act

23The Ring Hand

24Why Don't You Just Leave?

25Safe House

26Are You Homesick for the House of Cards?

27Growing a Girl

28British Winter Time

29At the parrot sanctuary


31Waiting Places

32The Long Holidays

33Spare Room in Summer

34The Messengers

35Among Women


37What Happens While We are Sleeping

38Summer Storm

39Garbo Among Us

40Hide Nor Hair

41Five Easy Pieces

42The China Mender's Daughter


44After Life


Books by Esther Morgan