Handbag

Handbag

My mother's old leather handbag,
crowded with letters she carried
all through the war. The smell
of my mother's handbag: mints
and lipstick and Coty powder.
The look of those letters, softened
and worn at the edges, opened,
read, and refolded so often.
Letters from my father. Odour
of leather and powder, which ever
since then has meant womanliness,
and love, and anguish, and war.


from Fifteen to Infinity (Hutchinson, 1983), © Ruth Fainlight 1983, used by permission of the author

Recordings

Ruth Fainlight

Ruth Fainlight Reading from her Poems

1A Sibyl

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2Blocked Sibyl

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3Driving Northward

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4Trees

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5It Must

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6Animal Tamer

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7Passenger

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8Handbag

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9In Memoriam H.P.F.

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10As Though She Were a Sister

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11Death's Love-Bite

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12The Knot

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13On the Theme of Artifice

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14Poppies

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15Ovid among the Scythians

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16That Presence

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17A Mourner

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18Homage

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19Lineage

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20Late Low Sun

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21Thunder

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22Facts About the Sibyl

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23Elegant Sibyl

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24Friends' Photos

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25Young Men

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26Whatever

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27Autumn Crocus

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28What

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29Ordinary Sorrow

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30Potatoes

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31Feathers

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32Four Pheasants

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33La Traviata in 2001

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34Sheba & Solomon: I - Their Words

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35Sheba & Solomon: XI - Water

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36Sheba & Solomon: XII - Solomon's Desire

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37Moon Wheels

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38Blankets

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39Lovely Hands

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40Crocuses

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41Midland Contemporary

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Books by Ruth Fainlight