Slow Reader

Slow Reader

He can make sculptures
and fabulous machines,
invent games, tell jokes,
give solemn, adult advice -
but he is slow to read.
When I take him on my knee
with his Ladybird book
he gazes into the air,
sighing and shaking his head
like an old man
who knows the mountains
are impassable.

He toys with words,
letting them go cold
as gristly meat,
until I relent
and let him wriggle free:
a fish returning
to its element,
or a white-eyed colt - shying
from the bit - who sees
that if he takes it
in his mouth
he'll never run
quite free again.

That was one of the first poems I wrote when I was about thirty five and it was about my son. But I think it was as much about me being so slow beginning as a poet because I was as afraid of writing as he was of reading.


from Close Relatives (Secker & Warburg 1981), copyright © Vicki Feaver 1981, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

Recordings

Buy album £0.00

1Slow Reader

2Marigolds

3Beauty and the Beast

4Oi Yoi Yoi

5The River God

6Ironing

7The Handless Maiden

8Crab Apple Jelly

9Rope

10Right Hand

11The Crack

12Lily Pond

13Judith

14Lacrimae Hominis

15American Newsreel, Japan, 1945

16Li ho

17Girl in Red

18Pills

19The Gift

20The Red Cupboard

21Gorilla

22Bufo bufo

23Horned Poppy

24Glow-worm

25Hemingway's Hat

26Riddle

27Bats

28Buzzards

29The Man Who Ate Stones

30The Gun

Books by Vicki Feaver