Poem introduction

My husband came home from work one day and told me that he’d heard a programme on the radio all about racing pigeons, and he said to me, ‘I just know, Rebecca, you’re going to write a poem about this’ – and I really disputed the fact, I didn’t think racing pigeons were going to be of interest...but, he was right, because he told me about a term called ‘widowhood’, and they’d explained it in the programme, and it’s the term used to describe the period that racing pigeons spend apart from their mate during flights. So basically the night before a race the pigeon is caged with its mate, they have one last sexy night together, and in the morning the pigeon is released, and the reason it flies back so quickly is because it’s desperate to see its mate again, it’s sort of had a taste of pigeon action, if you will. But actually I thought this was terribly romantic and wanted to write a poem about it.

Pigeon Love

I know he sweats in his bed about me.
Nights before races are longest,
as he dreams of the money my feathers
can make him, sees my eager beak pointing

towards home. Nights like this are hard for me too,
caging us together, my love and I,
leaving me to nudge her plumy neck,
peck that secret part beneath her wing.

He relies on widowhood to get me back,
simple but it works.  Passion, sex, comfort
being parted from all that, makes me fly faster,
guarantees I’m a winner.  When that businessman

in Taiwan, bet $50,000, did he know he wagered
on mourning and love?  At six days old, they punched
a ring on my leg, the number defining my lot,
who I belonged to and he does care for me -

pets me with chubby, tender hands
but she’s the one who increases my rapidity,
her softness accelerates swiftness,
lift up your wing, high so I can see, I’m coming home.

 


from The Anatomy of Structures (Flambard Press, 2010), © Rebecca Goss 2010. used by permission of the author

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Recordings

Rebecca Goss Downloads

1A Man Greets His Wife from Her Short Break Away

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2Pigeon Love

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3Hi Honey, I'm Home

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4Burgle Me

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5Her Things

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6Leotard

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7The Anatomy of Structures

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9Stopping Distance

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10Mrs Quigley and I

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11Keeping Houston Time

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12Ants

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13Repossession

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14Ida and the Box

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15The Baby Who Understood Shadows

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16Jogging with Roger

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17Room in a Hospital

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18Toast

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19Palliative

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20Her Birth

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21Honey

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22Stretch Marks

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23Mining

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24Muscavado Sugar

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25My Neighbour’s Himalayan Birch

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26The 21st of March

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27Another

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28Welcome

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29In Memory of John Ernest Goss 1920-2011

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30Snail

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31Lost

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32Last Poem

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Books by Rebecca Goss