Tuesday Poem: ‘Cactus’ by Siobhan Harvey

No snags, I promise,
simply a gift so that we might part smoothly,
our points of difference buried.

The distance between two spikes
might once have measured our connection,
an infinite world of tenderness there.
But now, it’s enough
that each sharp star speaks of something long gone.

Perhaps you’ll take this cactus with you;
grow into it from afar,
rooted by it wherever you go:
Uluru, Rio, Arizona.

Perhaps you’ll leave it behind,
allow it to stand in place of you,
holding your memory
in the same way a picture might,
or a closed book on a shelf in your room:
a silent, internal way,
the way of the animate,
the wrist-watch, the ghost.

I’ll tolerate either choice,
for some winter’s morning
you’ll fly home to darkness
and you’ll know that you’re alive,
because you’ll stroke this cactus,
recalling the moment it was offered,
and it will prick you,
and it will hurt.

Originally published in Blackmail Press 13. Reprinted here with permission by the author. I  love this poem and hope to hear Siobhan read it and others on June 12 when she’s the Guest Poet at Poetry Live, The Thirsty Dog, K Road, 8pm. If you’re in Auckland, see you next Tuesday!
Tuesday Poem For more Tuesday Poems, go here.

This entry was posted in Other People's Stuff and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Tuesday Poem: ‘Cactus’ by Siobhan Harvey

  1. Helen R says:

    I really like this poem too. I got to hear her read it when she was in Wellington recently. Killer ending.

  2. ajponder says:

    Very cute – and just a little vicious 😉
    Nice choice of poem.

  3. Mariana says:

    Shouldn’t it be ‘Uluru’ not ‘Ulluru’?: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uluru#Name

  4. It’s’s a very cool poem. what a wonderful symbol of pain and separation the cactus is here. Great image flying home to darkness stroking the cactus perhaps expecting fond memories and instead feeling the prick of revenge.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Mm, I love the train of thought that carries on after the gift has been given – the never-ending ‘perhaps’. Siobhan’s poetry is just stunning.

  6. For me, a completely new taking-off point for a love (?) poem. I love its irony and imagery.

  7. Blindpoet says:

    Very clever and real poem. I love the images and spike mixed with the once warm and soft intimacy.

  8. Helen Lowe says:

    It’s more of a poem of farewell, I feel, than a love poem, but ‘perfect’ for that. I always enjoy Siobhan’s poetry and this one is no exception.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s