Liz Berry is a poet from Birmingham. She’s quite well known in the UK, but I’ve not read much of her work yet. Recently she recorded a podcast for the Scottish Poetry Library and piqued my interest by talking about the use of dialect in poetry, as well as poetry about motherhood. I decided to splurge and use my remaining Amazon voucher to buy her most recent pamphlet, The Republic of Motherhood.
This poem is called “Marie”. I love that it so well encapsulates the incredible support from other mums you sometimes find, even in the most unexpected relationships, while also conveying the desperation of early motherhood.
"Marie" I didn’t know when we met in the Baptist church hall that you would save my soul Marie, with your black hair, that I would walk through sleet with my pram to your door, my heart clem-gutted Marie, with your black hair, and you’d be waiting with your curtains pulled and the flame blue Marie, with your black hair, take my hands in yours and touch the palms saying I know I know Marie, with your black hair, you could see I was drowning and taking him with me, my boy, my baby, Marie, with your black hair, you made a wave of your body, and like a gasping fish I was borne upon it.