Char March's collection of poems The Thousand Natural Shocks was
published in August 2011 and it's already won two awards, The
Poetry Kit Award and The Purple Patch Award. Char describes the
poems as "accessible, fun, poignant, hard-hitting and
heart-warming" and adds, "If you've never read poetry before, or
think modern stuff isn't for you - this is definitely the place to
change your mind!"
The collection "explores all sorts of different lives and
stories of people who have really been through the mill -
physically, mentally or emotionally" she says. "As a disabled
person myself, I was interested in looking at how we all cope when
life throws buckets of cold water at us! A lot of the poems
are poignant, a few are sad, and many of them are outrageously
funny. There are allotment Vikings, lost pigeons, a woman who
suddenly can't stand any sort of smells, an ancient aunt who
bellows about cunnilingus, a woman watching her lover struggle with
breast cancer, ways to wash your mother's hair, an anthem against
domestic violence.... and a mass of other characters and their
Char's very kindly allowed us to reproduce a poem here,
Another box of nipples arrived today
The hospital computer's gone mad
- that's the third box this week.
You stick them on the fridge door,
the phone, the handle of the kettle.
And we laugh. Then you are sick again.
This evening you sit in your usual chair
in the bloat of chemo, your breath really
bothering you. And me, if truth be told.
You are darning pullovers neither of us
ever wear - and even Oxfam won't take.
What if I could give you a new pair?
That will always pass the pencil test, even
at 90; with velvet-dark areolae
and pert tips that jut cheekily, but
don't show through your tennis dress.
You are muttering about camels
and licking the thread for the nth time;
specs half-way down - in your usual chair.
I don't see hacked-at womanhood,
that you've sobbed salt-herring barrels for.
I see you. Darning your way to normality.
The Thousand Natural Shocks is available through Amazon, or
direct from the publishers: Indigo Dreams here,
or from Char herself.
Contact her through her website for copies and/or order her next
poetry collection too, The Cloud Appreciation Society's Day Out.
That collection is the culmination of her year as
writer-in-residence for the Pennine Watershed Landscape Project - a
huge Lottery-funded initiative to get more people to understand,
appreciate, and get out onto the Pennine moors.