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War Baby

Authors: A.C. Clarke, poetry

Published by Cinnamon Press

ISBN: 9781910836927

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The powerful, tight prose passages interspersed with spare, elegant poems not only communicate the visceral details of a specific time and place, but also open up questions of how memory works, its gaps and its intensity, above all how it’s scars resonate through a life. A highly accomplished and compelling pamphlet from an experienced poet. "War Baby uses the form of the sequence to create an impressive internal coherence that powerfully evokes a childhood experience of London during and after the Second World War. This is the poetry of memory but vividly specific and completely unsentimental." Ian Gregson Extract from: 'First House (4)' When I had to pass the redbrick hospital with its iron grilles on the windows level with the street, I would hold my breath for fear of germs or cross to the other side. I never saw anyone go in or come out, never expected to. My brother was born in a hospital, my baby sister died in one. I was given a nurse doll and my father made a toy hospital bed – he was good at toys. Later I would lie in a real hospital bed, having things done to me like a doll patient. (ii) The taste of air was grit, I remember, the whole of London sheeted in dust which toned down colour, scoured lungs like the pumice that rubbed my skin red-sore when my dip-pen splattered my awkward hand. I can’t remember vases full of spring only the sickly not-quite-rotten scent of green-white privet flowers. The holy water stoup smelled of vinegar and dead sponge, the chapel of old incense. The nuns smelled of habits worn too long.
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