Cara L McKee – Two Poems
On the ledge
We shivered on a clifftop ledge
and watched the lights at sea.
We perched upon the very edge
but you were beside me.
I watched the lights go out at sea
and sang songs of the dark.
And you were there alongside me,
I’d held you in my heart.
I sang the songs of midnight dark
and cried then, looking down.
You broke me from your faithless heart.
I longed to jump and drown.
In that dread midnight, looking down
I threw away my ring
in lieu of me, in swells to drown.
A different song to sing.
I threw away my wedding ring
and got up from the edge.
A brand new song for me to sing
a shimmering new pledge.
Back when you noticed him,
and he said that he was common
oh, but he wasn’t.
With his gawky gauche and jaded
kitchen sink attitude.
Perhaps he wanted you?
Oh such a beautiful thing:
all limbs, and with his fag
dripping from his fingers
and despite his artful cool
you knew you would, didn’t you?
If he just wanted you.
You know he danced like your dad,
with a crotch grab here and there
to keep it sexy.
With his long fingers and kicks
and stupid wiggling bum.
And yet you wanted him.
And then you said you woke up
after some mad night to find him
sprawled in your bedroom,
in a sumptuous angled heap
down on your bedroom floor.
And what if you wanted him?
So then you reached out to touch
and he touched you too, and your room
became the whole world.
You unbuttoned his tight shirt
and let him take down your pants,
smiling at his surprise.
Because he couldn’t have known
that you’d dreamed of pushing him
naked in a trolley,
laughing loud like Sadie Frost
but the bed was more comfortable,
and you’d always wanted this.
And so you smiled and lay back
and watched his long fingers flicker
down your body,
while you crossed your fingers
that your boyfriend wouldn’t come home.
Or did you want him to?
Because you’d just have that chance.
He would change his mind and go
and leave his words behind,
but you’d have that memory
of the time you had him,
of when he wanted you.
Author’s Statement on Beauty
I’m slightly obsessed with fairy tales, so when I think of beauty, I think of the beauty in the beast, the eternal beauty of the sleeping child, and that cusp moment, so terribly important in fairy tales, when a young woman girl realises that despite what she’s been told about doing what she’s told and how pretty she is, she is so much more, and there is so much more, than the external beauty she then epitomises.
I love that she so often becomes fascinated by the gentle, quiet, beauty (the strength, experience, and wisdom) of an older woman, as portrayed so brilliantly by Angela Lansbury in her role as Granny in the film version of Angela Carter’s The Company of Wolves.
To me beauty is the acceptance of oneself, the appreciation even, letting our qualities, or the quality of our creations, shine out, regardless and heedless of the opinions of others.
Cara L. McKee lives in Largs, on the West Coast of Scotland, with her young family. She writes a column for Scotland 4 Kids magazine and blogs at caralmckee.blogspot.co.uk. Her poetry has recently appeared in 404 Ink and Allegro Poetry. She has been shortlisted for this year’s Great British Write Off. She is presently working on her first novel.