Eva Maria Chapman


I post two poems. The first is Ode to Olga and the second I wrote when my first grandchild died tragically at the age of 2 days old on June 14th 2004, To Harper. I will be producing a booklet of all the poems I wrote at the time.

Ode to Olga

You were thrown from one hell to another,
From the agony and death of whole countries
To the wide ordered streets of Adelaide
Where the stocky Mildreds and Doreens roamed.
Death, death all around,
Death with a different face.
Suffocating boredom
Obliterating life and hope.
Stifling heat, stifling order
Dusty dullness, tepid torpor.
We the dispossessed and haunted
Search the clean streets for blood.
Search the dull eyes for recognition.
We do not even recognise each other!
In the migrant wastelands people avert their eyes.
Don't look at me! Don't see my guilt.
Don't see my pain. Don't hear my silent screams.
And all around, the ordered streets kill.
And you died.
A long lingering death.
The Australian psyche grabbed you and suffocated you
Anaesthetised, electrocuted and knifed you.
You tottered, stumbled and fell.
An enemy far worse than Stalin and Hitler
An unseen enemy.
Nowhere to hang your shadows.
So they turned and ate you slowly
And finally claimed you.

Ode To Harper - From a Proud Grandmother

You danced fleetingly across our lives
Changing us forever
With the feathery brush
Of your dark soft angel hair

Like a butterfly’s wing
On an azure day
Riffling open our eyelids and whispering
I am beautiful, I am here

Oh my heart yearns for you
Yearns for the plaintive little cry
That I was blessed to hear
On that first precious day

Oh Harper I heard your sound
A fragment of a lost future so dear
I yearned for that cry to flower
Into a lusty roar

But no I must make do with the memory
It will always soothe my agonised soul
But never assuage the silent chasm of longing
That you have awakened within me

Harper I beheld your sweet tears
As your mother stroked you
I collected them in a small phial that lives in my heart
I will treasure them always

Oh Harper why aren’t you here
Your babushka aches to tell you
Stories of wolves and snow
And sing you Russian songs

To take you to the woods
And show you trees
To watch you climb them
And kiss your scratched knees

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