Should I read poems written in the first person by women? I don't know. The rule I follow is that if I feel comfortable about reading it, then I read it. I don't read some female poets, such as Anne Sexton or Sylvia Plath. I don't think women would take kindly to being told they couldn't read poems written by men.
I'm sorry I said "capricious" when I should have said "capacious"
To understand the poem you have to realise that Myra Schneider had breast cancer and survived it. This inspired her to write poems and books about her experience.
This poem is from Circling The Core (Enitharmon Press 2008)
Myra Schneider's books can be purchased at Amazon:
Coincidentally the word "Amazon" was thought to come from the Greek "a-mazos", meaning "lacking a breast"
supposedly because they were warrior women who amputated a breast so they could draw a bow.
Actually it is more probably a Persian word meaning women who fight like men or with men.
Myra's website is here:
And there's a candid interview here:
When asked his favourite present-participle, Inspector Philip Morse says "'unbuttoning"
(Inspector Morse is a fictional character in books and a TV series created by Colin Dexter)
The first picture is "Red Dress Sexy Lady at Bar ", an original oil painting for sale on eBay.
I couldn't find a picture of a young Myra, so I'm guessing she might have looked like the last picture, "Lady in Red Dress" painted by William Logsdail in 1959
My first reaction is: I want it,
cant wait to squeeze into
a scarlet sheath that promises
breasts round as russet apples,
a waist pinched to a pencil,
hips that know the whole dictionary
of swaying, cant wait
to saunter down an August street
with every eye upon me.
But the moment Im zipped in
I cant breathe and the fabric
hugging my stomach without mercy
pronounces me a frump.
Besides, in the internet café,
where you can phone Tangiers
or Thailand for almost nothing
fourteen pairs of eyes
are absorbed by screens.
No one whistles when I smile
at boxes of tired mangoes
and seedy broccoli heads
outside the Greek superstore.
By now Im in a fever to undo
the garment and pull it off.
And for all its flaws, for all
that it only boasts one breast,
Im overjoyed to re-possess
my body. I remember I hate
holding in and shutting away.
What I want is a dress easy
as a plump plum oozing
juice, as a warm afternoon
in late October creeping
its ambers and cinnamons into
leaves, a dress that reassures
theres no need to pretend,
a dress thats as capacious
as generosity, a dress that willingly
unbuttons and whispers in the ear:
be alive every minute of your life.