Poems by Valerie Laws
Valerie Laws is a graduate of both English and Maths/Theoretical Physics, and has an MA in Creative Writing from University of Northumbria. She is a prize-winning poet often published in magazines and anthologies, with a joint collection (with Kitty Fitzgerald), For Crying Out Loud (Iron Press, 1994), and has performed and broadcast widely in the UK. Valerie Laws compiled and edited the anthology Star Trek - the Poems (Iron Press) and was reviews editor and reviewer for Iron. Her first stage play, Collingwood and the Tars of the Tyne was performed at Tynemouth Castle in July 2002, and she's been commissioned to write a play for Cloud 9 theatre group about the life of Tom Hadaway for a planned festival, and a murder play for Stage Focus. Her first crime novel, Crown of Nails, is with an agent. She has written a radio comedy play which was described as too rude for Radio 4, and she's a best-selling co-author of modern language books for schools. A walking disability after a car accident put an end to her teaching career, but she travels, acts, and swims a great deal. She has two children and lives on her native north east coast but has also lived in a Norman castle, on the Pembrokeshire coast and in Snowdonia. Moonbathing is her first full volume of poetry.
Ann More: Mrs John Donne
I thought myself a lucky woman then -
to capture such a poet, such a lover,
so skilful with his hands, his tongue, his pen…
I, his America, he, eager to discover.
A secret marriage; his imprisonment,
his risked career, and all for love of me!
I little knew my long confinement
would end too soon - released at thirty-three.
But babies came, twelve times I waxed and waned.
While he would beg the unruly sun stand still,
I prayed in secret to the moon, complained
of headache, backache, feeling tired and ill.
In one black year, a son and daughter died;
the child inside me kicked me as I cried.
Oh, I did love him, but the easy pleasure
two lovers in one bed, one mind, enjoy
popped like that saucy flea; instead, I'd measure
the long, slow, swollen months to girl or boy.
And he did love me, always, bride and mother,
despite the distorted shape his love had filled.
Only his God could take my place, no other,
when I and my last child his love had killed.
I know mine is a woman's common story;
but would have liked to share the acclaim he won,
lived longer, seen my children's growth, his glory -
a lucky woman, though my life was Donne.
But he gave to poems, I to babies, breath:
his labour brought him fame, mine brought me death.
Price £7.95 per copy post free (£5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: Rosie Scott
Publication: SPRING 2003 (64 pages laminated paperback)