A SECOND SKIN
Poems by Patricia McCarthy
Patricia McCarthy is half English and half Irish. She was born in Cornwall, brought up in different parts of England and County Dublin in Ireland before going to Trinity College, Dublin 1962-66. After a nomadic life, living in Washington D.C., Paris, Bangladesh and Nepal, she settled in England, in rural Sussex. A Second Skin is Patricia McCarthy’s first full collection of poems.
Name, address. Excuse the fantasy.
Photo of the woman I was at twenty.
Marital status: no second finds me the same.
Virgin, mistress, single and married -
Must I conform to a particular brand?
Education: boarder in fairyland,
life my crammer in pain. Courses attended:
romanticism, pantheism, mysticism
I’m ineffectively trying to expel
from my system. No certificates appended.
Studying ignorance of knowledge: to matriculate
at death that fails all results.
Experience: addicted dreamer, dolt,
passionate indecision-maker: inmate
of my own body’s prison. Job required:
thumb twiddler. Remarks: blank -
responsibility not wanted nor rank.
Disabilities? Paralysed, tired.
Work-shirking my hobby, being fired,
holding not playing Orpheus’ lyre.
Hated previous job’s unsatisfactory
nine to five and five to nine routine;
being owned by its industry.
How long there? A lifetime. Where?
In my head. Salary required: hours, air,
sun, quick pints of life. References:
any roadsweeper, Emily Brontė.
A SECOND SKIN
Price £7.95 per copy post free (£5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: photograph of the sculpture ‘Lazarus’ by Jacob Epstein. Courtesy of the Warden and fellows of New College Oxford. © New College, Oxford.
Publication: 1985 (70 pages laminated paperback)