Rachael’s parents arrived in the UK, from Ukrainian Russia, as toddlers, together with their parents in 1912 & 1914. Heritage and sense of being other, are the threads that run through her new poetry pamphlet, Girl Golem. She draws on family, childhood and loss, as well as a visit to her ancestral homeland. Her perspective is quirky and peppered with humour. Girl Golem is published by 4Word Press http://www.4word.org/titles/ £7 inc P&P.
‘These thought provoking and deftly crafted poems are a playful and powerful examination of identity, sexuality, heritage and family dynamics’.
‘In these evocative, spirited poems, Clyne implicitly argues for faith in our own humanity and for the richness of difference.’
‘Rachael’s poetry, accumulates a series of tensions within her Sixties free-spirited identity and Jewish heritage.’
The night they blew life into me, I clung
bat-like to the womb-wall. A girl golem,
a late bonus, before its final egg dropped.
I divided, multiplied, my hand-buds bloomed,
tail vanished up its own coccyx, the lub-dub
of my existence bigger than my nascent head.
I was made as a keep-watch,
in case new nasties tried to take us away.
The family called me chutchkele, their little cnadle,
said I helped to make up for lost numbers –
as if I could compensate for millions.
With my x-ray eyes, I saw I was trapped
in a home for the deaf and blind, watched them
blunder into each other’s craziness. My task,
to hold up their world, be their assimilation ticket,
find a nice boy and mazel tov – grandchildren!
But I was a hotchpotch golem, a schmutter garment
that would never fit, trying to find answers
without a handbook. When I turned eighteen,
I walked away, went in search of my own kind,
tore their god from my mouth.
Three Piece Suite
Mother, the rickety chair, teeters,
needs a wedge to steady her.
A chair from the Old Country,
carried on backs, luggage racks, smuggled
across borders. Father, a wooden ironing board,
hides in the under-stairs cupboard; lost
in the hiss of his steam-iron, whistle
of hearing aids and bash of his klomper.
Grandma, the pouffe, leathery, round; smells
of olives, lemon tea and shit
on shaky fingers – keeps teeth in her
dressing gown pocket. Between chair,
ironing board and pouffe,
I, their horseshoe magnet,
bristle with pins.