This newsletter ends with a poem by Kerry-Lee Powell. “The Lifeboat” speaks to a traumatic memory of war that haunted her father, a WWII veteran, who eventually committed suicide. In a soon to be published book of poetry, entitled Inheritance, she examines psychological trauma and the lasting effects of war and violence on those who suffer them directly and on those to whom they are passed on.
All night in his lifeboat my father sang
to keep the voices of the other men
who cried in the wreckage from reaching him,
he sang what he knew of the requiem,
of the hit parade and the bits of hymns,
he sang until he would never sing again,
scalding his raw throat with sea-water
until his ribs heaved, until the salt
wept from his eyes on dry land,
flecked at his lips in his squalling rages,
streaked the sheets in his night sweats
as night after night the re-assembled ship
scattered its parts on the shore of his bed,
and the lifeboat eased him out again
to drown each night among singing men.
Kerry-Lee Powell was born in Montreal and grew up in Antigua, Australia and the United Kingdom. Her work has appeared in The Spectator, Ambit and the Virago Press Writing Women series. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a National Magazine Award. In 2013, she won The Boston Review fiction contest and The Malahat Review’s Far Horizons prize for short fiction. Her debut collection of poetry is forthcoming from Biblioasis Press in 2014.