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Posts Tagged ‘Louisa Howerow’

Mourning Dove

May 28, 2013 5 comments

by Louisa Howerow

The curve of her small head belies
the waddle of a body she settles
under the spent lilac. Black eyes

ringed blue take in the corner
garden where I sit with your letter
on my lap. She paces, pauses,

intermittently lifts her tail to reveal
a shock of white. I click my pen
and she erupts — a whistling ascent,

tail pointing, stretching. If I were
a hunter, I’d have taken her by now.
She’s so easy on the ground.


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Louisa Howerow’s latest poems appeared in the journal Rhino, an anthology, War of 1812 Poetry & Prose: An Unfinished War (Black Moss Press, 2012) and as a small collection Voices, Choices (Phafours, 2012).

To Save the Body and the Soul From Death, Damnation

August 26, 2011 3 comments

by Louisa Howerow

justification for force feeding suffragettes, Holloway Gaol

I can’t lean far enough away
to escape the wardens,
their eager footsteps,
outstretched hands.
These women press me
to the bed, bruise down
my flailing limbs and head.
I clench my eyes against
the doctor who steals in,
against his fingers pulling
at my lips, the metal rod
he forces through
to find the childhood gaps
between my teeth. A twist
cuts gums, cleaves mouth,
ensures a tube’s relentless
push toward my breast.

Nothing here is of me:
not the medicinal gruel,
not the vomit, not the sobbing…


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Louisa Howerow’s most recent poetry appeared in FreeFall, The Nashwaak Review and Room. This poem is part of a manuscript that gives voice to the rank and file members of the British suffragette movement. Two of the poems in this collection appeared in The New Quarterly, guest edited by Diane Schoemperlen. Another poem in a slightly altered version was published in Room.

Categories: Imprisonment Tags:

Admission Process

June 16, 2011 7 comments

by Louisa Howerow

suffragette prisoners, 3rd division, Holloway Gaol, 1912

What can I do, but undress
with the others? Naked I wait
for a chemise. The officer

bundles my clothes, thrusts them
on a shelf. I, who was so quick
to speak, stand barefoot,

arms raised, while she prods,
picks through my hair. Do I
keep my hand from slapping?

 

The doctor who pretends to examine me
slides his stethoscope across my chemise.
The ear pieces dangle between us.

“Are you all right?”
He speaks to my chest.
What is all right? My heartbeats, breaths

miraculously haven’t reached him. He doesn’t ask
to check my tongue, my throat.
The wardress pushes me on and I miss answering.

A dozen more women wait in the queue.
The first one he looks at will change him to stone.

 

My cell walls are greased with dankness.
Stench lies in my bed. Above me,
a pane of rippled glass, snatched light.

Because I can read, do sums, sign my name,
I’m granted a bible, a hymnal, a tract
wherein a Mrs. Stacpoole dispenses advice:

take daily baths
sleep with windows open
avoid bad smells


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Louisa Howerow’s most recent poetry appeared in FreeFall, The Nashwaak Review and Room. This poem is part of a manuscript that gives voice to the rank and file members of the British suffragette movement. Two of the poems in this collection appeared in The New Quarterly, guest edited by Diane Schoemperlen. Another poem in a slightly altered version was published in Room.

Categories: Imprisonment Tags: