I wrote this poem shortly after moving to Vietnam. The poem we were reading was ‘Queen Kong’ by Carol Ann Duffy: one of my favourites of Duffy’s from ‘The World’s Wife’. It’s a beautiful love story with some great images but, unfortunately, every child I’ve taught it to thinks it’s creepy and weird.
She just needs someone to unlock her
I watched her today reading a poem
as three of us lay on my bed with
full bellies and after dinner mint cigarettes,
basking in a perfect slice of right place at the right time.
And given licence to express herself –
and share something she knew was good –
she grinned like a light-bulb as she pronounced the word:
She ate it like a summer-ripe strawberry.
Her clean cut English accent,
which sometimes sounded clipped,
at that moment was spring water clean
and felt like dipping your face in a stream.
Her eyes were 30 degrees and blue sky
where often they were overcast grey
with threats of showers.
She looked gorgeous.
And I thought:
she just needs someone to unlock her.
For God’s sake don’t we all,
somewhere down the line?