My name is Leah. I live and write in Wellington, New Zealand. Welcome!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tuesday Poem: 'I Can Be Anyone'

Who shall I be for you,

Seventy-two virgins with loose curls,
eyes glowing,
spinning silk for you
and smiling
with benign anonymity.

The Medusa,
to turn you to stone,
heavy wings
and hissing, twisting
snakes in my hair.

A poet,
to write you love poems
full of the sweetest words,
lines you can pour into
chamomile tea before bed.

A noble
with jewelled fingers,
inviting you into a dovecote -
let them
feed from your hands.

Any of these I can be,
and more.
I am fluid
and transparent.
I am whatever you decide.

- Leah McMenamin

Please return to Tuesday Poem for some great Tuesday poetry!


  1. Lovely vivid detail here, Leah, the dovecote especially and the jewelled fingers and the exhortion to let the birds feed - which almost feels like a place where the poem could end. It's strong and interesting (a bit unsettling even?) and keeps the power (Medusa/virgin/poet) with her - the 'he' in the poem is passive to that point and now he's being told to step up... great stuff

    Lovely to see your second Tuesday Poem up!

  2. This is great! Melancholy and defiant. Beautiful!

  3. I enjoyed the crafting of the poem with its sequence of images, if not the concluding stanza that the poetic subject is willing to be wholly and completely defined by 'the other'--on the other hand, I suppose that "Who shall I be for you today?' gives the appearance of handing over power while in a subtle way retaining it. But then again, also implies that being oneself is not enough...but in whose eyes? Hmmm, food for thought...

  4. Hello Leah,
    was just thinking I should drop by and say hi when I got your dropped everything. great to see you here!
    Like Mary I love the detail of this poem,especially like this image...
    'lines you can pour into chamomile tea before bed.' Look forward to seeing more.

  5. Leah, this is wonderful.Such great detail and description. I particularly like the line 'lines you can pour chamomile tea before bed.'

  6. Leah, I, too, felt the strength and the warning (?) of these offered possibilities - this metamorphosis. I kept coming back to the beckoning noble with all the promises of rings - fabulous image :)

  7. Leah - I, too, like the tension between giving/holding identity/power in this poem. I found the benign anonymity of the virgins as unsettling as Medusa - I wonder if others felt this?

  8. Yes, I felt the virgins as unsettling as the Medusa. Interesting, I really like all the ways the narrator can transform, but I must admit I did not see the last line coming, the idea that the choice is 'yours' not 'mine' -- I find the voice very strong here and was somewhat surprised by the supplication implied by the last line. Which of course makes it mysterious and imbued with a sense of real longing too.