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***  Pauline's poem "Missing" is one of those commended
in the National Poetry Competition, 2007  ***


published in Watermark,  Flaxbook 2 (LitFest);

and Bloodline, Blinking Eye Publishers,
2007,  ISBN -0-9549036-8-8


Flaying Knife


Worn thin against the grindstone;

between times, slicked along a steel

to keep its edge;  sharp-pointed

to slit a throat for bleeding,

incise round a hoof, open up

a seam down the inner thigh

of a draught-horse or a cow.


My uncle’s fingers, flying against time,

could make mistakes—ruin the silk

of a racehorse hide; his father

sliced his wage to match the cost.

Neither let a girl-child learn the skill.

It’s still an unfulfilled desire

to strip a carcass of its perfect skin.


Now, post mortem, that knife’s mine

but lacks its proper purpose.  It rests

in my kitchen block with carvers,

saw-edged bread and salad cutters.

You’d know it by its narrow blade

and the old string round its handle,

brown and greasy with cold sweat.


Pauline Keith


last update:

Pauline Keith photo
photo by
Jonathan Bean
(at LitFest)

e-mail Pauline

poetry favourites:
The North
The Rialto
Shadow Train

and in the shop ...
pamphlet -
"White Horse";

joint publication, prose & poems -
"The Big Picture", LitFest


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