The ‘I’ or the ‘she’

24 May 2011

I have twelve Bluebeard poems altogether now.  It’s a partly autobiographical, partly fictionalised account of a woman living in Bluebeard’s house.  She doesn’t suffer the fate of all of the other women who’ve lived there – her death is slower and bloodless.  I am thinking of it in terms of a novel (I think I am, I’ve never written a novel) in that there are various strands of the whole I am playing about with, wondering how I am going to bring them together.  There is a child in the house somewhere, the woman knows it.  She thinks it is her child, but I am not so sure myself.  She spends a lot of time looking for it.

The first poem I wrote of these is called ‘Waiting for Bluebeard’, and this is in the first person.  All of the others are in the third person, yet I have been toying with the idea of having the ‘I’ morph into a ‘she’ as the woman loses touch with herself.  I thought it might have possibly happened during poem I posted on here a few days ago –  ‘At the Dress Shop’.  I have played with the idea of this poem in the first person.


At the Dress Shop

At the dress shop, the assistants bustle
as Bluebeard watches from an ornate chair.

He has phoned ahead and they come at me
with his choices, all prim on wire hangers.

I parade for him and so do all the women
in the mirrors. Every one looks older than me.

I imagine being animated by Muybridge,
the drabbest dress painted onto my body;

Bluebeard at the handle of the zoopraxiscope,
me spinning too fast for myself.


I don’t know whether to spell out in the poem which will follow this, that the ‘I’ is losing her ‘me-ness’, or whether to move seamlessly into the third person.  Whether this spelling out might be too gimmicky….Hmmm…anyway, I’ve inserted an image here to illustrate a bit how I feel….