Imogen Forster – “Death of a Scholar”

Death of a Scholar
i.m.  Aldyth Cadoux

She inhabits the high spaces
of this house like a fragrance,
like weather, a learned script.
Rooms she rarely enters are still hers,
full of her clothes, her toys,
her papers, as she withdraws
to the dimensions of her bed.

A life’s told here in objects:
rugs, paintings, a china doll.
Beside the hearth, her brass samovar,
ten small cups set out for visitors.
Her bookshelves are fattened with letters,
newspaper cuttings, reviews, invitations,
as if she could slip between the sheets
of fine paper and return renewed.

Sometimes she asks us to move her
among her possessions, her avatars.
She picks up a photograph: Egypt,
the deck of a felucca, the crew
posing behind her in the bright light.
A model boat stands here on the shelf,
its linen sail dusty, painted sides peeling.

She grows lighter, lifted on echoes,
thermals of sound, their frequencies
unheard by us, her last companions.
Sometimes she turns away,
her breastbone rising and falling
under the thin cotton, her breath
rising and falling. She’s tenacious,
unhurried about setting out
on this late expedition.

Imogen Forster lives in Edinburgh. In 2017 she completed the MA in Writing Poetry at Newcastle University. In the same year she was shortlisted in Nine Arches Press Primers, 3 and ‘mentioned’ in the Poetry Business Book and Pamphlet Competition. She is widely published in magazines and her pamphlet, The Grass Boat, was published last year by Mariscat Press, Edinburgh. She tweets as @ForsterImogen.

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