Poems to share

Field postcard: rondeau-style text

Nothing is to be written on this side
except the date and signature of the sender.
Sentences not required may be erased.
If anything else is added the postcard will be destroyed.

So carry marigolds, show sorrow: hide
July war in flowers at home; their code is tender.
Nothing is to be written on this side
except the date and signature of the sender.

April he fell in flames; lilies of the valley implied
humility, poppies oblivion; tender
your papers – no letter lately wounded, no parcel well erased,
apple blossom admitted, rose follows, iris destroyed.

Nothing is to be written on this side
except the date and signature of the sender.
Sentences not required may be erased.
If anything else is added the postcard will be destroyed.

 

 

‘Field postcard: rondeau-style text’ is reproduced by kind permission of the author.

Vahni tells us this poem draws on a WWI ‘field postcard, which gave multiple-choice options to be crossed out by the sender, who would then sign and date it, but add nothing else.’ See an example of the Field Postcard at the IWM.

Vahni Capildeo

Vahni Capildeo was born and educated in Trinidad and holds a DPhil in Old Norse from Christ Church, Oxford. Landscape, language and memory inform her poetry and prose, notably those of Caribbean, Indian diaspora, Icelandic, Scottish and Northern cultures. As Judith E. Wilson Poetry Fellow 2014 at the University of Cambridge, she developed approaches to poetry through collaborative and immersive events. The Harper-Wood Studentship (2015) at St John’s College, Cambridge, will see her exploring similar collaborations abroad. Capildeo's most recent poetry collection, 'Measures of Expatriation', is shortlisted for the 2016 Forward Prize for Best Collection.