The sculptor has caught Courtney in the act of running away,
her uniform already half removed, the blue of the blazer (optional)
offsetting the pallor of her skin. She lasted just one term
yet is the most famous Old Girl of them all.
No telling what she’s running from: maths, tyranny,
the restraints – petty? essential? – that fence her round.
It’s all in her past, or in her genes. Hardly the College’s fault
that they caught her in the middle of a very difficult year.
As for what she’s running to: the hardest of all fates,
doomed to be more famous for whom she loved
than what she’s done. Kurt is still better known
than Hole, than Celebrity Skin, than the sound of her guitar.
Courtney is caught in the act as she makes a break for town.
One foot is raised, one shoe slipping off.
One hand grasps at nothing, or punches the air.
In the shadow of her plinth, a small boy sells lemonade.
Credit note: This is a new, unpublished (and very possibly unfinished) poem.
Tim says: I wrote this poem in Nelson, inspired by walking past – you guessed it – the front entrance of Nelson College for Girls. Some parts of this poem are true: Courtney did attend Nelson College for Girls for one term, it was a less than ideal experience for all concerned, and a small boy did have a lemonade stand further along the street. The lemonade was very sweet, but also very welcome on a hot Nelson day.