image of Helen Barff's artwork of a dress she wore to her father's funeral, drawn in graphite dust

‘The Dress’ by Peter O’Grady

 
The Dress
after The Dress I Wore to my Dad’s Funeral (drawn with fingers in graphite dust) 2017, a drawing by Helen Barff

The dress she wore to her father’s funeral
hangs on a hook in the shadows,
a cowled priest shuffling in cloisters,
solitary, bent head contemplating feet,
mumbling, mumbling.

The dress she wore to her father’s funeral
hangs empty in the shadows,
a pair of gloved hands held stone still,
fingers upwards, clamped in prayer, a salute
to induce a blessing.

The dress she wore to her father’s funeral
hangs alone in deep shadows,
and the plain, sturdy hook holds it,
stops it from falling the way it would –
in a heap on the floor.
 

Helen Barff’s The Dress I wore to My Dad’s Funeral (drawn with fingers in graphite dust), 2017, graphite dust and blackboard paint on paper, 142 x 68 cm.

 

Peter O’Grady has been writing poems for about 10 years and enjoys reading his work at open mic events. His poem ‘The Dress’ (after Helen Barff) was written after an exhibition of the 2017 Jerwood Drawing Prize at Drawing Projects UK, Trowbridge. In 2020, Peter became co-host with Dawn Gorman of a monthly poetry programme, The Poetry Place on West Wilts Radio.

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