Ice Breaker

CN: Lobotomy

 

Janet Frame was a New Zealand author and poet. In 1951, after years of psychiatric hospitalisation, her début publication of short stories was unexpectedly awarded a national literary prize. Her planned lobotomisation, due to take place only a few days later, was subsequently cancelled.

Her poem ‘The Icicles’ was published posthumously in 2006.


 

The icicles never did give way,

did they?

The clock struck ten

And the men

In white coats

Consulted their notes

 

And the scalpel

froze

 

Suspended

 

by sentences.

 

Sharp and crystalline

Clear

You cut through

The air

And they all looked

Up at the eaves

Where they’d never looked

Before and realised

 

that the freezing

rivulet serpentine

slither under their

ice white shirt-collar

was not melt-water

but guilt.

 

We have enough money

To cryogenically preserve

Genius, you see.

 

God Forbid you be

Fragile without also being

glassy and bright

in the light of the

New Zealand sun.

 

We liquidate sick women,

but we know how

Important it is

to accumulate

assets like icicles.

 

By Imogen Shaw

 


Header Image by Anna Osbat

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