Ruth Padel Exclusive Poem For National Poetry Day: 'Care Of The Voice'

Ruth Padel Exclusive Poem For National Poetry Day: 'Care Of The Voice'

Care Of The Voice by Ruth Padel

I’m working on Care of the Voice in the kitchen

when you come in from packing. 'An observer

in armed conflict – there’s danger, yes, that’s true –

but it’s managed.' You’re off to Colombia

to witness for the raped, disappeared, displaced:

widows and farmers working ancestral upland

in the face of paramilitaries and drug barons

who want to sell valleys and mountains

to coca factories and multinational investors

in palm oil and plantain. I think of holding my breath

when you played Sarasati’s Carmen Fantasie

in an end-of-term concert, and hitch-hiked to Morocco

your first year in college. Of when you dad and I –

and the old dog, almost your sister – brought home

a puppy, soft silvery Velvet, and you lay down with her

laughing on the sofa. When we tracked a perfectly circular

iridescent beetle over pebbles on a Cretan shore

through twigs of wind-snapped mimosa.

Published on HuffPost for National Poetry Day 2012, this is a new poem by British poet and writer Ruth Padel.

"Care Of The Voice is a mother's poem, though not about my own experience," Padel tells us.

"On National Poetry Day, I'll read from The Mara Crossing, my new book on migration, in Crete - where I used to live.

"Migration is a crisis issue in Greece. 80% of illegal immigrants to Europe come through Greece. I speak Greek and am here to research my second novel."

To read more poems by Ruth Padel, visit


What's Hot