Silver of Soap

Wendy Blaxland

Silver of soap

In the soap dish of our shower
             lies a plump bar of fresh soap
                          and a thin mauve soap sliver.

This is all that’s left
             of a chance-bought souvenir:
                          a cicada-shaped soap.
French, perfumed by lavender,
             emblem of the sultry
                          countryside of Provence.

My childhood summers played out
             to a raucous Australian orchestra
                          of millions of cicadas
                                     shrilling for love through the trees.

My summer nights were threaded
             by the birth of cicada nymphs,
                          gathered by my father
                                     and brought carefully inside.
We witnessed these slow brown creatures
             push out of their dirt-encrusted shells
                          and transform into
                                     shining creatures of the air.
Their glistening wings unfolded
             like those of miniature dragons.
In the morning we let them fly
             to take their chance at life and love.

The plump bar of soap each morning
             tempts with the promise of easy lather.
But I prefer a meagre coat of bubbles
             from this thinning sliver of soap,
                          perfumed by the fading scent of lavender
and the memories of
             childhood and travel intertwined.

Wendy Blaxland

Wendy Blaxland has published poetry in Australia, England, the United States and Norway in journals such as Meniscus, Griffel and Canary. She has also published over 110 books, mainly for children, both fiction and non-fiction, with publishers including Cambridge University Press, Penguin and Walker Books. Wendy is a playwright with over 25 plays produced. She founded a family theatre company with her daughter to produce some of her historical plays. Wendy lives surrounded by bush near Sydney. Much of her poetry is inspired by the environment in which she lives. But she is a citizen of the world and is passionate about how poetry can vibrate the heartstrings of its people. Find out more at or on Facebook at Wendy Blaxland writer.

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