Anne M Carson
Mama and Grandmama both learn that I am much better behaved, have much better health when I am permitted my outdoors freedom. I ride Collette until I run the terror out of me, wind whipping tears from my eyes, grassy odours coursing, or I ramble along the riverbank collecting beauties to add to my treasure trove – pebbles, iridescent insect wings, rainbow- hued leaves. They are my talismans. When I exercise, when I spend time out of doors playing with my village friends, I exorcise my demons – fear that Mamam doesn’t love me, fear that I will have to choose between her and grandmama, fear that loving one will hurt the other. When I gallop as fast as my little pony’s legs will carry us, or allow her to steer our course, meandering through dappled light, stopping to nibble, moving on at her own sweet pace then, all corrosive thoughts are cauterised and my mind settles into calm. They give me liberties not normally given girls of my station. How they could have benefited – both are plagued by troubling symptoms – Mama’s migraines, Grandmama’s general physical feebleness. Even their power struggle over me could have softened with wholesome, build-up-a-sweat exercise. Oh, but it’s not lady-like.
Note: Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin was George Sand’s name before she adopted her nom de plume
Anne M Carson is a poet, essayist and visual artist whose poetry has been published internationally, and widely in Australia, receiving various awards including a shortlisting in the 2021 Bruce Dawe Poetry Prize. Recent publications include Massaging Himmler: A Poetic Biography of Dr Felix Kersten (Hybrid, 2019), and Two Green Parrots (Ginnindera Press, 2019). She has initiated a number of poetry-led social justice projects, and as a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at RMIT, is writing a poetic biography of George Sand. This work has been gratefully supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship.