Philippa Lawrence

Worked in TV, theatre and stately homes. Losing voice recited poetry as therapy, started writing it again; founded a poetry group, school prize; was SWWJ and Betjeman Society Poetry Rep.; gives readings and has poems in anthologies, magazines and newspapers. Pamphlet collection (see below).

Screen Test

I strip to the waist
in the breast scanning caravan’s cubicle:
an aging Page Three Girl shape,
my bosom milky pink,
blue veined and crêpey
with soft, pale nipples.

The kind, brisk radiologist instructs me
to contort myself in Picasso posture,
elbows raised asymmetrically.
I rest the right half of my 38DD
on the glass X-ray table under spotlights,
try to scoop my left boob out of shot,
hand overflowing.

The angle-poised plate firmly squishes
my right breast down
like a ripe peach –
a Damien Hirst sort of sandwich
which might vie for the Turner Prize.

A leaflet stresses the importance
of buying a bra which fits you.
Chance would be a fine thing!
No such model exists for me
even at Rigby and Peller of Knightsbridge,
the Queen’s corsetières.

My back aches and bends
after decades of bad engineering.
As a teenager and young woman
I was perplexed at men smirking appreciatively
when I said I lived in Bristol.

If only Isambard Kingdom Brunel
could have applied his genius
to designing a suspension bridge
for my bristols,
as Howard Hughes did for Jane Russell,
though she outlawed it.

Philippa Lawrence

Poem published:
Winner of the Wiltshire Libraries’ Humorous Poem Competition 2001;
in anthology, Images of Women, Arrowhead Press in Association with Second Light 2006: 1SBN 1-904852-14-93;
read on Salisbury’s Spire FM Radio during interview.

From Memory’s Wardrobe, 48pp pamphlet, 2009, Buff Press. Available direct from Philippa (download order form) or Buy On-line at poetry p f

web-pages on poetry p f

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