Anne M Carson – George Sand

Anne M Carson LEP&W V3 Dec 2022

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Three December 2022.

George Sand, poems by Anne M Carson.

George Sand describes
Grandmama’s boudoir

1820, Nohant

Persian floral wall paper, grand, Louis XVth
bed, styled as a chariot, fit to carry a queen

on her nightly sojourn. Four-posted with
bouquets of plumes in the corners.

It is upholstered, double curtained, hung
with scalloped fabric, softened with bolsters

and pillows. Her nightly ritual is solemn,
ceremonial, conducted over two hours and

requiring two chambermaids. She is dressed
in champagne-hued quilted satin camisoles

and lace bonnets. She is adorned in ecru
ribbon rosettes, daubed with lily of the valley

perfumes and lavender eau-de-toilettes behind
the ear, on the inner wrist. The special night-

time rings are slipped gently onto her fingers,
the snuff box dedicated to overnight use is

slipped in beside her. The hands that tucked
and tied are soft, the voices murmur and

whisper – nothing harsh or disturbing. When
she is bedecked and beribboned to her fastidious

satisfaction, the serving women plump her
pile of pillows so she can sleep sitting up,

in state, taking her queenly repose. They take
leave on delicate feet, careful not to disturb.

Lying under Chopin’s piano,
George Sand remembers grandmama

Paris, 1840s

His fingers are not stiff and knuckley like hers
were. His notes do not cost him like hers did.
Brilliante is no longer animal warmth at my

back. But lying under the instrument while
Chopin plays, brings her into the salon – her
quavery voice, the golden warmth of her notes.

I had the best of her then … must drag myself
back from ghosts to hear the beauty that my
darling pours over me. He may be crotchety,

he may moan his way through life, but he can
play, he can play like a god. Today it’s his
Preludes, liquid salve for anguished souls.

George Sand talks about
Chopin riding Donkey

Nohant France, 1840s

Perched on Donkey’s back,
pampered with plumped
cushions for his delicate

derrière and rugs for his bony
shoulders and knees. His hair
is curled just so, his white

gloves are pristine as ever.
I have to jovial Chop Chop
outdoors, shoo him away

from the piano and his endless
revising of pieces which found
their form days ago. He needs

sun to rouge his cheeks, fresh
air to blow mean spirits
out of him. Donkey clip clops

along, sedate, serious, happy to
be part of the family. Maurice
and Sol run circles around them

as exuberant after rainy days as
corks expelled from bottles.
Eugène and I stride out, talking

paints, canvasses and whether
Maurice has enough skill and
verve to make art his profession.

© Anne M Carson

Anne M Carson is a poet, essayist and visual artist whose poetry has been published internationally, and widely in Australia, receiving numerous awards including winning and shortlisting in the Martha Richardson medal, and a shortlisting in the 2022 Newcastle Poetry Prize.

Her work has been broadcast on national and community radio and she has curated a programme of poems on disability on ABC’s Poetica programme. Recent publications include Massaging Himmler: A Poetic Biography of Dr Felix Kersten (Hybrid), and Two Green Parrots (Ginnindera Press). The Detectives Chair is forthcoming from Liquid Amber Press in 2023. One of her poems has been set to choral music, and she has collaborated with a classical pianist in a number of poetry/piano story tellings.

She has initiated a number of poetry-led social justice projects, including The River Project Soiree as a fundraiser for the RiverKeepers and a greeting card as fundraiser for the Carbon Positive Charity. She is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at RMIT, writing a poetic biography of George Sand.

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