Books: The Friday Poem – Six Typewriters, by Fleur Adcock


Six typewriters


To begin with, my father’s reconditioned

German keyboard picked up during the war,

with a spiky Gothic ‘o’.

Then, I suppose,

when I was married, the use of Alistair’s:

details forgotten or repressed.


In Dunedin I answered a small ad

and paid £10 for a museum piece

black and upright as a Model T Ford.


Next, a surprise: Barry Crump’s portable

Empire Corona, an honourable

parting substitute for alimony.


It’s rusting at the back of a cupboard

in case it should become collectable –

after all, he had his face on a stamp.


Then my Adler Gabriele: brand-new,

the machine ‘für moderne Menschen’ –

handsome and much cherished, until


the last one, a gift from my mother:

electronic with adjustable spacing

and a self-correct facility;


so efficient that for years I spurned

computers. Of them I shall say nothing.




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