Tag Archives: Anna Jacobson – Typing Nana’s Story

Spotlight on QLD Poets #3: Anna Jacobson

It is very exciting to be bringing you the sounds of some of QLD’s exciting new voices. This state seems to be splitting its seams with words! Tonight it is a great pleasure to introduce you to the gentle, intimate words of Anna Jacobson… another name you are sure to be hearing more from.

Anna Jacobson is a Brisbane based poet and photographic artist. She graduated from the Queensland College of Art with a Bachelor of Photography with Honours. She loves creating soundscapes with poetry and video art and in 2009 she won the Queensland Poetry Festival Filmmaker Award. She is currently studying Creative Writing at QUT. She is grateful to her poetry mentors Graham Nunn and Pascalle Burton for their inspiring workshops at the Queensland Writers Centre. Anna’s artist website is www.annajacobson.com.au



I would have liked
your picture,
the one that was lost,
framed in my room
so that I could gaze upon it each

Your laugh always helped
before my nerves got the better
of me and
you smiled when I told you this.

For you the war was
trapped in a radio
when you evacuated.

For me it’s trapped in my head.

Nana, you travelled-
I looked at your photographs,
imagined myself inside them,
mimicking your path.

The grandfather clock has stopped
but the wood still sighs-
the pendulum sways in a non-existent
breeze. And I breathe with it.


Typing Nana’s Story

Perfect skin and the scent of
something I can’t quite name.
We are both seated near the computer.
I am watching her type and there’s none of this two-finger business.
Every finger is typing in the correct position,
with slow but perfect precision.
Except for her pointer and ring fingers,
which have seized up.
I can see her trying to push past the MS,
to expel it from her being. And although it has her fast,
it may hold captive her body, but it doesn’t own her mind.
‘How do you know to type like that?’ I ask.
‘I used to be a typist.’

Next time I visit,
her hands are clawed and don’t press well,
so I offer to type for her. ‘Do you know what you’d like to write?’
‘How does this sound?’ she says
and she rattles off these brilliant paragraphs,
these intimate details.
‘That’s great,’ I say,
trying to capture it all,
fingers skate over the keys to keep the magic of her words.
I don’t want to tell her to stop,
so I push myself to catch each phrase, each story.

Her musical dictation plunges me into the scene.
At school her friends called her the Polish princess.
Now she is a regal queen, and I her loyal subject.
Her memory is wired and sparking.
The keyboard is electric with her tale —

Last week it was escaping the Pogroms in Poland.
This week is the final paragraph.
She writes the ‘Shema’, a parting prayer.
‘The Rabbi will like that,’ I say
and I know she wants to impress him.

And there’s this feeling of completion.
She has left her legacy, for generations to come.
I hug her awkwardly through the arms of the wheelchair,
sinking into her soft skin,
breathing in that nana scent.
And she is forever an artist,
forever my queen,
forever a Polish princess.


Filed under poetry & publishing