Stanzas: Melanie White

"He wouldn’t love her as a pussycat"

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

I’m from England originally, I’ve been here for about 20 years. I live in Clare. I’m kind of an all-round creative person. Writing seems to be the thing I’m most passionate about at the moment. I’m also involved in in plays and theatre; I paint. I make costumes for theatre and historical costumes for re-enactment.  

You’re relationship with Limerick?

I have an artistic relationship with Limerick as I come in for various events; poetry would be a big part of it. I’m involved in theatre, plays and things like that so I’m often in town for rehearsals and performances.

What is your inspiration behind your quote and your poem?

That’s the punchline of the poem. That poem is The Tigress. The whole story of the poem is that it is a metaphorical tiger. There’s this man who is obsessed with the tiger in the wilderness and he goes out and catches the tiger, tames it, puts it in a cage and then by the time it becomes tame he doesn’t love it anymore and it’s a metaphor for a man doing the same thing to a woman. He meets a woman who is wild and free and by the time he is finished with her he takes that all away.

What’s the weirdest thing you ever ate?

I remember seeing fried cockroaches and deciding not to try them. I remember being at a stopover in the airport, in Turkey and I was trying things and I didn’t know what they were because the menu was in Turkish.

Who is your favourite person?

I would like to say one of my children, but I can’t choose one over the other.

Your favourite place?


Why India?

There’s something about the completely different culture I find really exciting. Being away from the capitalist mentality you have here. People in India have a different way of looking at the world and different mind-sets and it’s refreshing. Despite all the poverty there the people have a light in their eyes and it is something we seem to be missing here.

What would be your biggest fear?

War. War on my doorstep.

I was hoping for spiders or something like that.

I kind of like spiders, they are kind of cool. If you look at them, dangling from a thread spinning a web, I think they are amazing. Can you imagine trying to knit while being upside down on a trapeze and they can do that naturally? They are really graceful.

Hopes and dreams for the future?

At the moment I’m quite focused on writing. I seem to go with what I feel most passionate about at the moment and writing seems to be the biggest pull. I guess to keep doing that. I would like to get some work published. I’m working on a novel so I would like to get that work published. To also bring out a book of poetry at some point.

Which do you prefer poetry or prose?

They are really different, I don’t think I could choose one or the other. There is something about getting in to that whole world of the novel exploring characters and the world whereas poetry can be really concise and something really small. I do a lot of spoken word poetry, performance; I have a background in acting. I really enjoy performing poetry. I learn all my poems off. I realised recently that I say yes to everything I’ve been asked to do creatively and it’s brought me in these really weird directions that I never thought I would do. I just made 26 medieval costumes for a production of King Lear, I never thought I would be doing this!


The Tigress

The power and poise in her stride;
the confident toss of her head;
the hunger that simmered inside.
He longed to approach
but she could tear him to shreds.

He stalked the prowling tigress
addicted to her rage.
She directed his dreams,
he couldn’t rest or digress
till he’d put her in a cage.

He clipped her claws,
he filed her teeth,
extracted the venom from the snake.
To prove his superiority
her spirit had to break.

Intoxicated by his need to possess,
he didn’t realise that
once he’d collared the tigress
and muted her wildness
he wouldn’t love her as a pussycat.

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