this city – journal entry

There are crevices of this place that I’ve yet to explore. Tumbled buildings and moss hide around the corners of the concrete and plastics. Apartment blocks rise up like giants looking down on the shadows of their past. Left to my own devices, this city could become anything to me. The horrors, the mysteries. The irony of finding myself to be less alone when there is nobody around me but old bricks, trees and history.

Sometimes it feels as though I am dreaming, like I see everything but nothing I do would change it. People and cars rush past. I wonder if they’d notice if I spoke, touched, reached out, jumped into the road as if nothing could hurt me. And yet I think these streets can feel me; they breathe with a life of their own. Every step I take makes me a part of them and their story. They will remember me long after I am gone, tiny particles of my DNA engrained within the cracks of the cobblestones. When night draws in its breath to sigh across the world, I wonder if any part of me remains within the memories of people with whom my path has crossed. Am I gone? Like the wind – the air, always there but rarely noticed. Am I traced upon people’s faces, written into their lives?

People are not like bricks and mortar. There are fragments of buildings in this city that have stood for years, and will stand for years more. But lives change. Memories die like summer blossoms. Feelings fade as fast as the writing on a wall when the rain comes. We must make our mark while we can, leave something behind so we are not nothing. Paper, words blowing in the wind, a photograph, a thought, like a message in a bottle from when we called this place home. And then we are not gone.

writing reflection – sestina to winter

I was recently set a uni assignment which involved constructing a strict form poem and writing a reflective essay about my progress in drafting my piece. This was really useful as it made me think more about the process of writing. I rarely rework what I write, and usually content myself with my first draft, but creating multiple drafts of my poem made me consider how my language and imagery could be developed to be made more effective. Below is the final draft of my poem, in the Sestina form:

 

Sestina to Winter

 

With death’s farewell leaves slumber on the ground,

hands held like friends of nature – loved and lost.

Like layered gravestones in a churchyard sleep,

they caught within their veins the dying sun

and, decked in green, they smiled till summer’s end

now restless sleep blows them across the earth.

 

In summers gone, naive, I held the earth

in my belief that this was solid ground,

my faith that growth in trees would never end

and in my dreams of futures never lost.

But now I dream upon a setting sun

and realise that the world is soon to sleep.

 

It will not be in peace, but raging sleep,

the curtains closed against a storm of earth,

the weeping face of clouded, rain-washed sun

and bitter fall of rain tears on the ground.

Colours of the world paint what we’ve lost

on canvas in the patterns of the end.

 

If we could only see through winter’s end,

endure beyond the hoar-frost’s clock of sleep,

regain the life that through the snow we lost.

Perhaps, and only then, this weary earth

would seem more than a stretch of empty land,

Bring  life again in blessings of the sun.

 

A lonely pilgrim, Winter worships Sun,

her prayers cry out that this is not the end –

we are much more than martyrs of this land,

content to humbly fall to death’s cruel sleep.

There’s more to find than pain in winter earth,

And more than futile tears for what is lost.

 

Perhaps someday our lives will not be lost,

when beauty reigns despite the absent sun,

and we’re content to walk this breadth of earth

in search of landscapes rich and without end.

We’ll wake with joy when we are told to sleep

to cherish and to heal this barren land.

 

And then the earth will have no mortal end,

and though we’re lost, we’ll watch a glowing sun

rise from its sleep, live to rebuild this land.

 

 

Photo by Seyedeh Hamideh Kazemi on Unsplash

 

poem: strong

I want so much to be strong

To stand, to fight until the dawn

Then night draws in

I’m tired

Of holding on

 

I want to keep my head

Above the water

Trying, ever trying not to sink

Within the swirling current

Shaken by the waves

 

I guess that every woman

Has a weakness

Whether me or you

It doesn’t seem to matter

 

I wish this world would learn

That falling doesn’t mean you’re dying

And that failing

Doesn’t mean we haven’t

Given all in trying

 

Why tell us weak is opposite to strong

When weakness lives to strengthen after all?

 

poem: night star

I need to speak

of how black the night

seems to me

without my north star

 

I want to scream

to the darkness

demand

that sun and moon

do not have to rise

divorced

from each other’s horizon

 

I wish to tell

the empty sky

of a time

when galaxies burst

from its edges

 

but the stars

are too far-flung

to hear me now

 

so I sit

reciting poems to the moon

 

and in the morning

I will smile to the sun

 

ever pretending

that the world will always turn

without its heart

Photo by Nacho Rochon on Unsplash

poem: resistance

Here

With my guardian trees

Soul sharing secrets

whispered on the wind

 

The world can do no wrong to me

 

The branches waver

But do not break

 

The leaves they shake

But do not fall

Just yet.

 

Earth firm

under quick-moving feet

Autumn barely waking

On the edge of the air

 

Nothing has to falter in transition

 

Change is haunting us

Yet here I stand

 

The pines, hand in hand

Resisting winter’s call

To war –

 

Has it really taken me

Until tonight to know

 

That home is where I wish it

And they cannot make me fight?

 

Why do I write?

People will ask my why I write; I suppose I’ll say it’s because I enjoy it. Or maybe because of the hope that, one day far in the future, I may glean some semblance of success from what I do. But this only provides an answer to the question. It does not provide the truth. You see, the thing is, I don’t write to answer questions – or not to answer anyone else’s at least. I write because, when I feel joy, writing it down is the only real way I can capture and contain that feeling, like fireflies in a jar, to admire again when the darkness creeps in.

I write, because when the darkness does come, the words are all I have left. They are the only things that understand. Because words do not feel hurt, they only channel it; and I’ll let all of the pain and the hurting be taken up by the page in inky tears. Because at times, that is the only outlet it has left.

I write, because longing is not a need that can be described in any other way, unless you feel it. The words know how it feels, that burning desire to reach the end of the page, to carry on and on into forever. They understand loving too. They are the best way I have found to free it, to show it, when there is nothing here to love but the blank sheet in front of me. And hatred, that too has found its way into the words. Anger which, if spoken, would leave me burning, but which on the page leaves only a trace. A whisper in the peaceful silence.

My point is, I do not write for anybody else, nor because I feel I have to. I write for myself, because it makes me feel alive, and because I believe that words have a life far more meaningful and enduring that ours. So next time someone asks me why I write, I will just smile, knowing that these pages hold the truths which cannot always be heard.

 

 

 

Poem: The dawning

The dawning

Sensations gone, and yet to come

all lost and found

built in our own creation

~

the night’s transgressions

yesterday’s regression

to decay

released in sparks

today

~

unheeding where

we’re headed

slowly we’re forgetting

everything we dreaded

~

dreaming seems no longer

a nostalgia

now we’re who we are

~

our shackles being broken

by the morning

~

but didn’t we always know

the dark would die

with the dawning?

Poem: Tonight

Tonight the sky is rose-tinged

in the shade that soothes our tears

painting smiles to cover fears,

serene and soft as darkness falls.

Now deepening to purple,

violet at horizon’s reach

shrouds unknown steeps

in mystery as the shadows call.

Beyond what is above

a woven silk of stars

adorned in silver, waiting to be ours –

once we endure the unremitting night

we’ll free the dawn in incandescent light

The wideness of the hills

I used to crave the wideness of the hills

the past a road fast fading far behind

a freedom from the haunting fears that filled

the overgrowing corners of my mind

I somehow sought for loneliness by stayed

swift sinking underneath my growing dread

the fear my soul was lost, I soon would fade

love’s warmth forgotten from my heart and head

And now I crave the hills leaps once again

but not to face my miseries alone

the valleys no more steeped in sorrow’s snow

the distance in the world is not a strain

now love, a greater force than loss has grown

and anywhere the depth of thought will go

Midnight Breeze

Sky streaked with dusky pink

the colour of dreams,

I walk the sighing streets,

unloved when there my heart remained

and cherished now I’m changed

~

Silent sounds of the budding year

echo in the sleepy shadows

drifting into last year’s slumber

tucked away in turfy sheets

while memory’s flowers grow

~

The promise of delight

with closing red, the sky

lights up my prospects and the going on

and strokes away my tears.

Morning need not come with fear, but ease

for laughter sings upon the midnight breeze.