stave flower

Diminuendo

I close my eyes
and I can hear
the passage
of my life,
Each ticking of the
metronome;
A second closer
to the end of time,
Diminuendo,
Each beating of my
waning heart;
A minim closer
to the end of mine,
Lentando,
But it’s OK,
As the moments
wash away
into the ultra white
that marks
the failing of my sight,
As I edge closer
to the come what may,
to the end of stave,
to the moment
darkness
meets my day,
I become the pause,
I am the peace,
I am the silence that
this moment reaps,
I am the final
breath
of deep relief,
I am the saline tear
that dances
down your cheek,
The farewell
that through this
chasm creeps,
I am the gone,
The tacet, the rest,
I am the nothing left,
I am the screaming silence
that is death,
And it’s OK.
Fine.

heart on sleeve

No Apology

I make no apology
for being me,
I may wear my heart
upon my sleeve,
I may laugh like Marge,
I may kiss my teeth
and evoke a hamster
when I sneeze,
But I make no apology
for who I am,
My skin is wolf
but my blood is lamb,
Defender of truth
and taker of stands,
I’d give my right arm
just to lend a hand,
And I’d make no apology
Because,
You see,
My kindness
does not weaken me,
Goofy and awkward
I may well be,
But for those I love
I’d sail seven seas,
So you’ll get
no apology
for me
from me,
For with each flaw
I’ve made my peace,
What you get
is what you see.
This is me
so
take
or
leave.

between the lines

Between the Lines

Love is in the imperfection,
And life is in the mistakes,
So you have to pay attention,
To the silence music makes,

Listen to the beauty between the notes;
Ornate stories of happiness,
Venture beyond the words I wrote,
Enjoy the truth my soul confessed.

 

This poem was inspired by the two quotes about love shown below. The underlined words in the poem are from the first quote. The letters in bold spell out ‘last love’, which is from the second quote.

Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul.

- Saint Augustine

Being someone’s first love is great, but being someone’s last love is beyond perfect.

- Unknown

half and half

Yellow Girl

Too white to be black,
Too black to be white,
“They’ll throw you in the river
when the two sides fight”
Flat bottom,
Picky hair,
And thick thunder thighs,
Freckles on my nose, lips
and under my eyes,
I’m a yellow girl,
I’m a browning,
I’m half-caste,
I’m mixed race,
And believe me;
I’ve been called
so much worse to my face,
I spent so many years
ill at ease in my shell,
That it’s shattered my confidence
and left me in hell,
Now I’m fat,
And I’m ugly,
And I have crooked teeth,
And I’m so obsessed with the surface
I ignore what’s beneath,
I know better,
But I’m broken
and I can’t fix the hurt,
That’s what happens when a child’s
told they’re less than they’re worth,
Now I’m thirty,
And still hurting,
And so mad at this world
for closing arms, doors and minds
to this benign
yellow girl.

 

This poem was inspired by an article I read a while ago called, “Too white to be black, too black to be white.” It talked about how mixed race children are being failed when it comes to potential mental health problems.  As a light-skinned black woman I faced a lot of prejudice when I was a child – from both ‘sides’.  My mum also faced similar struggles and was once told, “If the blacks and the whites go to war, they’ll throw you in the river.” One of my previous poems (Sticks and Stones) highlights just how powerful words can be, especially to a child. If I’m honest, I’ve never quite thought I was good enough, and that’s a direct result of the name-calling and narrow-mindedness I experienced as a child.

That’s life though, right? We suffer and we grow, we reflect and we move on. But while I’m finally at peace with my ‘shell’, I don’t doubt that there are still a few cracks…

symbiosis

Symbiosis

Symbiosis,
Reciprocal need;
I need him
and he needs me,
I scratch his back,
He scratches mine,
We plod along,
We’re doing fine,
But when did this
become enough?
When did symbiosis
replace true love?
When did meeting
fundamental needs
replace both romance
and chemistry?
Deeds that once
were fuelled by love
are now transacted
with a lack thereof,
We may stand together
as we trudge through life,
But he’s no more a husband
than I am a wife.
We’re partners
of a different kind,
Our marriage certificate;
a contract signed,
One that can quickly
be un-penned
if one partner
fails to hold up their end,
This give and take
is more take than give,
Is this really how
we’ve come to live?
Who knew that
it would come to this?
Symbiotic
lovelessness.

 

This post was inspired by an episode of Go, Diego, Go! that I was watching with my daughter this morning. Diego helped to reunite Hippo and his symbiotic friend Oxpecker after there were separated. Inspiration comes from the most unusual places at times, doesn’t it?!

Fisherman cartoon

dancersmaller

Free

In every way a lady can be free,
The Music took such gentle hold of me,
Hand resting in the nuance of my waist,
He led me pirouetting into grace,
Removed the shawl bejewelled with my past,
Unbound me from the spell that doubt had cast.
Lightened by the soothing lilt of joy,
His rhythm twirled this girl (unworldly, coy),
‘Til chains had turned to stardust at my feet,
And freedom strummed my heart with every beat.

 

This poem was inspired by the Poem A Day prompt over at Pooky’s Poems. Today’s challenge (set by guest poet CC) was to write a poem that takes metre into account. I tried here for iambic pentameter, but can’t be sure I have it quite right. Ether way, I had fun trying and feel accomplished having put more thought into the metre of my poetry!

toast

Cold Toast

When some things are changed,
They are changed for good,
Cold toast is not bread,
And ash is not wood.
When I looked at you,
Selfishness ended,
All thoughts of me were
promptly suspended.
When you looked at me,
With innocent eyes,
I knew I was changed,
Completely revised.
There’s nothing at all,
Not one single thing,
No war I won’t fight ,
No neck I won’t wring,
No thing I won’t do,
Dear daughter, dear son,
Cold toast is still toast,
And mums will be mums.

stomach

Third of Three

I never met you,
But I miss you,
You don’t exist,
But I kiss you
in my dreams,
I set aside a portion of my heart,
Swaddled it in endless love,
And engraved it with your name,
But you never came to be,
And so I miss you.
Destined now to grieve eternally,
For all the times that we’ll not see,
For the smell of you
nuzzled next to me,
Reciprocated love,
Unconditionally,
You would have been my legacy,
The third of three,
The third best thing
I’ve ever achieved,
A beautiful embodiment of possibility,
But you, my love, weren’t meant to be.
And you, my love, will never be.
And you, my love, will never see
just how much
I miss you.

wolf at door

The Wolf at the Door

The wolf is at the door,
There’s no corner for to hide,
Its claws are carving rage
into the splintered wood outside.

And I could not save my grandma,
She died frozen to her seat,
For the wolf feeds on the old
who can no longer pay for heat.

And I cannot find a lumberjack,
A trade that’s now in deficit,
For the wolf made sure the local one
had to claim state benefits.

So now I’m in trouble too,
And I did the best I could,
But none will give employment
to a poor girl in the hood.

So the wolf is at the door,
And I’m going to let him in,
What good is fighting when the truth
is that the wolf will always win?

 

This poem was inspired by the Pooky’s Poems prompt from yesterday, which was to write a modern take on a traditional fairy tale. I went for a bit of a metaphorical interpretation.

trash by rich johnson

Sticks and Stones

Here I am.
Your sacrificial lamb,
I have taken off my clothes,
So please, look close,
I was fervently reproached,
Mentally morose,
You stripped me with your lack of care,
But now I choose to lay myself bare:
You see, I was scared,
I was undeniably unprepared
for the verbal daggers that stabbed at the air.
Go on, take it in;
All over my skin is a network of unseen scars
inflicted each time you’d lambaste
with dead words
– both cold and long past -
You may not see them,
And your blindness I excuse
After all,
You are the abuser,
You are not the abused.
And the truth you may refuse,
But I think you always knew,
You threw hateful words into the ether
with not one flicker of regret,
Non-physical, yes,
But they manifested
and then they festered,
An invisible threat,
A tiny heckler behind the parapet,
Unrelenting and unkind,
You may forget what you once chimed,
But every slur is etched into my mind,
and has remained unvanquished
all this time.
But then I changed.
I unyoked myself from your chains,
Refused to play your petty mind games,
I used the pain that you inflicted,
Little man,
You see you broke me,
Sticks and stones I might withstand,
But words…
Words have the power of a burning brand;
They leave lasting marks upon a heart
Yet while I am marred,
The scars have made my skin turn hard,
And they have fortified my guard,
So,
You want to test my new façade
with your spiteful shards of spoken fear?
You really want to test this new veneer?
Well go ahead,
Little man,
Here I am.

Image Credit: “Trash” by Richard Johnson

This poem was inspired by a photography project by Richard Johnson called “Weapon of Choice” in which he sought to convey the unseen damage of verbal abuse. I also doubled up and included today’s prompt from Pooky’s Poems, which was to write a poem in which someone takes off their clothes for an unusual reason.

Poetry by Serena Malcolm Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved

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