Take a look
at your fear,
Held hesitant,
Fragility evident,
A hatchling in the palm,
An elephant self-evident,
A gilded curiosity,
Its raging animosity
swathed in the dulcet charms
of a humble veneer.
Take a good look at your fear
At the foot of the stairs,
Fingers grip the bannister
and splinters manifest,
Tiny shackles; they ensnare,
Holding you there,
Frozen, bereft,
Clipped breath
in the silence of death,
Metaphysical, yes,
But unsuppressed,
And in its vaccum
you cannot progress,
You can never rise,
Your opus will not materialise
and you will die
with all your music
still inside,
and unadmired.
So swallow these trite rites;
Swallow your pride
and realise
dreams can be realised
when your fears are
not only cast aside,
But used as tools,
As kindling,
As fuel,
To burn the limits
of your mind
and bathe the path
to your
in a most


The Aftermath

It is in the silence
when the gunfire ends
It is then
that the throes of war begin
to show their scores
upon those who have fought,
Those who are forced
to pose the thought,
“What now?”
Because in the midst of the bout
You never once
question how
the ‘after’ will play out,
You just look after the ‘now’,
And you live for the now,
And you master the now
’til you’re martyred somehow,
Kowtow to the drum,
March on til you’re numb,
‘Til you bleed and succumb,
Until all you’ve become
is a lifeboat undone
Untethered, unsprung,
A vessel upended,
That is mired, expended,
That the hollowness rended,
When Ares relented,
When He sat back contented,
When the silence descended,
(Oh how the silence tormented!)
When the gunfire ended.

His Angels

His angel was someone who we never knew.

And his angel wore pale blue.

And his angel, too, wore a dark blue tunic.

And was missing a finger tip,
Spoke with a twang
through parted lips
and drawled.

And his angel was bald.

Was Northern.

Was tall.

And is angel was small and had black skin.

And brown skin.

And white skin too.

And his angel laughed
with a laugh that warmed us through.

And his angel was grieving too…
Lost a loved one, true,
But still they freed him
Still their pain relieved him
Their dirge; a reprieving psalm.

And his angel was someone who’d passed,
But as they passed
they pressed unpause so that we could restart,
Scorched an indelible mark
upon our hearts,
And in our lives.

And so forever in our minds,
And so eternally obliged,
Until our very embers die,
We shall remember this gift of light.

We shall remember you.

The angel who
we never knew.

Coat of Arms

When the arrows of their hatred
breach the balustrade,
I don my battered armour,
And I do so unafraid,
My way is paved with hardship,
With ignorance as grout,
Each step upon this endless road,
A lash from Massa’s knout,
And all the while winds whisper,
“You are not as good as me”,
But I fend off every catcall
with the shield bequeathed to me;
Generations came before us
Stocking arsenals of lore
to help teach our children they are worthy,
That they can fly, that they will soar,
So time to polish up my armour,
Pass on the torch my mother bore,
And bestow upon my daughter
the weapons for her war.

Living Dead

Straw to back
Sleepwalking insomniac
Popped corn
Curtains drawn
Watching the sideshow of my life
Fly on the wall
Watching it all
Watching the sideshow of my life
I am awake and I am not
Every kernel popped
Train derailed and stopped
Passengers flock to dance on my grave
And I’m watching the lot
Watching myself rot
I am here and I am not
Watching the lot from inside my head
Rites are read
Cerberus fled
I, the living dead

The Selfish

The Selfish is here,
Glued mouth, I watch,
Eyes wide shut,
A passenger in this
runaway truck.


The Selfish is here,
Hands tied, I watch,
Puppet strings cut,
Broken marionette
trapped in His box.


The Selfish is here,
Heart bound, I watch,
Drum beat hushed,
Pig skin shucked,
Hollow, barrelling
down the hummock amok.


Stuck. Stuck. Stuck.

All out of luck.

But the Selfish can’t touch
what the selfish can’t touch.

Weave and duck,
Retreat, close up,
The wall is up,
No more.


The Dovecote

I am a dove, but I am not,
I am a pigeon in their flock,
Krio ear rings
as my pidgin tongue sings,
Ah de trai, but still the flock mocks,
Cackles, like a slip knot, garotte.
Knock, knock?
“You’re not a part of our flock.”

I am a dove, but I am not,
I am a chicken in their flock,
feathered shades of grey
in their numbers they are safe,
I try to blend but I’m the first the fox spots,
Hackles up, scattered doves, and I’m caught.
Knock, knock?
“You’re not a part of our flock.”

I am a dove but I am not,
I am a parrot in their flock,
Try to dance their dance
Try to extend an olive branch,
Being me should be enough but it’s not,
Decades passed and at last I’ve grown up.
So guess what?
They’re not a part of my flock.


Bluebell in my hand,
Sheltered petals kissed with dew,
Cold gnawing at my fingers,
But I will not let her through.

Bluebell safe and warm,
Perfume rising on the wind,
Winter wants to take you from me,
But I will not let him win.

Bluebell dipped in sky,
Violet harbour in this grey,
I know that you are dying,
But you need not be afraid.

Bluebell mine, bluebell mine,
Ever beautiful and frail,
Long after you have left me,
My heart will sing your tale.


I was not involved in #NaPoWriMo (now #GloPoWriMo) last year, and while I can’t commit to the whole 30 days, this year I may dip in and out….

Here’s a poem about choice:


There is a door
at the end
of the hall,
Shut tight.
It is not locked,
but jammed
with fear.

How did I end up here?

I press an ear
to the wood,
I think I could,
I think I should,
But is an open door
really freedom?
Or just the beginning
of a razor edged wall?

Will I fly?

Will I fall?

Should I sacrifice it all
for possibility?
Or is that naive of me?
In reality the
shades are grey
And so I stay
For now…
Better the devil
you vowed
to know.

Sleeping Bear

I am a sleeping bear
with the richest hide of tan,
Try and wake me if you dare,
But none too many can.
You can poke and you can tease;
I may grumble, I may moan,
But in a deep passivity
I have made my humble home.
A bear unlike my kin,
Yes indeed I stand apart,
For while I may have thickened skin,
It hides a timid heart.
So sleep is what I choose,
And I choose sleep because it’s safe,
For even the strongest sinews
will give way to strain and fray.
One hundred times you’ll shake me,
One hundred times I will ignore,
One hundred one? Now that will break me
and this sleeping bear will roar.
So the moral here is clear,
The warning; plain to see
I am a sleeping bear
and you’d do well to leave me be.

Poetry by Niobe Malcolm Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved

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