Night Lights

There is a

light bulb inside

my head that stubbornly flickers

on and off; on and off; on and

off,

creating an unsatisfying half-sleep

– a no-man’s land –

some way between consciousness and unconsciousness.

All of my worries and wants for the future reside there,

crackling electrical currents that conjure both

a beacon of hope

and a garish

warning

signal.

 

A.N. I wrote this poem at about 2AM on a Tuesday morning. I couldn’t sleep and thought writing might be a solution to that, seeing as it would help to empty the contents of my buzzing brain. As it so happens, writing this poem didn’t solve my sleep issue, though I did get a decent piece out of the situation.

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Metamorphosing Squirrel

“Is that a rat or

a rabbit?”

“What happened to

the poor squirrel’s tail?”

 

A.N. This slightly irregular haiku was inspired by something that myself and some friends came across whilst out for a walk. That something was a tail-less squirrel. We couldn’t get over how different it looked without the iconic bushiness and took some while to confirm that it was actually what it was. I can’t help but think that it must have been attacked by a fox. Hopefully the squirrel’s tail grows back soon.

Praying

Why am I praying

When my worst nightmares still come

True despite my dreams?

 

A.N. I wrote this haiku at a time when I felt that everything in the world was taking a turn for the worst. Although I am unsure about religion and God, I pray regularly as it helps me to reduce my anxiety and to remind me of everything I should be grateful for. However, sometimes I wonder why I and many others feel that praying will make any difference to events outside ourselves, when it has been proved over and over again and terrible things happen regardless of prayer. Doesn’t this make the effectiveness of prayer an illusion – a coincidence? Are prayers just heavenly dreams that cannot keep up with the mass destruction of Earth’s nightmares?

We Won’t Make It

I’m scared that I won’t make it –

That my future will be crushed out of me

When the engine fails and the plane

Plummets

Down

Down

Down,

Metamorphosing into incandescent wreckage

 

And

 

I’m frightened that he won’t make it –

That he’ll miscalculate. And OVERDOSE.

And at midnight the call won’t be his –

No,

It’ll be from the ambulance crew that

Couldn’t

Save him

 

And

 

I’m terrified that they won’t make it –

That they’ll be run down or stabbed or bombed

Whilstouttogether

And that I’ll lose both my rocks

At once,

Leaving me no ground to

Stand on

 

And

 

I’m just scared that we won’t make it.

 

A.N. I’ve become painfully aware of the fragility of life over the past few weeks, in light of the bombings in Manchester and Afghanistan in addition to other tragedies that I’ve been hearing all over the news. I won’t pretend that it hasn’t affected me, because it has. It’s changed my whole outlook: I no longer see the days of myself and others as unlimited, but numbered; I no longer believe that these news stories won’t happen in my own world, because my Earth and that Earth are the same. In some way, it is good to be in touch with this reality as it means that I am a lot more appreciative of what I have. On the other hand, though, I recognise that I can’t let these happenings distract me from making the most out of my life. After all, if I can stay level-headed then perhaps I can make a change to even a fraction of this mess.

Aside

Body Hair: An Endangered Species

Sharp blades of silky obsidian grass

Poking up from pinches of ochre soil;

Luxuriant undergrowth – twisting coils

That of undesirables block. The. Path.

 

Wispy, transparent dandelion seeds

Strewn across a rough and earthy terrain;

Dark mossy barks that grow slick in the rain

And glint like stars in the sun’s lucent beam.

 

Tell me. Why would you ever desire to

Burn or scythe or mow or pluck out any

Of the shrubs that bore this charming garden?

 

Perhaps it had never occurred to you

That it was not there to please the many;

Only those who can fathom its allure.

 

A.N. This sonnet was inspired by Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey as well as my own experiences of the way in which body hair, especially female body hair, is perceived by society. I can’t help but notice that, despite the increasing acceptance of things that were previously considered disgusting and abnormal like being a member of the LGBT+ community or someone who is larger than usual, hirsutism and even common patterns of body hair remain neglected by the liberal-minded. As part of my own journey to self-love, I believe that it is important to accept my body in its natural state, and realising the beauty of that which society deems unbeautiful is one change of mind-set that will help me on my way.

Feminine Markings

Rose, chestnut, peach, plum,

Smearing the spongy whiteness

Like paint a fresh page.

 

A.N. I wasn’t sure if this would be too controversial to post, but I decided that part of its excitement is that the aspect of womanhood that it depicts is one not (certainly by myself) come across too often in literature; I really enjoyed writing it because of this uniqueness and the dynamic perspective that it gave me on quite a mundane event. Haikus are amongst my favourite poetic forms because they have such simple rules, yet these same rules embellish what may be, like Feminine Markings, a single sentence.

Image

The Phoenix

A scarlet bird frolics across the sky,

Its clouds of breath filling the atmosphere.

Twigs of an adjacent tree weave into

And out of each other as if to form

A gigantic, haphazard nest.

We hear a song of woodwind and join in,

Feeling its wings whipping up a gay breeze;

Watching feathers of flame transcend the earth.

 

Please don’t let the friendly gale run colder;

The faint tune roar; the white billows spit ice;

The radiant plumage disintegrate,

And our magnificent phoenix fall

Dead.

 

A.N. I was stressed. And I hadn’t written in ages. So I decided to look to nature, and the autumn afternoon brought me this poem. As the heartbeat rhythm of iambic pentameter suggests, the natural world really does keep us alive, whether it be physically or mentally. I noticed how the fallen leaves looked like the feathers of a phoenix, like Fawkes of the beloved Harry Potter novels; I recognised that my part of the world was in a transitional period from the warmth and light of summer to the cold and dark of winter. And, as a thankless human being, I lamented it.