Speaking in code
There’s a period of growth
Even in silence, a pause between
Acts, stillness when you gather
Your thoughts in inner space.
Code starts with me first, as
Soon as the destination becomes
Important so does the secret
Language of women, their angel
Tongue comes with this volcano
Rushing through my head, shadows
Drowning out the switches from
The philosophy of a child to woman.
You’re luminous in adolescence.
Being adolescent never got boring to
Me because all I asked was where I
Am going and how did I get here.
Glittering, glam mother she rides
With angels, daddy is fading–it is always
Winter for him, it is winter that
Liberates him from his madness.
We welcome this winter guest with
Open arms because isn’t the whole of
Humanity fragile–this is how we live;
My mother’s halo is the missing link
Daddy is not in perfect health, frail,
Prayers have carried him through and
He thinks he has to live through his
Pain, that he hasn’t reached kismet.
He has told us how he would like
To go, he shared this with us, his children
In a cemetery while placing half dead flowers
On our grandparents grave and perhaps
The message had come from God and as we sat
In the cold all I could see were trees stitched
To the ground, lifted up, head high
In the most deserted of all resting places.
The solitude of a leaf
The temporary mist says the world
is not home–only at the heart of where we
worship things coming up for air.
The goddess as muse
With the eyes of a child
I watch the pilgrimage of
The veins beneath the
Surface of your skin
Exposed to light and air
They seem delicate–pangs
Healthy, swimming pale
Breathing down my neck
Clouds, floating mentors;
They’re stiff illuminations
As I fall into the ill flowers.
Here in the dreamlike blue
Is courage like a volcano?
Melting the hearts of stone
Of the broken, the weak,
The darkness of humanity
And of silence in rooms?
When I fall into the memory
Of you sitting at my table,
Your tongue bittersweet.
Pure is this sense of being,
Of belonging to someone, of
Being something greater than
The sum of your parts.
Is this false like the view
Of the moon from this world?
Muse never leave me or else
I will always be wintering,
Waiting in a sense to be
Washed clean, to return to you
As a woman in the flesh, an
Epic childhood packed away.
Once you were everywhere
I went; I called you ‘mother’,
Said ‘please’ and ‘thank you’–
You gave me these words.
Here comes the sun
The world is not my home–
It is only a point of no return until
I stop for death meeting eternity.
As they transform in winter:
Do they say, ‘I’m helpless, please heal me?’
Before they pierce your soul.
It is always summer
I hated school so I imagined
Fairytales in class and there I found you–
So I became an avid collector of words.
Just another vision of winter
In the middle of the night I fly
Away in my dreams and one night all I could
See were black dogs, as black as a river.
They were swathed in night air but
Before they descended upon me I woke up.
In another dream I was praying for the
Madness in my world to end (I could
Sense if I peeled the psychic skin back, there
Was a lesson of biblical proportions there).
Wasteland, wilderness, fog or clear skies
My dreams smell like perfumed incense, feels
Like a feather in the palm of my hand,
Angelic choirs singing, open country, the
Playing fields of children; dreaming often feels
Surreal to me, is it a part of my real life or am
I hallucinating or a woman in motion
With pain written everywhere on my body in
Invisible ink–lonely is the heart of the poet.
In my fairytale you’re
In a dress or a skirt, hovering,
Always hovering in the background
As if you were lost or had no voice,
Nothing of importance to say
Instead you’re building fences,
Mending burnt bridges in a moment,
In the next, building an empire of art.
In the land of the living
You’re a ghost (yes, I’ve found
A word for it), you’ve moved away from
Home, when the child inside you died
You replaced her casually
With flowers, a hundred material
Things, bottles of scent, books filled with
Meaning traced the emptiness
In your heart, wisdom lies
In the landscape of it, suffering too.
On reaching maturity you shut us all out
That was your cure–your family
Became an illusion that
Converged on the border of your
Conscious thinking; you grappled with text
To make sense of things elegantly and
To come up with die hard
Solutions that expand and contract
With your own knowledge of the world
Around you, the flame that burns
Inside your head with
The spreading allure of inner space,
The link of patterns at your fingers (I know
That you have always desired truth).
Loneliness can be a song,
A feast for the senses, for the eyes.
Writers write, poets digress and mothers recite
Orders and so you will find your wings.
Nearing the end of life
Blistering, spirited sun dancing on
The ground, how on earth did you get here?
Why do you have that effect like some poet
Whose text is like a boomerang or pillars?
It’s as if you possess magical thinking with
The planets, the moon in union around you–
Who or what awakened you, brought you
To an altered human consciousness? When
Children laugh, do angels above in heaven
Sing like the poet sings when he has seen
Signs of his wisdom in what he has written; through
God’s flute come prayers that we, humanity must
Take cognisance of. Just like there are kingdoms
In manuscripts, so there are in the seasons, in the plant
And animal world, the ocean-sea, so death finally
Begins in the poet’s life itself as his
Vanishing slowly begins to form and take shape, as
He grows older and his body begins to grow soft,
Infirm, perhaps his hands are crippled with
Arthritis, lonely he spends his days in meditation,
Introspection, reading, wishing he could turn
Back the clock–it is the sun that reminds him
Of what he was like as a child, as a boy he was a
Scavenger, a warrior, playing at war with his
Boyhood friends, he is still oblivious to youth
And culture, to the highs and lows of mania, meeting
The beautiful woman who is going to be his
Not so perfect wife with her own depression
And unbearable fire in her belly; they both had things
To learn from each other, hostility, silent treatment
With only small children to set their souls at peace,
What if the sun was the centre of the universe, what
He asks himself, if he had made her the sun in his?
Flowers infect thoughts of death in
The cemetery bittersweet like rage,
A strange, demented vocabulary as
If it were the memory of ill health–
My emptiness dies with the dawn
And finally calm I heal old wounds.
I call this progress, obstacles and
Challenges have ceased to exist for
Me because all I see when I dig is the
Blade of the sun, I have to endure for
There is no other way out of the abyss
Except to jump over the black edge.
Writing an anthem for the youth
Where would I place meaning, how
Would utopia fit, the missing link,
The most primal of screams, the
Poverty of the mind, that great divide
Between place and time, a helpless
Poet transformed by ripples of a half-
Life of drowning in garlic, the
Familiar, the discovered plate, the poet
Frightened to death to be smitten, who
Instead embraces to be cured of it and
Having deciphered enough of it in
Lovely words threaded through
Her head realises that the world is
Not her home, it is only a meeting
Point where the courage for the
Broken is exposed and where it no
Longer mocks immortality, marriage
Or takes possession of physical space
In an agonising waiting game–(poets)
Female poets see things in interiors,
As instruments that can cut through
The blue, the picture, details of what
A house means, for them it’s a song.
Something to be loved
Standing beneath the warm sun I feel
Nothing but lines of hot and cold running
Through me–as if I’m just a voyager.
If I painted your soul
The sun is silent over the sea–
Mocking me while gliding across my
Shoulder blades like falling water.
Just as there is a miracle of life
In seawater so there is in translation.
She eats like a bird keeping all her
Secrets to herself like the surface of
Carrion passing triumphantly into
A blue oblivion where closure is
Self-imposed like the intimacy of
Letters in a novel language as thin
As the width of a thread all thumbs.
The weight of water has lightness in it.
I’ve endured her harvest, her time
Away from me, the fact that summers
Have stolen her away from me, emptied
My heart of wonder, of spells, locked
Me instead into building a wall around
Me, where I wait for her in silence to
Release me from the voice inside my
Head that has carried me from our
Childhood years, now to our passage as
Grown women–she has taught me to
Hold onto the familiar, the passing of
The heavier moments slipping into time,
Pools, curves of momentum and motion–
The land that time simply forgets to
Acknowledge–she seems to perfect
Everything, her being is not as wooden
As mine, her manners as stiff, her words
Are not strange and challenging, words
Do not cure her like they do me. Instead
She fills me up with meaning, with her
Pure rituals that came on the brink of her
Womanhood–time has marked us as a
Minority, liberated us from a scheming
Mother, a quiet and gentle father; they
Have faded into the background like
Voids in the inner space of a lucid dream.
Stone and iron in earth
Head made of stone–sound the alarm
For here hallucinations abound like driftwood,
A gull sweeping through the sky overhead.
Her skin is as dark as dry blood as she stands
In her white dress, the virgin bride on the
Surface, is she happy standing next to her
Groom, her features communicate nothing
To me but her groom is smiling in the
Picture while the path to my heart lies in
Ruins, reflects my standing in society–
Unmarried at thirty, having born no children
From a womb that spirals in a rush of air, an
Echo of a flurry of blood for seven days.
When I speak now, it is in whispers in the
Company of other women who have crossed
The boundary from youth into wifedom and
Motherhood effortlessly–I have been left
Behind and books, reading only gives up so
Much to the intellect of a woman (I have
Learned that this is not what other women
Covet)–it is a hollow and empty existence
That I am engaged in, what am I living for
Then if not to spread myself across the flame
Of the dead, yielding myself to the flesh of
Their book histories, once their altered states
Of imagination now becomes mine to claim, to
Shut myself in when the world becomes cold,
To commit myself to hide away, (no matter
How unbearable it becomes it still feels like
Home), a life to live even if it is always winter
Agents that come upon me, my comrades,
They comfort me in my skin’s glowering pose–
That, that is my sanctuary, where I lay my head
To rest, to rejuvenate my senses that informs
The psychology that I lead with, the canvas of
The sun that breaks me like vultures and death.
- All poems (c) By Abigail George
Image courtesy FreeDigitalPhotos.net