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The Pause between Acts: Poems by Abigail George

pause between acts
Photo by Dominik Schröder on Unsplash


(For Adeline Virginia Woolf)

And, so, breath is life.
And, so, breath is life.
And, so, breath is life.

Of stars and hands. Of night
life. The undoing of garment
and thread. Notes written at
the back of a postcard while

you’re standing alone in the rain.
A stranger amongst other strangers waiting for the train
or the bus in the evening to
take you home. Now we come to this.

The art of leaving me. Even now – you’re not here.
Yet, I still long for you.

(flashback) to those
summer days. Light

on my feet.
(Afternoon light).

And, so, breath is life.
And, so, breath is life.
And, so, breath is life.

wind-song in my hair. Birdsong
carrying with it the aural
rhythms. Blue sky turning
into night sky. Age of flame

The thing is. All poets are
sensitive dreamers at this
time of day and as stars fill
the night sky, stars fill the poet’s

head with magic and reading
hands. Stars, ancestors, ancestral
worship fill the poet’s heart
with the heat of the day. The

history and biography of Moses
in the wilderness and I say to
myself, I am still me. I am still me. I have
many things to give this world.

And, so, breath is life.
And, so, breath is life.
And, so breath is life.



(for the girl child that I last saw in childhood)

I think about grief and silence.
The aftermath of loneliness. I
make lists. Think of her vanishing heart.
Does she still want to move to Prague?
The other side of the world and
work for Amazon. I want to ask her about her

She’s never anything but fine.
Can’t she ask how Voldi is, we haven’t
heard from him in a while. He ignores
my messages on social media. Voldi, our
charismatic opera singing cousin.

How far is she with Jumpha Lahiri’s
The Lowland? Can I talk for a minute about her inner woman?
Does she read her angel book and
how is her garden? Will she miss Greg, the American

Who has been in her life these past
weeks? Why wasn’t she spontaneous enough
to go bungee jumping with him. I
breathe out.

Ask her how she is. She asks me how I am.
The betrayal is there in our midst
but we ignore it. She’s wishing on Prague again. Met
someone there but he was just coming out of a
long-term relationship.

I’m wishing on Paris. Writing novels
there but she doesn’t know this. I never tell her.
She never asks me about my writing.
That’s the betrayal, isn’t it, in our midst.



Sometimes things get
lost and a useless feeling you have never experienced
overcomes you.

I want the familiar. The
uninterrupted source. I
think that Is why I believe
there is a God. It was

familiar to me when I was a
child deep in thought. Not so

much in high school

when I observed atheism
and agnosticism. Not
really understanding
what they meant like birds in Singapore.

I loved my sadness and
I loved how the walls
were not bright in that room.
They were white and cool
when I touched them with my fingertips.

There were no birds that spring yet.

No garden for them to play in.
No red brick alarming me.
No one waiting for me with vows to be said.
Self-pity was there. I loved
that hollow chocolate Easter egg.
There were no men. There were no women.
No children to make me feel small.
No one to say ‘I love you’ to me.

I did not have to say those
words back to anyone.
It was bliss. Here I was on
the threshold of bliss.
I knew at the end of the day
I would have an impact on someone’s life.

I did not know how or when.
I just knew I had to be ready
And write down these words.


Poems © Abigail George
Photo by Dominik Schröder on Unsplash

Abigail George
Abigail George
South African Abigail George is a blogger, essayist, short story writer, screenwriter, novelist, and poet. She briefly studied film in Johannesburg. She has two film projects in development and is the recipient of two grants from the National Arts Council, one from the Centre for the Book and another from ECPACC. Her publishers are Tendai Rinos Mwanaka (Zimbabwe, Mwanaka Media and Publishing or Mmap), Xavier Hennekinne (Australia/New Zealand, Gazebo Books), and Thanos Kalamidas (Finland, Ovi). Her literary representative is Morten Rand. She is a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net nominated, and European Union Poetry Prize longlisted poet. Her poem “The Accident” was Identity Theory's Editor's Choice for Spring. Ink Sweat and Tears chose her poem “When light poured into me at the swimming pool” as a September Pick of the Month, and she recently made the shortlist of the Writing Ukraine Prize 2023. She is a poet/writer who believes in the transformative, restorative and healing powers of words. Her latest book is Letter To Petya Dubarova (Australia/New Zealand, Gazebo Books). Young Galaxies (a poetry book) was released in 2023 from Mmap and a memoir When Bad Mothers Happen is forthcoming. “Clarissa, Hector and Septimus Redefined” was recently published by Novelty Fiction in Kindle format.

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