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Telescope to the Planets: Poems by Abigail George

If I was writing a prayer for peace

If I can see from where I am
Standing (next to my bedroom door.
This is ajar because I left it like
That) through the window made of
Lines of yellow light, shiny parts
At my front door and stare into the
Face of a stranger, what would I see
There meeting their eyes, intent,
Winter, my own washed-out or ill
Reflection depending on what day
Of the week it was, would I see a
Vision or feel a change flicker and

Dance within the usual outspoken
Me, would we make commonplace
Conversation, would I give my peace
Of mind away as I make the stranger
A cup of coffee so hot that steam rises
In puffs almost like smoke in a glance–
The stranger never smiles at me.
I am just a poet and a writer feeling
The air near my hands, pushing those
Buttons, dreaming a life half-lived in
Silence with medicine–this is my
Home, my fairytale ending, my lining.

In the cold, cold night when my skin
Tastes like salt, when the street lamp
Glows in the dark, when stripes of
Shadows seem to win me over to sleep,
To the light that hits falling angels and
I think of bottles littered on a field, the
Stamina they give a man, roads into
Madness, softness and sanctuary and
I am reminded of the stranger at my
Door, the silver in his hair and beard,
How we both are cast out into the
Black, into loneliness to settle out there.


Like people of the moon

If people lived on the moon how
Would they ever begin to fathom justice
If the tides didn’t turn?


Truths for me

If the sun didn’t burn so bright
In my eyes would I see angels falling
From the sky wearing white robes?



Could we stop the sounds of falling rain
If we weren’t exposed to the song in it, if we
Paid more attention to it like a dream?



Lunch – a plate of cheese
On a dusty New Bethesda table
While mice ransack the place.


While I eat French toast

As hard as air, poised yet fragile, you,
Black beauty mapped with fragile lines –
Make me weep rivulets like gems.


Land of lava and volcanoes

It’s nice out, sunny even
While dark clouds gather –
If it weren’t dangerous I’d
Walk around the church
With my father.

For too long now I have used
Being and nothing as a crutch.
Waking, feeling prehistoric
I can feel the lightness in you –
It’s a soft love light.

I sit and write about mummy
And daddy, tears that came and
Went like a cold waterfall
Staring right through me as it
Floods my mind’s eye.

A child’s fists painted with
Mud pies, adults with their bleak
Smiles swimming out of reach –
Moon people do not have to speak
Of the volume of their loneliness.

If only loss were pintsized.
If only a brother was not locked
In the mists of rehab – childhood
Has no walls only infinite space.
Watch me detach myself

From that thing, that skin
Of a telescope, its core’s pulse –
Why are you sullen, something
Flawed on the other end of the
Line leaving me an uninvited

Guest like dark to fathom
You out, the sun of your rare
Soul-pieces – a deluge is
Wrung out, washed out pale
Like mysticism’s shroud.


When you went away

When you left this world turned on me,
Crippled me and left my heart in a frail knot–
Tangled in the mirth of obsession towards
Possession, form, force, a waking flame, the
Arrows of a being of light.

They were contagious as a rolling shift in
Tides, as I progressed towards you lost in the
Land, shades and country of Jane Austen.
I basked in the glory of her elements, sampled
Incandescence, fragile quiet.

If fish could only live on air like I do–
Instead they breathe the juice, the veil of fire
On an expedition from sea to land before
They’re completely erased from sight like you
Have been, leaving me quite

Ill, inconsolable against invincible cosmic
You. I searched this house, turned it upside down
Until all my thoughts were black, impoverished–
How can I banish the song in my clothed hunger,
My still, patched, dark thirst.

The climb has been a cold one to bear–night
Has ravaged me senseless so that I’ve taken to
Medicine which has transitioned me from
Ancient death to the tree of life, made me march
To the sound of cars and dogs

Barking in bursts, the background of the vein
Of rain, the symmetry of stars, the silence of a
Planet when the night falls–if only you were
Here within reach, smelling of roses, my prize
Poem, kind, alive, not in flight.

I can more or less feel the sea now that you’ve
Gone away, promised to write, exchanged addresses–
The hours give me courage, there’s a home for
Love in my blood, the silence in profound madness,
Even in my weeping for my loss.


In your flat

I can see the mountain from here –
It has nowhere to go, nowhere to hide
Stealing away shadows in the afternoon
It sleeps all day everyday.

You – tousled, unkempt hair, serious
The flock of savage you descends upon
Me morning after morning smelling
Of the imagination of rain.

So you cut me that was your project
Left me bleeding, half-comatose with
Your progress and I escaped blinded
By lists, felt it, the extinct nature

Of it, your precious childhood love
For me sticking in my mouth, in the
Lines of a journal, I am lost, always
At a loss for words – you laugh or

Say nothing and it hurts, the bright
Heights of it, thinking of you, staring
At you, looking at you fills me with
Icicles, leaves the weather around

Me illuminated when you do not
Greet me – you sail exerting motion
Out of the bathroom, scent kissing
The air, every evening I sit at

Your table where you charmed me
Effortlessly with your perfect bolognaise
While I hold my breath, the poet who
Has escaped possession and tethers.

A galaxy of sun is pressed against
My cheek as I stare up at my rival –
The mountain, the barbarian-in-waiting
Snapping at my skull, crusted with

Foliage and stuffed with pounding
Treacherousness, you are sucking me
Dry, leaving me numb, hot flashing
Like lightning through me – magic.


Telescope to the planets

This life that
I’ve dedicated myself to
Is delicate–
Sometimes the solitude

That I ride
Terrifies me, its interiors
Are made of glass ceilings,
At any second

They can crack,
Shatter and pour down shiny pieces
(Silver) and I would be touched, subdued,
Killed by that frozen darkness.

Like the moving black
In ancient space hovering
Around the planets, I
Fight to exist.

Words screaming
For life shift to the page–
Always shifting and so
I let them go.

They come in
A flood, a rainbow–even
In shallow waters they
Still pull their weight.

These starry words have
Built their home away from
Home–their house is my
House where I

Yield to the power
Of their soft waves and
Engraved upon my soul
Is a telescope to

The wonders of
The universe, the sun blazing,
The moon’s belly cowering
And a seasoned poet.


The song of a choirgirl

She dares not
Speak of the mental illness
That runs in her

She has stepped
Into a meadow (her guard down)–
Her shell of pain
Wet and bitter.

She’s exiled relationships,
Lives like a nun and relishes prayer.
For her meditation although cold
Is a delight to her senses.

Words only have
Meaning for her when flat
And licking the page–
And once their

Vision is dead to her
She rises up–her tears, salt
Meeting the life-lines
Of skin and air.

She prefers the coolly
Detached, lusts after marked
Roads opened to her
By her moods.

This is how this
Choirgirl swings, flies–
She abandons gaiety
For snow falling

In the nest of her
Lovely skull–this is her
Season, her feast-meal.
Her sky, her footfalls

On the steps–her
Frightening challenges that
She never speaks of to
Break away from death.


Cut to the heart

I wanted a sunrise instead
The moonlight pours into my cells
So Helen Martin’s ghost has come for me
She has bided her time well

While India shatters at my feet
Standing at the edge of it is an angel of water
With wings made of ice–soporific vampire
You landed like an avalanche

I started off by trimming your icicles
When you couldn’t keep your hands to yourself
The pupil is radiant, so are the missing case studies
A table has been set for me

A forked tongue where my water glass should be
I think in another life I might have been Virginia Woolf
Rage is splashed against my childhood love
Her name is ‘mother’

She tastes like cold plums
I must be mad if I am having visions
Of a woman sleepwalking in my house
Wearing an alluring scarlet cloak

Dripping blood where it
Is not supposed to be like a vampire
Bleeding into the fragile lines of being–
The eternal that is love and death

There is pain in the fire
Of her belly not unlike the India of my sister’s travels
My vision is formidable, dark and as serious as war
She takes the perfume of wine, roses,

And discontent wherever she goes
The evidence of fear follows swiftly–she burns me
Like lava and it is only the knowledge of childlike
Innocence that keeps my mind far away from hers

I become like a child once again
In my dreams, the smell of rain in my hair
Climbing over my parents thrones in the living room
Already housing collections of darkness visible.


All poems (c) Abigail George

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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