This post includes the writing I could decipher from pieces of screwed up paper which I chucked in the bin, and my Matron salvaged, and gave back to me with a post-it-note saying ‘you are gold dust, don’t lose the words that make you sparkle.’
I wouldn’t call them poems, because they are in a natural and unrefined form and don’t really even make sense. They were words that purely come into my head and get scribbled down incoherently (some at unseemly hours in the morning), but as such, on reading them back, they form an interesting picture of what I would call an iridescent November. But so that I might remember how I felt this November, and so that you might perhaps gain something from the plight of a Catherine this St Catherine’s Day, they are no longer pieces of paper, screwed up in the bin.
1. The tree
I’m heading home. But I don’t know where home is.
All the footsteps blur in the mud.
O fire tree,
You stand on the hill, alone,
And the darkness is rolling in from the west,
Dashing pink and purple across the empyrean canvass.
The stars are veiled with the urban smut.
Your flames burst from your branches.
They burn with ignited passion.
They lick at your unyielding frame.
Will you be my guiding light?
Yesterday I trembled, seeking shelter
Under layers of thick protection.
But now you scorch my heart.
I take off my shoes and stand
And listen. Still. A small voice.
A voice of calm. Can I wait here
To hear what is you call me to do?
I don’t want to have to walk again
In the darkness.
2. The box
In a square box with four straight sides,
She is a circle that tries to break free.
She almost fills the space, pressing
On the midpoints of each line.
She is so close to being there;
She is so close to being them.
But there is still some space left in the
Corners. So she can breathe, some say.
But she cannot breathe. She has to
Fill those little spaces too. She has to
Let them know that she can do it.
She can be everything they want her to be.
And she hopes that they will believe
In her. But she knows they will not.
Because in a square box with four straight sides,
She is a circle that will never quite
Fit the mould.
3. The bird
Life gets better, he told her once.
She always has, she always will.
She turns her head. A shrill cry ex rostro.
The taste of freedom is so sweet that it
Clings to the air, leaving a tang of
Future pleasures under grey skies.
But there is still so much time before
It will be real. For now, she waits,
Has a taste, longs for more, doubles
Over with the pain of hunger.
When will the holy feast be spread
Again, regal, on that golden stuff?
She does not know. But she will
Keep her eye open. Searching.
Looking. Longing for freedom.
For she is a fledgling, and soon
She will fly.
4. The different girl
Do you know what it is like to be lonely?
To walk into a hall of people all alone,
To sit down all alone, to eat all alone.
Do you know what it is like to feel
Detatched from the world in which you live?
Laughter fills the air, and dances up to the rooftops,
But in her head all is silent,
Because she’s different.
The girl whose face is naked,
The girl who prays at night,
The girl who
They call the traitor, the betrayer.
She did something inconceivable to them,
Her own. Her own no longer.
For telling the truth, for being honest,
This is what she receives.
Perhaps all she wants is someone to laugh with,
Someone to share her stories with,
Someone to be with.
Perhaps she can find someone in her own
Imagination to talk to. Perhaps in her own stories
People would care.
5. The invitation to interview
I walked up the stairs that night
Not expecting to find anything at all
Out of the ordinary.
I’d left my room as I wanted to find it:
The files were all upright on the bookshelf
And the books were piled high, in
Alphabetical order within genre, naturally.
The bed was made, and my blanket,
The voice of home, was tucked under the
Statutory sanitary bed-sheets.
The sash window let in the wisps of the
Cold November air which the folded pieces
of paper were trying so desperately to keep out.
I pulled down the blind, to shut away outside,
But the moon reaching the window bars drew crosses
On the blind. I wasn’t ever alone here.
It lay buzzing, vibrating on the desk, as if someone
Was trying to call me. I picked it up.
The email. Invitation to interview.
It looks like I’ll see the Christmas market
In Oxford this year.