The questions seemed harmless
What makes you happy?
The smell of the grass
They sway of the corn
Haystacks spun gold in the sun
A rose in October
Trees turning to fire
Piles of leaves burnt caramel
Frost spinning a spiderweb to silver
Hot tea in a red mug
A blue spruce in my house
The quietness of bare earth
The promise in primroses
A clump of hellebores
Heads dipped in wine
The questions seemed innocent
The next one was strange
Tell me which of these you cannot live without
You give each a score
Loss nibbles at the shore
So quietly you won't even notice
Or it comes as a tempest
Tearing the land into pieces
So fiercely you won't even notice
The spider spinning silk into steel
The purple buds in crumbled earth
So you sit by the window
Staring at nothing
Until one morning sun brushes in gold
The petals poised to open
The peony you forgot to add to your list.
The silver band of sea,
Turns gold where it meets the sky.
A sinking orange sun joins one panel to the other,
Blending shapes and colours,
Dying far away in the horizon.
From my narrow strip of sand,
I cannot tell where one ends and one begins.
I am swimming from the shore out to sea,
Sliding over ripples and pushing through the waves,
Merging my body to the sea.
I cannot see the seabed,
Somewhere underneath the water.
I swim across a shelf of cliff,
Without knowing it is even there.
I swim not knowing when or where,
You will find me and pull me underneath.
I have learned not to fight for air,
I become a fish.
You can take me from the water,
When you want to, when you like,
No one will ever know you touched me.
If I let the water fill me,
Pour everything I feel into the sea,
I can pretend I'm free.
Never knowing where I swam across the ledge,
Never knowing when the horizon disappeared.
I've forgotten how to cry, or talk, or sing,
I am just a fish.
No matter how cornflower blue the sky,
The sea is always tinted grey here.
You grow to love it or you leave it.
Stay and every other ocean,
Will always seem too blue
You learn the sun is a shiny toy,
Enchanting you one day then lost tomorrow.
You play in chill shadows,
Hide in sand dunes telling stories.
Suns are something borrowed.
Wade where your feet touch the bottom,
Although you never see them.
Drop a pebble and watch it disappear,
An inch below the surface.
New bathing suits look old.
A softly sloping floor has a sudden drop,
A hidden cliff you swam above.
You learn it was always there.
Gasping to crack the grey shell
Splitting out fear and breathing new air
Dive and let the ocean take you
Over the edge into a silent valley
Treeless mountains and empty fields
Bottomless gorges and shearing slopes
Dream you could live there.
We whisper, lovers on a midnight train, and never question where we go or why.
We are reflections in a windowpane,
Two stowaways the dawn will nullify.
I often wonder where you vanish to,
For only moonlight forges your embrace.
I cannot summon you or capture you, for only dreaming do I draw your face.
Familiar weight is pillowed fast asleep,
Upon my shoulder, ricochets in time.
A saxophone that cries itself to sleep,
Piano notes of breathing fall to rhyme,
The platforms whisk away nobody there
The ghost train never stopping anywhere.
The way the rain drums on the roof
The way the drops pool on the windows
The smell of you
Inside the car you are not in
Is soothing in a way
Like lying in a puddle
Of tears I started crying
Left the rain to finish
When I fell asleep
Banished - Winner of Litro Magazine's 2014 Shakespearean Sonnet Competition
Some spell enchants my lover Romeo,
Some magic whispers, pours a poison black,
His eyes although they glitter, do not glow,
No path I line in stars will bring him back.
I seek his arms, embrace will turn to stone,
The lark will sing and steal his shape away,
I wake at dawn and find myself alone,
No sweeter song I sing will make him stay.
Thy rose you banish, sonnet make lament,
A crown of thorns you place upon my head,
And only candles burn, your passion spent,
Thy nightingale you cage, thy darkness wed.
The story Shakespeare wills you to forget,
My tale of Romeo and Juliet.