Category Archives: Poem

Tonight I Shall let my Heart Speak


(a poem… by Sha’Tara, testing my own darkness)

Tonight, I said to myself,
When darkness has fallen
I shall let my heart speak.

(A moment of madness
or sudden bravery?)

I do not trust the language of the heart,
The language of emotion, of the past.
I do not trust the memories it recalls
How can I ever prove if they be true or false?

Then my heart speaks:
Distorted images of forgotten memories
Swamp my tired mind.

(I regret, too late, opening that door
to an old past disowned long ago.)

Cold dead things arise from foggy depths,
Feelings, thunderclouds beyond the hills:

They say, this is you, oh yes, this is you!
You made us, we are your past and we are!

Oh heart! Accuser, torturer,
Can you not forget?
Can you not leave me be?

(Have you ever heard its laughter,
your own heart mocking you?)

You should not have opened this Pandora’s box,
All alone in the night, in your own personal darkness.
You cannot put us back in there now, however you try,
We’ll hover forever about your worthless mind.

Will morning dissipate these Djinns?

 

If Only I still had Faith!

A poem by Sha’Tara

If only I still had my childhood faith!
If only I could still believe as I did then!
I would storm the gates of heaven,
I would be a Greta Thunberg
Sitting day after day on the cold stones
Watching souls come and go; praying,
Wishing, hoping, thinking, dreaming!

Then after forty days and nights
I would stand in my hunger and thirst,
In my destitution and my unbearable pain,
Turn to those cold pearly gates
And I would yell for God, yell and scream!
I would call Him, curse Him, revile Him
With every vile name under the heavens,
Throwing myself against the bars
Leaving trails of blood dripping down
Upon those hard, cold stones.

If only I still had my faith, if only!

Man’s Last War

 – a poem by Sha’Tara

The world hasn’t changed much
Since so long ago I was born, when I happened
For no reason it would seem, without hubris.
I learned to talk, walk, listen and observe
With the sense it all had to mean something
In the end.

The world was cruel to me when I was young
Though I didn’t know that then, it’s what is
To a child life is the norm, the form.
There was much hardship, harshness
Little tenderness, and it seemed dangerous.
One could get used to tenderness
And the world I knew hated it with passion
unchecked.

Life is cruel they said without apology,
Why not, they’d just survived a world war
Knowing naught but blood and losses.
I thought, yes, I have to be bold, and tough,
I too must survive, there’ll be another war
And I must know how to fight it; must know
My enemy before he knows that I know
I will beat him.

No, the world hasn’t changed, not at all.
The same people lie, cheat, rob and rule,
The same people suffer and die, their blood
Lubricates the scythe blindly sweeping
To leave fodder and dying stubble in its wake
To be ploughed.

Yet something did change, has changed:
A new World War is being fought
No longer man against man but once again
Man against nature-she fighting her protracted way
She can never lose. Man in his hubris
Still believes he can win this war and it will be
As he never, ever, won any of his other wars.
Earth withdraws her bounty.

Man’s motto remains against, never with
Rashly, brashly he spreads his nets,
His barb wire, his jet trails, his towers,
His stacks, his chimneys, his warehouses
His poisons, his noise, his armaments and bombs,
All to be measured in corporate profits for
The rich to get richer.

Civilization teeters on the brink of extinction,
The skies are deeply troubled, changing colours,
Glaciers melt, calve, fires burn, smoke rises:
Death, death, death! Booms and cackles
The Lord of Greed, the God of man, terminator
Soulless and heartless

The last man stands on his funeral pyre
Proudly made of planet Earth’s skin
Sure he’d won his very last war against life.
*********
He raises his fist to the soured heavens,
Claiming his last divine imperative thinking
I have destroyed the environment, I have killed
All that sustained life. I leave my boot print
On a weak, worthless and dying world, hah!
“I Am become Death, the Destroyer of Earth,
I will be remembered, halleluiah!”

A Man, a Survivor

[a poem by   ~burning woman~  ]

A strange old man, a very ancient figure,
that’s who he was,
who he is,
who he will always be
.

A man of many titles in as many times:
poor Bill, mendicant, beggar and tramp.

At times,
panhandler, good-for-nothing loafer,
deadbeat, vagrant, hobo, gypsy
and in more recent times,
a welfare bum.

Sometimes this strange man
whom everybody sees, nobody knows
comes back from the sea,
sometimes from the wars or prison:
no one comes to the quay
or the bus stop to meet him

and to hug him.

Alone,
carrying a damp and dirty canvas bag
he limps down some dark alley
to find a familiar den,
a smoke-filled tavern, an inn.
a halfway house.

For a few coins, a room under a stairway
a garret with drafty shutters,
a condemned house

become his home ’til the angels come
or the demons, and who can ever tell?

Sometimes he just gets tired of jostling
for position and wealth – leaves one night
never to come back. Why for?

His wife re-married, does he care?
Who’s to know? Not even he
wandering the drafty city streets
with his new title and essential wealth.

He’s a successful miner now,
mining garbage for treasures
haphazardly arranged in a rusty shopping cart
(of front squeaky bent wheel
from an accidental encounter with a taxi)
until deposited for safekeeping.

They call him homeless now, the
politically correct term
for this strange old man who never did fit,
who in his youth had a strong back
to break up the coal, carry gear and pack a rifle
walk through flooded paddies
and burn babies in their mothers’ arms
inside grass huts in a land so far away.

He knew well enough then why he did this:
for God and country and freedom
they’d told him so and he believed.

He came back from the killing fields
to log the dark green hills
until the trees were gone.
He cleaned out curbs and culverts
for a pittance in part time jobs
to bolster free enterprise and capitalism.

“It’s all good” they said with a leer
and what could he do but believe?

He doesn’t remember much of that
and really, what does it matter now?
the rich got richer and died,
the dead remain dead
and he’s got his place
behind four loosened cement bricks
under a forgotten embankment
where he hides his “Precious”
and keeps a mouldy sleeping bag,
drinks, sleeps and feeds his nightmares
of bullets and blood,
of flames that roast flesh,
of screams of pain and terror:
the voices of the dead
his last remaining friends.

It’s time to work the streets again,
push the rusty cart with the squeaky bent wheel
until the angels return again
or the demons, and who’s to know?

He’ll be there again tomorrow
and the day after that
and even after the Great Day
there he will be in his dirty tattered rags
his long stringy hair blowing wildly
in the cold, cold winds that haunt
the endless dirty, drafty, empty city streets

What will his title be
next time I pass him by trying not to notice?

I think I already know this, in my heart
as I look around and ponder this place:
he’ll be the survivor.

The Question never Asked

[a poem by   ~burning woman~   written by Sha’Tara]

Is there meaning to believe in?
I’ve done all I could to absorb this world,
to understand people, no, not just
people, but this world’s life.
I’ve seen and felt its endless struggle,
its romance with beauty and with horror.
So much drama but never an answer
to the eternal question.
You may ask, ask, and ask; you may
shed tears of raw pain, of sorrow, of anger
and the world is awash in mute noise.

I’ve seen cats fight and children die in war,
heard and read the boasting, seen the posturing
over beads, trinkets and ticker-tape money
and walked streets I thought were painted red
but it was always the blood of innocents,
no thin red line but a widening swath
leading to a pile of skulls and scattered bones.

Rats ran away as I came near as if I’d been more
than a nameless ghost in an endless dream.

I can see, I can hear, I can smell and
I can feel. As if that could ever be enough!
I have observed, weighed my thoughts
to realize they were too heavy to bear;
looked in a mirror to watch myself age
as in a time-lapse scene
from angst of birth to relief of death,
its in-betweens sprinkled with flashes of joy
stolen from the ever-dying landscape.

And all I ever wanted was to ask
the one question never asked before;
the one question no one ever dared ask
or no one ever thought to ask: the
one that answers all others – how
presumptuous to believe I could
formulate such a thing, that I
could discover the meaning of life or,
if you will: the meaning of meaning.

The Dangerous Women

[a late night poem,  by  ~burning woman~   ]

Who are these dangerous women?
The ones who bring back
the love of their dead men!
The ones who bring back
the laughter of their lost children!
The ones who bring back
the dreams of their estranged sons!
The ones who bring back
the hopes of their enslaved daughters!
The ones who remake the world.

We are the dangerous women
And we have returned
with destruction in our hands
to shatter the Patriarchy!
Welcome us or reject us,
why should we any longer care
how we are perceived?
or received?
In our hands is Life’s Power!

Another Sunrise Drowns

[a poem by ~burning woman~ ]

I remember long ago,
I was watching the sun set
I remember it was from an island
but I don’t remember which,
or when,
or where. I remember I was alone.

I say to myself: does it matter now?
No, I answer, it does not.

The earth has already turned,
oh so many times for me
each time a little slower,
each time taking a little longer
and I know now, as I didn’t know then
there must come a last time.

I sit at a little round table,
overlooking the sea, the see…
the table rocks a bit,
as does the chair,
they were made who knows where,
not for this kind of terrain.

I am alone, looking at the sea
looking at what I can see,
sluggish waves so casually
make love to a tired sandy beach.
My glasses are on the table
beside the empty wine bottle;
tonight, particularly tonight
my thoughts are far from here.

Once, I remember, I had a future;
it was filled with colour
and the laughter of children
mixed with mine, my smile,
they said, shamed the rising sun;
dreams and hopes chased each other
across so many landscapes
and seascapes where tiny white boats
sailed away into the sunrise
questing in hope that springs eternal.

Every sunrise must turn into a sunset,
is that not so?
This evening, slow and cool in purple
fills with rasping dreams of romance
that never was; dried longings
parched Autumn leaves falling, sails
no wind ever came around to fill:
I see just another sunrise helplessly
come to drown into the endless sea.