Tag 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.

I Am Shallaya

(I must have done something “wrong” when I posted this poem yesterday as my comment section disappeared.  Therefore and all the rest, I’m re-posting it without the links to  “the Cafe Philos poetry prompt” to see if the comment section shows up again.)

               I Am Shallaya

[remembrances of a      ~burning woman~ ]
                as told by Sha’Tara

Spring steel: that was the Word.
I arched my back to feel it.
‘Yes,’ I whispered to the damp stone walls
Encompassing me, imprisoning me,
Spring steel:
That’s what I must be, it’s what I am.

Let them come for me now, I am ready.

They came then, as I knew they would.
They came, two by two at first,
To lie dead and bleeding on the stone.
It wasn’t what they had expected
As they leered at my naked body.

I stood waiting for the denouement:
There was a commotion in the hall
The clank of halberds and swords,
The yell of commands, curses, questions,

Confused calls echoed in the dungeons:
I discovered something else, a new power
The Spirit had left with me: dark sight.
With my mind I extinguished their torches.

They were sightless in the hallway;
Smelled the blood of their fallen comrades
Never thinking I could have done such.
I smelled their fear then, that of retribution
From their superstitions, the dreaded unknown.

I spoke for the first time since captured:
Five days it was I had been stripped, mocked,
And thrown in the dungeon for future sport.
Five days and I found my voice again,
But not the one I’d used to plead with!

‘You will all die,’ I said, growling
As the power beast rose in my throat,
As the spring steel twanged in my back
As I came out slowly, tearing out the steel door
As if made but of straw wattles.

I could see them, they not me!
Pathetic, I thought, as I touched one:
He peed himself, dropped his weapon,
Begged for mercy, as each one did,
Gurgled, as I ripped his throat out,
A fitting end for such cowards.

I found a young one about my size:
Took his clothes, tunic, armour,
Walked out openly, thought a guard
Until challenged at the main gate.

I recognized some of the gate watch:
They had leered and laughed as I was paraded
Naked for their benefit.

‘I am Shallaya the witch,’ I said
Matter of fact and simply intoned
With a normal woman’s voice.

Their eyes grew big, they made their move
And I mine: five men became five bodies.

I turned and cursed their battlements then,
And watched as they collapsed.
I cursed their gate and walked on through.
I cursed their drawbridge. It collapsed
Like a rotten log into the stagnant moat
And what a stench arose from that!

I walked away not even looking back
As the people fled screaming
As mice from a burning barn.

“You did that well” said the Grimmer
As he floated beside me, grinning stupidly.

‘I passed my test, then?’ I asked of him.

“I’m not supposed to tell, but of course
Yes, you passed your test. You are Power.
You are Witch. They await you
To give you your power staff.”

‘Thank you, Grimmer, for the gift.’
And I pointed back to the dying castle.
He laughed and disappeared.

With such power, how did we lose?
How did we not see the Patriarchy coming?
Though nobody now, I remain Witch.
I am Shallaya, and I still ask the Question

And it will never, ever, be over.
That I have sworn upon my staff
The day they burned it, and my body.

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!

When you Die then you Live

[a poem by   ~burning woman~  ]

When you die
(I said to him)
matters not how many are around you
in your hospice bed
or none
as you perish in the storm
you die alone.

Then why
(I said to him)
when you live
can you not be equally alone
however surrounded by insistent motion
or in the stillness
of a moonlit snowscape?

But how can I love you
(he said to me)
when you wish to be alone
when you go away
leaving no note
when you stand so still
under the moon in our yard
and neither touch nor word
you acknowledge?

When you leave
(he said to me)
with no word of farewell
(as in that old song)
I die inside
but when you turn your eyes
to look into mine
I come alive again
Why
(he said to me)
do you do this?

Don’t you know?
(I said to him)
Don’t you see it’s because
I want us both to know
what matters
and whom it is we truly love?
Love is a trade-off
where there is no pining
where there is no loss
there is no desire awakened
there is no gain

Would you know life
(I said to him
the last time I left us)
learn how to be alone
with your eyes wide open
with your mind on everything
except us.