Isabella Sturt pens a poem for Felicity.Read More
Caillic waded through the shoals in search of cockles and sea snails. She inhaled deeply, relishing the salt air in her lungs and its slick kiss on her skin. Struan would expect her home and tea prepared by the time he returned from market. Caillic knew better than to disappoint her husband, but, while she was on the shore on his bidding, she enjoyed the gentle monotony of the task. These moments of silence, at least, were her own.
A gaggle of women strayed off the high road above the beach, their prattle a distant din on the wind. They wound along the carriageway from the hubbub of the marketplace to the crofts scattered across the island’s heath, then reached the sands. Caillic could imagine their malicious, mirthful gossip, though only snatches of it ever reached her over the wash of the sea. Come see the reclusive wife of the handsome merchant, Struan! See how she paces, hem-deep in the froth of the North Sea, eyes darting in the shallows! Standing from their usual perch atop a sand dune, the women were at a distance safe enough to observe Caillic without having to confront the girl whom they had always considered freakish. Caillic tried to ignore them. Wasn’t it fine with Struan? Then it was fine with Caillic, too. So long as they kept to themselves and let her do the same.
But, despite their distance, their voices still pricked in her ears. She had no desire to linger under their gaze. Besides, she’d collected enough. Struan would be happy, would he not? Caillic made back to the cottage, hunched under the weight of a net brimming with shellfish. She kept her gaze to the ground as she trudged through the dry sand.
“He doesnae love ye,” a voice cried, a stone’s throw away. Caillic turned and looked up, neck still bent with her burden. The Blair girl, youngest by far, had broken ranks, those honey eyes wide with disgust. The wind carried faint cries of “witch” and “devil’s consort” from the older women in their distance. She ignored them. She stared at the Blair girl who, emboldened, took a step closer. “He doesnae love ye,” she repeated.
“He loves me,” a ghostly voice whispered from within. “He loves me.” Caillic feared it. She feared that voice.
Caillic let the net fall from her shoulder, her own eyes wide in a mirror image of her challenger, not in fury but in shock. Caillic took several steps towards her. The other women fell silent. Some of their faces twisted in fear, others in perverse excitement, unable to resist the spectacle of confrontation.
“Aye but he married me, Malvina, didn’t he?” Caillic replied, her voice cracking. “Not you. Not any of ye.” Caillic had never felt the need to defend her marriage. But had she ever had it questioned so directly? No, never. Had Struan not dragged her from poverty? Had he not given her everything she now had, a home she need never leave, her loom, even the occasional gift of fine jewellery from his travels?
“A marriage, is that what ye call it?” Malvina laughed sharply, humourlessly. “A know about the separate beds, Caillic. When was the last time you were in his?”
The gloating in her voice was too much to bear. Tears burned, threatening to spill, checked only by her rage. She was too close now. A stone’s throw. She fumbled inside her net and closed her hand on the first thing it landed on, a clam. She stood, her arm cocked back to throw. Malvina only stared. Everyone stared, quiet now. Caillic gave a shuddering, trembling sigh, then threw the clam into the sand at her feet. She awkwardly shouldered her burden again and hurried away as fast as she could in the sand. She caught one final scrap of Malvina’s taunting. “If she had shared his bed, she would know the leg’s broke. That’s why he prefers mine, he says. But I can think of other reasons.”
Caillic opened the wind-battered door to find Struan, her Struan, merchant of Orkney, away. The stove, cupboard and table crowded one side of the cottage. Struan’s bed dominated the other. Caillic’s own makeshift pile of cushions and quilts were bundled against the back wall. All was as she had left it.
She set down her wares and stripped out of her wet cloak and gown, hung the kettle on the stove and sunk, shivering, into a chair, taking comfort in the steaming heat. When the image of the old fishwives’ hateful glares came to her, she went to the loom to work on a shawl. When the laugh of the dancing girl from the tavern cut through her, she examined her collection of sea glass to determine which pieces would be fit to be jewelled for Struan to sell at market. Malvina Blair's laughing, honey-brown eyes flashed in her mind. And again. And again. He doesnae love ye. He doesnae love ye. Caillic sprang from her armchair by the fire, the roaring heat of which could not stop her shivering with cold disgust. The walls seemed to close in around her. She felt a pang of anxiety tighten her chest as her darting eyes fell on her husband's bed. Surely she would have noticed if a leg had broken. Surely her husband would not have dared discuss the details of their marriage with that girl. Could she bring herself to look? Yes, she willed herself. Yes. Now. She crossed the room quickly and knelt at the foot of the bed, as if in prayer.
She dragged away the large chest that sat before it, holding her breath. She saw it immediately. The bed slanted to one side, a large crack running down the front left leg. Caillic felt hollow. Malvina filled the space around her. Her laugh. Her eyes. Her scent. What did she smell like? Not the sea, not like Caillic. Perhaps honey, like her eyes.
Caillic almost wretched in the now oppressive heat of the fire. She stumbled to the door and yanked it open. The wind, colder now, bit at her exposed skin. She sank to her knees on the cold grass of their croft. The cold cleared her mind. The hollow feeling was gradually replaced by shame, and then by rage. What was more, she was filled with a desire to provoke the same rage in her husband.
Caillic went back inside. She knew she must start cooking, start cleaning, but she fell still in the doorway. Her eyes fell on the locked chest she had drawn from the foot of Struan’s bed. He had forbidden her from ever mentioning it, let alone opening it. Caillic had always felt a strange pull to it. Or perhaps to its contents. They were calling to her like a distant song, the most familiar melody in the world, the name of which just managed to elude her. In the more turbulent, stricken periods of her marriage, she often found her mind wandering to the chest. She had vowed to obey Struan. He had vowed to be faithful to her. Caillic felt a jolt of excitement.
The little light that glimmered through the tiny windows of the low-ceilinged cottage was beginning to fade. Struan would soon return. Caillic knew he would stay only a handful of hours before he would stray out again, locking the door behind him for the night.
The broth was well on its way. Caillic hunched over the stove, and her jaw clenched when she heard the door open and then slam shut with the force of the wind. She heard a series of grunts as he struggled out of his wet things. “Tea no ready yet?” he barked. It seemed some things would never change.
She started violently when he pulled her suddenly away from the pot by her arm to investigate its steaming contents. Another grunt. Caillic stole a quick glance at her husband and saw that he returned a furtive look.
“You’re in your under clothes,” he said. Caillic nodded in reply. Struan narrowed his eyes. “Why?” The hairs on her arms raised in gooseflesh.
“It wis dreich on the beach the day,” she replied, her eyes cast down in submission. Her husband’s gaze did not waver.
“And ye didnae redress?” What exactly was he accusing her of? Had he no shame of his own infidelity?
“I wis busy cookin’ your tea,” she said. Too sharply for Struan’s liking. His face reddened and, not for the first time, Caillic feared his temper. He said nothing, however, and stepped back to the table, slumping into a chair.
Caillic ladled broth into two bowls, serving her husband the fuller of the two. “Are ye in a hurry to be off again, husband?” she asked, praying that he could not detect the hopeful note in her voice. He shook his head.
“Am no goin’ anywhere the night,” he replied. Caillic bit her tongue. The first time in so long she wanted her husband to leave her alone at night, and the first time he decided instead to stay. She nodded, then glanced at Struan, sure that her disappointment would betray her.
Struan, though, was too lost in his food to dwell on the subtleties of his wife’s mannerisms. He did not speak another word until the bowl was empty.
“A fair would lie doon, wife, the day wis long,” he muttered eventually. Caillic nodded again. He stood from the table, dressed in his nightclothes, and rolled into his broken bed. He was snoring within minutes.
Caillic cursed him. Had he caught a whiff of rebellion on the stuffy, broth-scented air? Perhaps news of the encounter on the beach had reached even the men of the town. He kept snoring. He slept so soundly. She could hardly believe it, that for so long she had relied on the lull of the waves on lonely, restless nights, and for so long Struan had spent those nights with Malvina Blair. And how many others? She could hear Malvina’s laugh, and see the broken bed. Surely there were others.
Before she could stop herself, she found herself carried by light steps to the foot of Struan’s bed. She watched him for a few moments. His deep, steady breaths assured her that he would not wake. She dropped to her knees and peered at the chest. The huge lock was ornate, incongruous upon the poorly assembled, unvarnished oak.
But there was no key. At least, Struan had told her so on their first night together when he had still cherished his young wife desperately, when she had still trusted him with her life. In those days, he would not have left his wife alone in an empty bed for all the world. Now, even in his absence, Caillic could not bring herself to sleep in that bed. Could she remember the night, the moment things had changed between them? No. Had there been one action, one indiscretion of hers that had caused it? She could not think of any. It had been gradual, she was sure. For the first time, she knew that the fault had been his. He had changed. He had hardened against her.
Perhaps, as time had worn on and the magic of their first night had faded, the lock of the chest might have rusted or cracked. She watched her own hand move, seemingly of its own accord, and reach out to try it. Her heart raced as her fingers wrapped themselves around the latch. She felt the weight of the lid as her wrist jerked it upwards and watched as the ancient lock crumbled and came free. The lid tipped back. The contents were exposed. Her mind registered pale brown. A pelt of some kind. It conjured the image of the waves lapping the shore, the scent of salt, the feeling of family, of belonging. Her heart began to pound and her hands to shake. She stretched out both hands. As she felt the silky, speckled skin between her fingers, a wave of recognition began to lap over her body. It started at her feet, spreading throughout her very being, stopping only when it reached her heart which now echoed the song of the skin. She was staring, she realised, at herself, her true self, that had been lost an age ago. She was not Caillic, goodwife of Struan the great merchant of Orkney, and a Christian. She was Caillic of the sea. She was of an order older than man.
She took herself in her arms and made the short walk from the cottage to the shore. Not a thought entered her mind of Struan. She cared not whether he woke or slept on. She loosed salt-stiffened corsets, letting her shifts fall to her ankles, and breathed for the first time in ten years. Her sisters were waiting for her. She shrouded herself in her pelt, inhaling her scent, and stepped into the shallows. A strong set of whiskers replaced the pale freckles on her nose. The wealth of golden hair gave way to still-damp brown fur. Her pallid, almost translucent skin was gone - all traces of the weakness of humanity disappeared. Her skin was strong now. It would protect her. The salt water danced around her body. A welcome home.
She turned back only once. She saw Struan racing down the beach, face contorted in rage, shrill cries muted by the sound of the waves. He had trapped her. He had betrayed her. A grave mistake. Men ought never to disrespect the sea, or its daughters. Without another second's hesitation, she turned into the wind, feeling it ripple through her fur, and dove.
Caillic, the selkie, swam through the shoals in search of cockles and sea snails.
by Thea Mair
Elliot Douglas, outgoing Editor-in-Chief, reviews Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, the last of this year’s Mermaids productions.
O tempora, o mores – I am now old enough that this semesterhas seen a number of re-runs of Mermaids shows which took place in my firstyear in St Andrews – amongst them TwelfthNight, The Importance of BeingEarnest and now Edward Albee’s seminal 1962 play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Some plays, of course, are wellworthy of re-visiting, and it was a joy to watch another version of this showfor my last ever theatre review in this town. To put it plainly, this is one ofmy favourite plays, and seeing it adeptly staged by Charlie Flynn and his teamwas a wonderful way to bow out of the St Andrews theatre scene. Despite someslight incongruity in acting styles, this production did not disappoint.
As Flynn pointsout in the director’s note, the play is – quite simply – not easy. Running tothree hours of wordy, drunken dialogue, Woolfrequires dedicated, focused actors who are afforded little let-up. The castrose to the occasion admirably and in the three long acts, not once did Inotice anyone coming out of character or slipping up a line. George Watts andAnnabel Steele created an originally nuanced version of the O.G.couple-from-hell, George and Martha. Often these characters are reduced tobickering stereotypes of themselves, especially in the opening act, but for Steeleand Watts the keyword was subtlety.
Watts’ quietenergy, suggestive of years of repressed caged anger and resentment, made themoments where George really does lose control all the more powerful. On morethan one occasion, where I would have expected Watts to shout, he opted insteadfor a hoarse, calm whisper. This had the audience leaning towards the stage inorder to catch every word. His bowed body language and self-conscious handmovements hinted at an advanced middle age, without labouring the point. Combinedwith his perfect timing and clear understanding of the wit of the character, thiswas a truly astonishing performance of an incredibly difficult role.
Similarly, Mermaids’ stalwart Steele did not disappoint. Again, she brought an intimacy and genuineness not always seen in performances of the "braying" Martha. She retained a weary control of the character even in her most off-the-wall moments, reminding the audience of the most important conceit of the play – that, in some way, the viciousness of George and Martha’s dynamic is nothing new, perhaps a drama which is played out every weekend. Martha has perhaps the most complex journey of any character, going from nit-picking wife to sexy seductress to a broken woman within the course of one evening. Steele’s performance allowed the audience to empathise with this sad woman even in moments where her actions verged on the downright evil. The famous “Getting angry, baby?” speech (which even Liz Taylor approached as a competition in how many decibels can be reached) was freshly quiet and her third act “recitation” had me (predictably) in a flood of tears. I laud her immensely for this mature take on the part.
The foils of George and Martha come in the shape of the younger Nick and Honey, played by Griffin Godsick and Brittany Barwise. In many ways, these parts are even more difficult than the older couple, requiring just as perfect timing and understanding of complex characters while also calling for the ability to react to the “fun and games” of George and Martha. While both actors maintained solid characterisation, I was left a little disappointed by their limited scope. Godsick, looking to all intents and purposes like a cross between a Kennedy and a Ken doll, was suitably smarmy as the successful, handsome Nick, but I could have done without his self-conscious glances at the audience and repetitive facial expressions as he reacted to George and Martha. Barwise similarly left me wanting something more. Honey is an incredibly difficult role to keep realistic: she spends most of the play almost too intoxicated to speak legibly and her reactions to the others are deliberately childlike. Barwise maintained the character fantastically and played well in the more absurd comedic moments, but where the dark history of Honey’s hysterical pregnancy is revealed I would have preferred a more subtle take, especially given the parallels the character is supposed to draw with Martha. Whether these aspects of the performance came through Flynn's direction or the actors' choices, the play definitely took on a more pantomime-like feel when this couple were on stage.
The play, ideally suited to the claustrophobic Barron, was beautifully staged, with appropriately cluttered set dressing and frumpy, early '60s costumes. The show calls for little technical prowess, but everything ran smoothly in that department and the music of the time period was a nice touch. All in all, it moved me as it should. There are few plays which are so low-key which can maintain the attention of a 50-strong audience for over three hours on a Friday night, but judging from the gasps and standing ovation with which the show ended, this one certainly did. I commend the cast and crew for bringing such a fantastic play to life with alacrity, charm and a big dollop of pathos.
Lucy Robb reflects on the impact of the 'Rainbow Magic' series on her as a young reader, reminding us that we all started somewhere.
I had been trying to think of a suitable response to this theme for quite some time, weighing weighty intellectual and aesthetically-pleasing works of literary creation and invention and trying to establish their life-defining impact. It slowly dawned on me that, actually, my answer perhaps was not going to be as highbrow as the others of this series. If I was going to be completely honest with myself, the answer was hot pink and sparkly, and charmingly emblazoned with a segment of a rainbow arching across the bottom far right corner. Yes, the truth to be told is that the book that has probably had the most far reaching impact on my life belongs to that remarkable series ‘The Rainbow Fairies’ written by Daisy Meadows. ‘Daisy Meadows’ being in fact four separate individuals; Narinder Dhami, Sue Bentley, Linda Chapman and Sue Mongredien. The Rainbow Fairies branched out into quite an extensive enterprise, with The Weather Fairies, The Party Fairies, The Jewel Fairies, The Pet Keeper Fairies and many, many, many more following suit. There has even been a ‘Meghan the Wedding Sparkle Fairy’. But yet, what can I say, it was the start of my love of literature and a completely unquenchable addiction to books (much to the detriment of my bank account, but perhaps of benefit to my mind). The storylines of these books are fairly straightforward: Kirsty Tate and Rachel Walker are young girls who are best friends. They typically go on holiday or on some kind of outing, only to encounter one lone fairy of a group of seven who needs their help. They are at risk of losing their magic due to the devious machinations of Jack Frost, the archvillain of the tale, and his goblin groupies. The goblins normally have stolen some kind of special object or talisman which the girls then endeavour to recover, only encountering Jack Frost at the series crescendo in the final book of the series. Naturally, once having defeated old Frostie and his clumsy crew, Kirsty and Rachel are duly rewarded with a trip to Fairyland where its monarchs congratulate them and give them a ‘thank you’ gift and souvenir such as a snowglobe (I think that was the Weather Fairies, if you are at all interested). This may all sound quite simple, but this was what got me reading. I used to absolutely loathe learning to read, many a scream and outburst of tears was brought on during a singular rendition of The Cat Sat on the Mat or one of the Biff, Chip and Kipper books of the Magic Key series. I struggled to decipher all these meandering squiggles, memorising that when the line curved around and then down in a little dash it meant ‘ah’ or that a certain wiggly formation was apparently synonymous with a dog. This all seemed rather pointless, especially when at the end of the day all you had learnt was that at some point a cat had sat on a mat somewhere, then had somehow instantaneously grown in size to be labelled as fat, and that an unfortunate rodent was now to be found underneath the aforesaid floor ornament. To a five or six-year-old me, this was all quite ridiculous and a waste of time, thank you very much. This changed when a visiting family friend left behind her copy of Amber the Orange Fairy. As the knowledgeable of you might know, this wasn’t even the first book of the series (that honour belongs to Ruby, the Red fairy), but it was where my love of literature started nonetheless. It was probably the cover that first attracted me, I loved trying to draw fairies, princesses and mermaids and I think I wanted to copy the fairy, hovering in all her orange-jumpsuited glory, and the flourish of her high ponytail. It was the tale, however, that transfixed me. It was filled with excitement, fairies, friendship and with all the comfort of a happy ending. I was hooked. I promptly set off on reading to discover the fate of the Rainbow Fairies, and from there to the Weather Fairies and so on until I then began to encounter other books and other stories. Ultimately even though I now read Virginia Woolf, T.S Eliot, David Foster Wallace and other such eminently respected writers, it gives me no shame to admit where I started. After all, if you look up quotes from Amber The Orange Fairy on Goodreads, the only word that comes up is ‘magical’: and that is what it was to me once, and what books are to me still. Lucy Robb
In Phoebe Roberts' 'The Darkest Hour is Just Before Dawn', a girl's mind drifts back to the days when she used to dance as she lies awake with insomnia. This piece was selected as the short story winner for the Tribe's creative writing competition last semester.
For a long time I used to go to bed early. It was an easy little pattern, to go to bed early in New York, the place known as the city that never sleeps. By day I danced and took the 2/3 line from the downtown platform at the 72nd street station towards Brooklyn, towards school, rising on weary legs at the familiar call of “Borough Hall, Borough Hall, next stop Hoyt Street!” beneath the constancy of opening and closing train car doors. By night I thought of dancing and occasionally tried to stick my finger down my throat. At the hour of ten or eleven sleep is simple when there is nothing left in your body but pain, pain in little ecclesiastical aches which cry out to remind you that you are a ballerina (“perfection’s broken heart”), which cry out as if to sing again all the fallen notes which you’ve borne in your every last limb and finger. Sleep, with Tchaikovsky in my head and bloodied blisters on my toes, was indeed very simple.That all stopped suddenly when dancing came to an end, and I tried to sleep again, only there was still Tchaikovsky in my head, still aches in my every last limb and finger; but now they were crying for nothing, for the notes which fell and died and lived anew somewhere outside of them. Days passed as the cry in the night lessened and lessened, and went silent. At first the silence only kept me up an hour or two later, ringing like a shrill alarm clock left unattended. Then three, four, five hours later, it went on ringing still.I don’t think it’s too good for a person to be up all night. Especially not me. I have too much I could think over. Sometimes I believe that being unable to fall asleep must be punishment for all the years, the dancing years, that I slept very well and didn’t need to remember anything other than to point my feet (which in the end I didn’t seem to do too well either). Now, lying here with wide eyes, I feel as though I could be twelve again or some age like that, because everything I once forgot I remember over and over. Over and over.I tell myself Nabokov was an insomniac, and make note to look up what other geniuses suffered from habitual sleeplessness - or, as the Oxford English Dictionary defines it, habitual sleeplessness (semicolon) inability to sleep - in the morning. The Oxford English Dictionary also says that the origin of the word insomnia is early 17th century: from Latin, from insomnis ‘sleepless’, from in- (expressing negation) + somnus ‘sleep’. I wish I remembered more Latin. Dead language and all. I studied it for three years in middle school and not even the dregs of the dative declension remain within me today. The only things I can remember with any clarity are my sixth-grade Latin teacher chastising me once in front of the whole class for momentarily wavering in my belief of the Greek Gods, and that he died suddenly before he could grade my final project. It was the best project I ever made: a model of Pompeii in a glass box, with the ruins on the bottom half and sand resting on a shelf up top, so that when you looked in you could see the whole city buried beneath the ash and pumice. I even went to this baking store downtown to buy all these miniature plastic figures and vases and columns. I spent hours dusting them in a coat of thin black paint to give that “buried alive” effect. It wound up being very heavy, and I had to walk with it the five blocks to my middle school while making sure the shelf of sand stayed in place so that Columbus Avenue would not suffer the same fate. I knew it was an A, A+ quality Pompeii, and all my classmates knew it too as soon as I unveiled the box to Mr. - Mr. my-since-deceased-sixth-grade-Latin-teacher. It was the last time I ever saw him. They didn’t even bother to tell us that he was sick and had died. He disappeared and we knew. That year everyone in the class ended up receiving a final grade of B+. I guess some of them just got lucky. Meanwhile, my Pompeii was forgotten, abandoned to further decay.I wonder now if he was visibly sick and I just didn’t know how to tell. Pretty soon after that I would know exactly what a sick person looks like, but not then, not yet. Maybe if I had, I would have spent a lot less time painting those plastic cake decorations.I tried to talk this all over with my older sister, Amanda. My sleep problems, not the sixth grade, or any sick people. Amanda is a great sleeper and was, in her time, an exceptional Latin student. Tonight, it was still early when I went into her room, and she was up reading with the lamp on. I sat on the foot of the bed and spoke.“What do you think about when you’re trying to fall asleep?”If she was disturbed by my presence she didn’t move in the slightest to show it. She hardly even turned her head from her book.“I don’t. I just fall asleep. Or I breathe. And then I’m asleep.”She said it as though it were the only answer ever imaginable for such a question. Like that, coming from her, it almost made sense.She didn’t ask me what I think about when I am trying to fall asleep. If she had I don’t know what I would have told her. I think of New York, of dancing, of the 72nd street subway station, of all the music I used to dream of dancing to, of some of the people I used to know. I think of each and every other night when, from the blackness of whatever room I inhabited then, the very same visions burned impossibly bright and far. I couldn’t have said all that though. I would tell her I was thinking of sheep. But she never asked me anyhow.That was hours ago. A short while later I saw her light flicker out beneath my door, settling our flat into complete darkness. I have barely moved since. I feel my arms and legs and heart pinned by a certain shrill, ceaseless ringing. Why my sixth grade Latin class and all the sick people I knew entered my mind tonight, I cannot say. I didn’t want them. I only wanted Tchaikovsky and the fallen notes and the call of “Borough hall, Borough Hall, next stop Hoyt Street.” I’ll have to keep on thinking of them, so that when that night comes when they finally return in all their fullness, as those earlier memories now have, I’ll be ready to welcome them with open arms. I didn’t know to do that before. I didn’t think to do that. And now I am awake to it all again, awake, awake, awake.... I am lying here and an old song is playing upon my head, with the lyrics that go:While I'm far away from you my babyI know it's hard for you my babyBecause it's hard for me my babyAnd the darkest hour is just before dawn.Each night before you go to bed my babyWhisper a little prayer for me my babyAnd tell all the stars aboveThis is dedicated to the one I loveThis is dedicatedThis is dedicated to the far away girl who rode the 2/3 train and stuck her finger down her throat and spent her days dancing on the points of her toes. I think I almost love her, in this darkest hour, as I lay drifting away from sleep, writing to all the stars above. "Insomnia" by Alyssa L Miller is licensed under CC by 2.0
Over the course of my (admittedly relatively short) lifetime, I’ve witnessed several literary trends staunchly latched onto by young adult audiences. These include the influx of YA magical realism titles like Twilight and The Mortal Instruments as well as the almost bizarre popularity of science-fiction dystopian novels that seemed to result from the success of The Hunger Games franchise. Over the past few years, a new literary trend has risen: minimalist poetry. Anyone with an Instagram account would be able to recognise it on sight-- characterised by short lines of free verse sans most punctuation, usually organised into one stanza, and almost always rendered in one of the eighty typewriter fonts available to download onto Microsoft Word. It’s been dubbed “Instapoetry”, that name itself more witless than the trend.There are a few major players in this literary trend. I’m most familiar with R. H. Sin, Atticus, and the queen herself: Rupi Kaur. In all fairness, the popularity of these writers must be due in part to their social media presence and the ubiquity of a pristine aesthetic across Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr. However, if I see another post featuring Kaur’s debut poetry collection, Milk and Honey, next to a mug of tea and/or a plate with a croissant on it, I’m going to lose my mind. That being said, this kind of “pop” poetry both looks cool and addresses a relatable subject matter for young adults. Flipping through any of the most popular poetry books since 2015, you’ll probably stumble upon something undoubtedly clout-worthy. It’s pretty accessible, too, when compared to some of the most well-regarded poetry by scholars today (read: “The Waste Land” by T. S. Eliot). The appeal of poetry is, therefore, well understood. It’s nice to look at, it’s engaging, and it’s fairly comprehensible. But is it good?Okay, so, pop poetry is perhaps not the best material I’ve ever read. But, it does possess some entertainment value and I think a lot of it is pretty, too. Not everyone wants to count iambic feet or evaluate the implications of Petrarchan versus Elizabethan sonnets when they’re trying to enjoy whatever collection they’re reading. Whilst public fascination with poetry often lies in deciphering how figurative devices and form contribute to overall meaning, a poem doesn’t need to be overly convoluted to be interesting. Indeed, that specific genre of elaborate poetry is probably to blame for causing its own reputation for being elitist; it’s more trouble than it’s worth for anyone who doesn’t have the time for the conventions of frivolous academia. That isn’t to say that the likes of Allen Ginsberg, John Donne, and Maya Angelou aren’t worth the read either (my personal favourite poet will always be Edna St Vincent Millay), but the literary community certainly has enough room for pop poetry. It’s still possible to analyse the structure and composition of pop poetry as well as to appreciate it, even though it might not look how renowned poetry is apparently supposed to.Moreover, the rise of contemporary minimalist poetry actually has a lot in common with most past literary movements in that it is being evaluated based only on a small number of poets. Just because this genre of poetry seems fairly centralised at the moment, it would be extremely unfair of me to assess every new age poet on the same level, just to assign the trend itself an appraisal. Writers who are a part of the same movement are not necessarily interchangeable with one another. In my personal opinion, R. H. Sin is a trash poet whose works simultaneously read as contrived, patronising, and lacking any discernable vision whatsoever. He published four books in 2017 alone, and I really wonder how much quality work is actually being produced after, maybe, book two. By contrast, I do like Rupi Kaur. Her work is honest and clean-cut, her two collections scattered with blink-and-you’ll-miss-it fragments of wisdom. Recently, she’s begun to break out of the newly developed mold of minimalist poetry she helped develop herself, proving her capability to evolve as a writer. Her stuff is fun to read, so I’m going to continue reading it. Although Sin and Kaur use similar styles and social media marketing techniques, their works are incomparable.In determining the worth of minimalist poetry, it must be noted that whilst it’s recently become almost inescapable as a medium, minimalism as a poetic style has definitely existed for quite some time. Like, guys, what do you think haikus are? Likewise, one of the most noteworthy minimalist poems I’ve had the chance to read was written in 1962 by William Carlos Williams. It’s titled “The Red Wheelbarrow” and here it is, quoted in full: so much dependsupona red wheelbarrowglazed with rainwaterbeside the whitechickens. That’s it. That’s the poem. Today, contemporary minimalist poets receive disparagement because, to be honest, their poetry doesn’t read as being all that complicated or thought-provoking. If this were actually the case, then Mr. Williams would be out of luck (and not just because he died like 50 years ago). What I’m trying to say is this: there is no point in denouncing the contemporary minimalist poetry movement for certain attributes if we aren’t going to hold works that are better established in literary tradition to similar standards.Correspondingly, our cultural tendency to condemn any new phenomenon the youth flocks to is terribly boring, and the hate that young poets receive is unreasonable. Young people have been influenced by the internet to do dumber things than buy poetry books. In fact, I’d argue that this is one of the best products of our aesthetic driven internet today: a new appreciation for books and literature and creating art in unorthodox ways. During the former part of the 2000’s, reading poetry wasn’t exactly the coolest way to spend your free time. Now, we’re re-inventing poetry as a literary genre on our own terms, as something synergetic to the presentation of our online identities and consequently of our real ones.
“To The Books That Made Us”, Cate S. Casalme’s series on pieces of literature that impressed themselves upon you during your life, continues with an interview with Audrey Sims on her recollection of Will
There are moments in our lives, where even the most dubious cynic must admit, that can feel rather serendipitous. They are the moments that often feel innocuous or troublesome but end up becoming a turning point in our lives — a pivotal role in the climax of our story. It can be anything from the spontaneous decision to go to a party where you ended up meeting your best friend, or a reluctant decision to take that class that ended up convincing you to pursue a certain career. And sometimes, that innocuous thing could be a book. As a kid, there comes a point where books go from being lines on a paper that entertain and amuse us, to becoming words that really truly resonate within ourselves. Audrey Sims was 13 when she first read Will Grayson, Will Grayson. At the time, Audrey was an avid John Green reader, and his collaborative book with David Levithan came into her life at exactly the right time. Not only was she dealing with the awkwardness that comes with entering the teenage years, but with the passing of her brother as well. For her, the book was a solace from the reality of her world. Like all young adult, coming of age novels, it is hard to summarise Will Grayson, Will Grayson. As you may have guessed, the novel centres around Will Grayson and Will Grayson- two boys from different sides of Chicago, with one voice being written solely by one author. Leading two very different lives, their paths intersect one cold night and find their stories overlapping and hurtling into very new and different directions. The book is all coming of age filled with romance, drama, and enough tear-jerking moments to fill a bathtub. Echoing the words of our Books Editor, Henry Crabtree, in his 2018 Books Section Introduction, words don’t mean anything at all unless you let them and form your own meaning behind them. Everyone experiences a book differently: we all may have read the same words, but the meaning we derive and the feelings we experience won’t be the same. Even a person reading the same book a second time experiences it differently; maybe the words that made their heart clench before are the same that makes them sigh wistfully now. For Audrey, Will Grayson, Will Grayson was an escape. It allowed her to leave her own life and get lost in another’s. However, the book later became an inspiration for her. It gave her the confidence to be who she wanted to be and pushed her out of her comfort zone. It’s what convinced her to go to a boarding school away from her family, to study abroad in a new country, until eventually she found herself, here, at St Andrews. A theme for all of us in this new academic year is taking chances: whether you are only just starting at a new school and making new friends, or learning new things both academically and inwardly. I’m sure we are all afraid and unsure of the unknown that lies before us, so that we have become stuck in a metaphorical writer’s block in our story. So whenever you find yourself at this moment in your life, I'd like you to recall the words of David Levithan, “[You’re] trying to figure out if you want to fall, or how and when you’re gonna land, and I gotta tell you, friends, to stop thinking about the landing, because it’s all about falling.” Audrey Sims and Cate S. Casalme
Way back in 2016 I slogged through Ayn Rand’s magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, in order, it was hoped, to secure a fat scholarship from the Ayn Rand Institute, an institute which, curiously, exists. I didn’t wind up winning any of their scholarship tiers, regrettably still a moocher. However, after scudding through every single chapter of the novel, I found myself in a strange sort of nirvana. Not because I’d been enlightened in any way by Rand’s objectivist ideology, god no. No, it was because I had acquired, in what can be summed in one word as an ‘ordeal’, unbridled license to upbraid her strawmanning, onanistic, fantasyland-anarcho-capitalist brick of a fucking woodland’s worth of paper. All right, look, I’ll start off charitably. The writing — I mean the line-by-line stuff, not the narrative — is not half bad. The descriptive language often evokes the appreciation of the industrial milieu — its mechanistic patterns, its discernible rhythms, rather poetic for a novel about (purported) rationalism, but entirely fitting for its 1957 publication when the idea of the American Dream remained in vogue, more so perhaps for a Russian e?migre? like Rand. Of course, this is the very point where the novel crumbles. The American Dream never really had roots in reality, save maybe for white middle class dudes, but even for that slice of the populace the Dream has been fleeting for a while now. We arrive now at Atlas Shrugged’s central conceit: that greed is the ultimate social good. It’s actually somewhat difficult to treat this book on its face due to how ridiculously removed from reality it is. Hank Rearden (along with Dagny Taggart, who, like Rand eventually does, I’ve chosen to sideline) occupies most of the narrative as idealistic everyman — idealistic because he is the American Dream made manifest, working his way as a young man from common labourer to industrial titan. This is a myth of the highest order, back in the 1950s to a degree, and in the present day undoubtedly. But let’s not dwell on Rearden’s commoner’s past — he’s got his prominence as the mind behind Rearden Metal, not as a wage slave. “You have been called greedy,” Francisco d’Anconia says to Rearden, one capitalist to another, “for the magnificence of your power to create wealth. [...] You, who've created abundance where there had been nothing but wastelands and helpless, starving men before you, have been called a robber.” But that’s not the truth, is it? Wastelands? Wealth comes from somewhere, Francis. Rearden’s wealth, the wealth of all the Good Guy Capitalists in the novel, come from their labour force, the earth itself ... it doesn’t magically appear due to an individual’s outstanding effort.
So you think that money is the root of all evil? Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. [...] Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?
Christ, there is just so much wrong in here. What you’re reading is a bludgeon with the message, whittled into its side all caps, ‘Trickle down economics works’. Money, of course, figures importantly, not because it is an invaluable tool of exchange (it’s an abstract concept, essentially a government-sanctioned IOU — for all Rand’s haranguing of governmental interference, it’s odd that she can’t see that money is in fact impossible without a system of government, not a network of producing men), but because it’s a veritable dick-measuring contest for these dudes who, if they can quantify their material holdings, can never, ever have enough. ‘Enough’ is another consideration, for as the world has revolved and evolved, we’ve come to discover oddly enough that our resources are finite. We live in what could be called a closed system, however globalised it might be — things run out, things can be expended (applying not only to ‘money’ but to things like oil, gas, the environment — the expenditure of which Rand, shrugging, could give a shit about if it means getting up the ladder). Wealth’s gotta come from somewhere, yeah? Oh, you’re not a Rearden, a d’Anconia, a John Galt? Have you, like, tried trying harder? If you don’t try harder, you’re probably just a moocher. Forget generational wealth, wealth disparity, the ballooning cost of (yet increasing necessity of) university education — head starts the size of a planet mean nothing if you pull yourself up by your bootstraps (a phrase which, originally, meant attempting the physically impossible)!"Tea Party tax day protest 2010" (CC BY 2.0) by Fibonacci Blue
Because, really, why am I complaining about a novel written in the 1950s? It is just bad. I mean, Rand’s editor should’ve cut it by half just for the sake of simple concision for a start, but does that warrant this article? Probably, because we know it still has some popularity, and we know who praises it: in the US, at least, several prominent officials of the Republican Party (of course it comes back to American politics, in a UK student magazine!) explicitly adore this book and Rand’s philosophy: Paul Ryan, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz (hey, this guy’s up for reelection in my state of Texas!), Donald Trump to name a few. And certainly you can see Rand’s objectivist philosophy at play in their policies, from the recent tax cuts for the wealthy, to eyeing welfare cuts when their ‘it’ll pay for itself’ tax cuts bombed, to demonising universal healthcare, even to abandoning basic respectful discourse in favour of blindly vilifying anyone disagreeing with them a hair’s breadth to the left. Perhaps Atlas Shrugged’s one redeeming social value is that it offers insight into Trumpian politicians. If a friend or anyone you love expresses admiration for Rand, her philosophy, or her novels, a concerned eyebrow should be raised with such speed and ferocity that it in fact leaves a dent in your ceiling. Because they aren’t just saying they found a neat-o way of looking at the world — what they’ve done is discovered a method of rationalising their self-serving assholery. If they get theirs and you don’t, well...sorry to say, it’s theirs now, so get bent.
Scott Fitzgerald is a man who created characters that seemed to drown in their past and their future all at once; perhaps because he himself seemed to do the same. The Beautiful and Damned is not Fitzgerald’s best known work, that will forever be The Great Gatsby, but the books are eerily similar. Anthony Patch is a Princeton socialite caught up in his illusions of self-importance and smoke screen intelligence. The protagonist of the book, he is far from a hero, seeking solace in the arms of another while he is training for the First World War (that he never actually fights in) and seeking solace at the bottom of a bottle upon his return. Gloria Gilbert is beautiful, desired and has a tendency to see men as toys to be flung around at her leisure. The book’s main focus is on Anthony and Gloria’s relationship but not in the way that Fitzgerald portrays Gatsby’s with Daisy. Gloria is every bit as much on a pedestal as Daisy was; but so is Anthony. This is what makes their relationship so fascinating. They are two self-absorbed characters, so focused on themselves it is any wonder they have time to dedicate to others. Perhaps it is this love, so tumultuous and complicated in its aesthetically fascinated simplicity, that is the best part of the novel. Anthony and Gloria love nothing more than themselves, but they love each other second best. Their large egos cause them to come into conflict and hate each other while also accompanying this with a fierce love. While it could be said that such a relationship could survive off of a respect for the other’s strength, this is not the case as they are both inherently weak characters. The bulk of their relationship is spent planning a future that they fail to do anything to bring about. They are attracted by the starry-eyed glance in the other’s eyes, all while pretending to have their feet more firmly on the ground than all of those around them. The present seems to elude them while their past clings to them, and they to it. Gloria cannot seem to look beyond her days as a young beautiful socialite unless it is to talk of the acting career she plans on having. Anthony talks of writing great works but spends all of his time speaking to his friends from university that he loves and yet is bored by all at once. While there is much talk of work that they will do, golf clubs they will join, houses they will buy in Europe, trips they will take, the characters seem to be more enthralled by their words and the conviction of their plans than they ever could be with reality. This is truly exposed when Anthony’s mistress utters the words: “I don’t want just words. If that’s all you have for me, you’d better go” since this really is all that Anthony has to offer her: words all dressed up with nowhere to go. Neither one of the characters has a purpose, another theme in Fitzgerald’s works. The characters themselves even declare that life is meaningless: “I shall go on shining as a brilliantly meaningless figure in a meaningless world.”. Their actions support their words. Their lack of purpose means a corresponding lack in morals which led to the choice of the title: The Beautiful and Damned. Anthony is seen as being attractive but only in certain moments, much like the life-style he represents, while Gloria is seen as gloriously beautiful and damningly obsessed with it. Her beauty is her ticket to the world and she cares nothing of the repercussions her flirting causes for those around her. Including the man she loves. Much as with Gatsby, Fitzgerald seems to argue that inherited wealth is at the crux of the problems for these characters. Anthony has yet to inherit his fortune from his grandfather but it is the knowledge that this wealth is coming that propels him to rest on his family’s laurels and not seek to better himself or the world around him. Gloria waits day in and day out to become more beautiful. She lives to be admired and can only survive in a world where she sees herself as being admired more and more for something that she inherited and nothing that she made happen herself. Morally and mentally weak, the pair look to the world to hand them their due while shouting from the rooftops that the world cares about no one. Reflective of the generation who lived for the parties and the empty glitz and the glam, Anthony and Gloria float from party to party, ignoring the reality that many that came before them worked so hard to bring about. Fitzgerald’s own tombstone contains the phrase: “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past” and this is a phrase that, no doubt, Gloria and Anthony could find some affinity with. The current is the present, getting in the way of their struggle to go back to a time that has long slipped through their fingers. Much like a museum of the mind, the past is there to be seen but not to be touched, no matter how much alcohol or desire are thrown into the backs of the rowers. Perhaps this was what haunted Fitzgerald the most just as it haunted the paper people figments of hi imagination. Fitzgerald once said “Show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy” but it appears he was equally capable of writing a tragedy with only the beautiful and the damned to inspire him.
Sprinkle some fairy dust in your hair, Tinker Bell!
Strap that latex headband on snug, Superwoman!
Click-clack your shiny, new shoes, Dorothy!
And, get your hat on straight, Cowgirl!
She grins brightly, parades her costume politely in circles around the school parking
Innocence is a blind spot.
At night she runs from house to house and
knocks on pumpkin’d front doors holding out her
hand to reap more.
Her legs never tire.
No matter the number of lawns she traverses, she still rehearses, “Trick or treat!”
A candy-corn witch stands on tip-toe, sweets just under her nose.
Gumdrops, lollipops, lemon tops —
“Just take one.”
She obeys. She obeys. She obeys.
October 31st: a high-schooler who once dressed as the princess Cinderella now confesses
that she’d rather be a sexy school girl.
She feels their attention on her body,
like rough, roving hands.
Who could ever blame them?
Apprehension creeping in that
teachers have branded her a class distraction.
But, that’s her fault.
Her body. Their body. Her body. Their body. Her body.
Like a boomerang.
The clothes stick to her like a soaking reminder:
Don’t dress like a school slut and you won’t
be treated like one.
Fast forward four years: now dressed as a skeleton,
she waits for a text in tight spandex
from an old flame gone boozing a party apart.
It comes, eventually, two hours later: an intoxicated
“Come on, just one more bone”.
Through the screen, she hears the vulgar scratch of his voice,
a faint reality hidden behind his pun of choice.
So she chokes back the
tears then pretends at rejoice.
Her friends, a gathered audience, watch on—
laughing must mean good, must mean happy.
But, abuse is not flirty, not funny, not happy.
Abuse is a shackle, screwed tight by the bruise
of nights upon nights filled with more than just booze.
Halloween for her used to mean anything, everything she wanted to be—
a princess, superheroine, fairy, cowgirl.
A time when life’s promising did not cling to her dreams and
use her as a bargaining chip for sexual harassment,
wringing her imagination.
Because now all that society’s left is
Answer this: what’s the difference between ‘boo’ and “Boo!”
One’s a child, the other’s a trick.
If I had to pick one book which I would say changed my life, it would have to be The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger. I first discovered the novel when I was 13, right at the start of my adolescence, and the impact it had upon me was probably greater than any other book I have read, either before or since. Holden Caulfield put into words the chaotic mess of thoughts and feelings which had been building up inside me, but which I couldn't find the means to express. The novel gave me a vicarious, vital outlet for the loneliness, anger, anxiety, and sense of being an outcast which persisted through my teenage years; and helped me make some sense of the baffling, ass-backwards, seemingly insane world of adulthood. Even if a lot of that sense boiled down to “The world is shit and all adults are phony, jaded assholes”, the reassurance helped immensely. Between the pages of this unassuming little red-and-white book, I had found understanding and a like-minded ally, a mentor of a strange kind, and a friend. Catcher legitimised my thoughts, feelings, and beliefs at a time when it seemed like no-one else could or would, something which in turn allowed me to legitimise them to myself. Had I not picked up the novel, I doubt very much whether I would have become the person that I am today. Moreover, as I’ve gotten older, my affection for the novel and its open-armed acceptance of my teenage thoughts and feelings has left me with a deep, I hope indelible, respect for the opinions and feelings of young people. Salinger in no way stereotypes or talks down to his teenaged protagonist in his writing of him, and Catcher serves as a powerful reminder that, though they might seem juvenile to an adult mind, the thoughts, feelings, and opinions of children and adolescents are every bit as valid as those of older people. Even now, just over 10 years after picking up the novel for the first time in my high school English class, I get a flash of those old feelings, and of the immense relief I felt upon finding someone — even a fictional someone, even an author three times my age, of the opposite gender, from a country on the other side of the Atlantic which I’d never visited — who could relate to and validate them. Who could make me feel less alone. The other thing Catcher gave me was hope. Hope that there were other people in the world who saw and thought and felt in similar ways to myself, and that there was not only personal merit, but liberation and an immense joy in staying true to myself and my goals (one of which was then, and remains now, to write novels for teenagers). Dark as parts of the novel are, the enduring nature of hope and the maintenance and even reclamation of innocence is illustrated throughout. The scene involving the ducks of Central Park and the question of where they go during the winter, in addition to being hilarious, illustrates this powerfully. The simplicity of Holden’s question evokes the curiosity of a child, and plunges the adult reader, even just for a moment, back into the wonder and beauty of a world which age and worry have made banal and even ugly. Finally, one of my favourite things about The Catcher in the Rye is the fact that its meaning is deeply personal to each reader; no two people I’ve spoken to about the novel have come away with the same impression. I like to think of it like Marmite; a novel you either love, loathe, or are confused as to why anyone would want to even engage with this weird creation in the first place. The narrative quirkiness which provokes such divergent reactions in people is illustrated by the fact that the book, in any edition or format in which it is produced, has no blurb. The lack of expectation regarding what the reader is supposed to “get out” of the novel frees up each individual to just read the work as they find it, and make of it what they will; much as Holden does with life during his adventures in New York. In this way, Salinger’s text provokes a confrontation not between the reader and a theme or a character, but between the reader and their (perhaps much younger) self. …But this article is starting to sound like the English essay I’m currently procrastinating on, and not something Holden Caulfield would be at all thrilled to read about himself and his story! Whatever else The Catcher in the Rye is, it is side-splittingly funny; despite being published in 1951, Salinger’s razor-sharp satire and pithy descriptions of certain, universally recognisable personality types are as funny and relatable today as when the book was first published. This is one of the very few novels I have read which gripped me like a vice from the first word, and stayed with me long after I had finished it. I have read it cover to cover innumerable times, and always find something new to marvel at, some observation or image which remains strikingly relevant to my own life even now. I would recommend it to young adults aged 13-18, and anyone older who feels themselves still suitably in touch with their inner teenager. In conclusion…well, ironically enough, Salinger has once again summarised my feelings with characteristic incisiveness several pages into his novel: “What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.”
None of it really makes sense. The lines barely come together, looking more like a scribble than a carefully crafted illustration. The words rhyme, yet bear little resemblance to any poem within the literary canon. At first glance, the pages seem to reveal nonsensical musings designed for a nascent observer. Growing up, Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends was my portal. Once opened, the purple walls of my childhood room melted away, and up sprang the two-dimensional world made up of Silverstein’s scrawls from the corners of each page. I eagerly thumbed through the pages with chocolate-covered fingers, staining each corner with a brown thumbprint. The stories I attentively read had simple diction, yet they told of impossible wonders like flying boys and rats that ate cats. Glancing at my old, ragged copy from so many years ago, the binding magically opens to a particular poem. On a wrinkled yellow page, eight lines compose the stanza that I read nearly every day:
At the time, I honestly connected with this poem due to my temporary love of leprechauns. But over time, I started to understand how it describes a person’s ability to imagine something more spectacular than a chance encounter with a mischievous fairy leading her to a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Now I see that the poem describes a person who has not been handed many of life’s incredible opportunities, but who instead takes the initiative to create her own. After revisiting the poems, I discovered another artifact from my youth tucked inside the back cover. My old homemade bookmark, tattered and nearly illegible, inquired in bright pink Comic Sans, “What do you want to be?” The faint pencil markings barely disclose my response: “a magician.” Though I love a good magic trick, I truly yearned for the ability to turn my life into an adventure of my own design. These days, instead of dreaming up enchanting creatures, I spend my time scouring the internet for the cheapest way to see the Northern Lights or the coolest car to drive across the country, all in the hopes of making some magic of my own. This collection of poems serves as a guidebook for how I would like to live my life. The eponymous poem urges me to return to a time that combines majesty and mystery, and to find awesome wonder in the unknown. I must abandon the perfection and comfort that accompany the gray hue of an ordinary existence in favor of the bright and striking colors of invention and creativity—to go to where the sidewalk ends. Silverstein’s collection is still my portal, and so I strive to go to sleep a bit happier than I awoke by actively pursuing creativity in my day. Now that I am at university, I look to the future as an opportunity for joy rather than striving for conventional success. My plans often largely resemble those scribbled illustrations from my beloved copy, but I embrace the messiness as an exhilarating opportunity to be passionate about whatever I do. The sidewalk ends somewhere, and I will not be afraid to step off the edge, away from the safety nets that life has provided for me. Lydia Hoffman
Like this article? Interested in telling The Tribe about your own book that made you? In this series called “To The Books That Made Us” created by first year Caterina T. S. Casalme, pieces of literature big and small, academic or not, are discussed in terms of their effects on you. If you’d like to contribute to “To The Books That Made Us”, contact email@example.com.
UntitledI see no sunsets in my sleepBut this old cuneiform scrawlCome first frost, I’ve promised loves to keepBut then I must needs fall.For promised I my heart to keepBlackberry stained hands for spring,Soil in boots, roots not reaching deepAnd hemlock sleep to bring.To dare a peach would mean to reachToward old forks on my roadBut my physical form is failing meAnd has hidden things once showed.Honey words flow from our cup,If only I could care,Towards the sky, my eyes look up,Alone and wild, I stare.