POETRY

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Anne Sikking b&w.jpg

BONE

an autobiographical study, this poem was produced for

an anthology of writing published in 2019 using material

from people living in, or connected with, El Segundo,

a community in the South Bay area of Los Angeles.

 

1

Sometimes I walk El Segundo and ask my unmoved heart

Why I fail to feel for my tender, shaky, start.

An embryo's soft cartilage, grows hard with calcite stone,

Ossifying slowly, as our frame becomes our own.

 

So it was with mine. In this place.

I seek a sign: her face, his face.

Those parents who made me,

From teenage passion banned,

Yet moved the wand of life, as tide upon the sand.

 

I'll wager some part of me will always be

Marked by ocean or any sea.

 

2

Sometimes I walk El Segundo and see beneath my feet

Circled stones, family names, of those I'll never meet.

Dunes roll westward, lift then fall, a sun sets beyond the view,

This town where I should belong, is space I never knew.

 

So it is; to be outside it.

Seize the Day; the key to ride it.

Elsewhere, I had to grow

Far from here. Not my choice.

Yet still came joy of life, as songbirds find their voice.

 

At this shore, a smell I know, from long ago,

Merges sweetly with sewage flow.

 

3

Sometimes I walk El Segundo, and look for folks like me,

Turn down Handprint Alley, and make a silent plea.

Perhaps a whisper in the palms, a tone within the wind,

Will touch my core, expose me, like some poor eel just skinned.

 

I have tried to dig for roots here,

To find any sprig or shoots near

Something to call my home.

Rise Great Spirit, look, see!

True sense of place! El Segundo is lodged in me.

 

My blood heart, from cells is grown. Let it be shown.

El Segundo is in my bone.

©copyright Blue Mariposa Media - reproduced here with kind permission

ARTHUR

written for a boy who was left to do some

painting on paper, for, when his mother

returned, his face, rather than the paper,

was all green.

I went to work with my paint

Neat 'n' tidy worker I ain't.

My mum calls me smarty

But really I'm Arty

Which you can tell by my lack of restraint.

©copyright Anne Sikking

BATTLECRY 

this was written for an anthology for vegan readers. I had some structural fun with the italicised rhyming grids in that they can be read side to side or up and down.

 

Can an ‘udder’ poem, of blood and pus,

Outrage, compel, and alter us?

Can we take strong words, make them scan,

To cancel out the stamp of man?

Can we forge a composition

That throws open cages, the beast’s grim prison?

Can we take a razor to the human’s face

Carve deep a template of enduring grace?

Can we blend together its age old scar

With boundaries that ebb from afar?

Can we engage a hopeless, weary heart?

Spark anew some shaky, tender start?

 

Go on.         Go on.        Go on.      Go on.

Be wrong.    No sun,      You con.   Eon.

And still       No rain,      Don’t try,  Your name.

Just kill.       Just pain.   Do lie.      Same, same.

 

Where in this is any sense?

What could fend off the false pretence?

What logic decides, that, over this?

What fool shouts kill over kiss?

Danger lurks at every turn.

If not the flood, then heat will burn.

Rising tides and stinking seas

Greet our dawns and fuel unease.

We are lost, done for. Heed the call!

We, the most dangerous of all. 

What’s the point?

The point that will lance the loss of hope?

The point that will unknot our hangman’s rope?

The point that will knit us the scope to cope?

 

No go.         No go           No go.         No go.

No show.    You know.      Low blow.   Cash flow

Too late.      Free range,   Go mad      So strange,

More hate.   Derange.      Iron clad.   Small change. 

 

Separation is the root word of sin. 

Separation bars animals as kin. 

They walk this earth, breathe our air, 

Need equal water, show level care. 

Last long the whales’ song, we say, 

Empty words to save the day, 

Or, complex tech and laws unite 

Let these be used to win the fight. 

I say, rise up, stoke our own beast heart 

Lost when we set them apart, 

Ate their muscle, fried their fat, 

All our woes can trace to that. 

I say, we have the wit, strength, imagination 

To engage our love for transformation. 

Simple. 

We, who see ourselves not called, but chosen.

Whose science hallows the rot it grows in. 

 

We, who have known ourselves beloved,

Whose stray minds place us a cut above.

 

We, whose mastery makes mosque and kirk,

Whose finer powers make art from work.

 

We, whose music knows a hejaz scale,

Scale too the mountains and unfurl the sail.

 

We, who have flown skies, risked every sea,

Claim holy visions, aspire to greatness, talk Trinity.

 

We who are weak, fragile, brittle,

Who have all at our mercy, yet show so little.

 

We, who run in a circle – 

a word with no rhyme 

Nor reason, lest love bind it,

No beginning, no end – like time. 

We. 

 

Do it.            Do it.           Do it.               Do it.

Don’t sit,      Get fit,         Admit              Your bit.

Do knit,        Fire lit         True grit.          Do it.

Use it.          Commit.      Don’t quit.       No shit.

©Anne Sikking - first published 2019 Vegan Tales, Vol.2 isbn 978-1-9993568-1-1 

BONE and BATTLECRY are two recently published poems. ARTHUR was written during COVID lockdown in 2021 when I generated a lot of material for children. This one, is in the limerick style.