A small poem unexpectedly got the attention of judges in a mini competition I joined in March 2023 soon after I returned to Cape Town. (I know that I still have to share stories about my trip to the USA to attend the 2023 AWP Conference and Bookfair – one of these days I promise to get around to that.)
You Were Never Alone
apologies to Sting
This is a way to mend
what I did not know was broken.
For how could someone missing
something like a leg or an arm
keep on running? Keep on flapping?
Yet you did, and further than anyone
ever dreamed of one born
beneath an angry star. You did
perhaps despite that absence
or because. Too late
now that all the feathers
have been pushed out
like titanium needles
through bone, through skin,
filament by filament drying
in the evening sun. Sting of dawn
a blessing, a promise of flight
of youth and all that would be lost.
So long ago.
So long to go.
This is what I sent to the AVBOB people when they asked for some background on the writing of the poem:
I always look at calls for submissions to journals and entries for competitions as both a game and a challenge. It just so happens that back in December 2022 I had written a poem that I thought might be a good fit with the AVBOB theme, so I entered that one. (I also wrote a new poem, but that one wasn’t as lucky.) “You were Never Alone” is a bit like a letter to myself, but as if I were someone else at the same time. It interchanges the “I” and the “you” and looks at a personal history as something in the past and still about to happen. In the subtitle I had to say “apologies to Sting,” as I borrowed a few images from him. The title of my very first book which was published in 1992, Beneath an Angry Star, comes from his song “Fragile” which goes “For all those born beneath an angry star, lest we forget how fragile we are.”
HERE IS THE LINK TO THE ANNOUNCEMENT AND THE WINNING POEMS; https://www.avbobpoetry.co.za/Blog/View/135