sarahdoyle.co.uk - POETRY FOR PERFORMANCE AND PAGE
Below is a small selection of my poetry, which I hope visitors to this site will enjoy. All poems are © Sarah Doyle.
 
  
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“They are also portrayed [in art] on, or by, bridges, so explicit did the imaginative link seem [to Victorians] between the ‘fallen’ woman and her possible literal ‘fall’ thereafter as she jumps into the water to commit suicide.”
       – ‘The Fallen Woman’ exhibition notes, Foundling Museum 2016
 
 
Flounder
 
Barely a shock to the cocky mud-larks raking
the river-shore for spoils. Here is a ha’penny,
 
here a brooch, a snapped stem of gentleman’s
pipe, carved bone clagged with clay, but still
 
worth the pocketing. The Thames is a pickler,
preserving the city’s detritus in its own juices,
 
a broth of the unwanted. And here she is, fish
out of water flopped on the fore-shore, silver
 
skinned and belly up, a twist of saturated skirts
making a mermaid’s tail. Hardly Ophelia, no
 
weedy bouquets clasped in her un-ringed left
hand, the luxury of grand gestures beyond her
 
grasp. A proscenium sweep of bridge keeps
her obscenity from offending a god who’d
 
never heard of her. There is no baptism found
in these waters. No forgiveness gleaned in the
 
soupy tide. Only limbs, limp; the dampness
of new death: and the river’s uncleansed bride.
 
 
Published in “The Fenland Reed”, issue 3, Autumn 2016


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A Questionnaire for the Asteroid Belt
  
Are you (please tick):
 
  • A streak of embryonic stars?
  • A once-was planet’s last hurrahs?
  • A cart-wheel, stuck within a rut?
  • Rough diamonds, not quite made the cut?
 
  • An inter-planet gastric band?
  • A jumbled, shifting no-man’s land?
  • The heavens’ heaving hula-hoop?
  • An astronomic loop-the-loop?
 
  • An endless sky-borne running track?
  • A never-gaining chasing pack?
  • Unwanted cosmic articles?
  • Nomadic astral particles?
 
  • A vast, revolving promenade?
  • A far, fragmented knackers’ yard?
  • Conveyor-belt of ancient stones?
  • The Solar System’s broken bones?
 
  • A force that ever rearranges,
     to ring the skies, and ring the changes?

Published in the Poetry Society's Poetry News, 2012

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On Openness
 
Don’t open it, he said – it’s just for show.
The lid stays closed, a novelty-type gift.
So many things mankind need never know,
apparently.  I’m not allowed to lift
 
the lid.  Stays closed, a novelty-type gift?
A pointless wedding present – what’s the use?
Apparently I’m not allowed to lift
or shake the box – its contents might come loose.
 
A pointless wedding present – what’s the use?
A nervous wreck, I was; afraid to touch
or shake the box.  Its contents might come loose
there in my hands.  Temptation is too much.
 
A nervous wreck?  I was afraid to touch
the blasted thing.  I held it at arm’s length,
there in my hands.  Temptation is too much!
I swear, I fought the urge with all my strength.
 
The blasted thing!  I held it at arm’s length.
It bothered me – each night, I’d hardly sleep.
I swear, I fought the urge with all my strength,
and what harm would it do?  One tiny peep.
 
It bothered me each night.  I’d hardly sleep;
I had to scratch that itch.  Who’d ever guess,
and what harm would it do, one tiny peep?
If push should come to shove, I’d just confess.
 
I had to scratch that itch.  Who’d ever guess
my fingers trembled, fiddling with those locks?
If push should come to shove, I’d just confess,
I told myself – it’s just a poxy box.
 
My fingers trembled, fiddling with those locks.
As Zeus’s words came back, I eased the lid.
I told myself it’s just a poxy box –
who’d ever hear what I, Pandora, did?
 
As Zeus’s words came back, I eased the lid.
Don’t open it, he said – it’s just for show.
Who’d ever hear what I, Pandora, did?
So many things mankind need never know.

Commended, Winchester Poetry Prize, 2016

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The Sweeper’s Tale
 
It settles in miniscule drifts, colourful
as fairy-wings, and twice as fragile.
Sometimes, the wind takes it, peppering
pavements with specks of blue, pink, silver.
 
Horseshoe…
 
Skittering across church-steps, treading
a lucky path. Fortune. Favour. Tiny
paper facsimiles of their iron counterparts,
a U-shape made to hold promises.
 
Bell…

Music peals, vibrating a soundscape,
ripples of celebration spreading
irresistibly outwards. Rise, descent,
rise, descent. A ring for a ring.
 
Loveheart…
 
Two curves, rounding, combining,
coming to the same point: a single
meeting place in the soul’s geometry.
Hearts given and held and cherished.
 
Bow…
 
Loose ends reach to fold back on each other,
as knots are tied in never-ending loops.
Ornament and substance. Fibre enfolds
fibre in a lifetime’s embrace.
 
Horseshoe, bell, loveheart, bow…
I sweep the confetti that settles, like snow.
 
Published in Petals in the Pan anthology, Kind of a Hurricane Press, 2015
  
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I, the Moon
 
I punctuate your dome of jet;
demark your nights with rise and set.
Yet still the Planet Earth, below,
bathed in my star-bright lunar glow,
conspires to know my darker side –
to tread my skin. Just one small stride
to rob your heavenly antique
 
of its celestial mystique.
You wonder why I shroud my sphere
in shadow, thirteen times a year,
and choose to hide, in solitude,
a hostage to my monthly mood.
You sought to decimate my face,
to probe within my carapace,
 
presuming you could designate
your Moon, America’s last state.
Though cosmic violence marked my birth,
and I was wrought from Planet Earth,
is reclamation justified?
Is there no end to human pride?
And was it truly right or just
 
to plant your flag and map my dust?
My virgin state too much to bear –
a mountain climbed, because it’s there.
Yet, constant, carving out my course,
still tethered by an unseen force,
your scarred and pitted satellite
forgives you – and returns each night.

Published in Dreaming Spheres: Poems of the Solar System, PS Publishing, 2014

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Comet
 
Supercharged snowball.
Pale brushstroke on dark canvas,
white tail trail-blazing.
Fissure in the sky’s fabric.
Anticipated. Fleeting.

Published in Dreaming Spheres: Poems of the Solar System, PS Publishing, 2014
 
All poems © Sarah Doyle
 

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