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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Sea is for Circe
 
There is pleasure in magic, but loneliness,
too.  The power to make fish jump, ferns
unfurl or wither at the curling of my fingers,
can pall.  I want a man, but men are weak,
 
grubby, turn easily to pigs.  Men grate on me
with their scratch and stink.  Swines.  Glaucus
was different: a fisher-god by trade and smell,
reeking with the metallic tang of cloud, oily
 
accents of fish-guts, his shoulders speckled
with beads of rosmarine.  He’d seen Scylla,
he said: bathing, nipple-brazen, unaware of his
gaze.  He’d watched her, on and off, for days.
 
Typical nymph, she’d rebuffed his advances,
all peepshow and no putting out, too precious
to be touched.  He sought reciprocity, begged
a charm of me.  I like a man on bended knee.
 
I wanted him for myself: wove spells, cast
shells, spoke in pearls of flattery, summoned
the ocean to dance in waves as I stood, salt-
water naked, before him.  He turned away,
 
left me beached and flailing and burning
with shame.  I called his name: no-one came.
No turning back, then.  I dredged my lungs,
brought up a gob of toxic phlegm – I’d show
 
them – and spat into my palm.  Glaucus
wanted a charm.  He needs teaching a lesson.
Scylla’s pool was clear as polished sapphire.
I lowered my spittled hand into the blue.


Commended, York Mix Poetry Competition, 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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Ice Maidens

We herald the advancing freeze:
invisible, though keenly felt,
we weave our song upon the breeze.

We bring the Summer to its knees –
Spring and Autumn long-since knelt,
a herald of advancing freeze.

We whistle through denuded trees,
through frosted forest, blasted veldt,
and weave our song upon the breeze.

From glaciers to berg-locked seas,
an ever-strangling icy belt –
the herald of advancing freeze.

A vanquished force, the Sun-disc flees
and leaves no hope – no thought – of melt.
We weave our song, still, on the breeze.

As Winter's crystal fingers seize
a world where warmth and light once dwelt,
we herald the advancing freeze
and weave our song upon the breeze.


Published in Midwinter 2015, Three Drops Press

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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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