A treacherous hurricane, spiraling out of control. A fire, alive with light, burning too bright. A blur of making the impossible, possible. a haze of anxiety, dead on my feet. Worries on my pillow, expectations to meet. My mind, teeming with images of my impending calamity. My heart, gripped in an iron vice. I was planning an escape route, to find serenity, to leave the chaos. Then one day. I stopped. I walked away. From something never meant for me. I locked the door. Stored the memories as lessons. I smiled, I am free. I threw the key into the flames. I was no longer a slave to the wrong choices I had made. The biggest lesson I learned. The words I etch into my skin like a tattoo. I can do anything. But not everything - EJ ©Emma-Jane Barlow, all words are my own.
Darling, I’m not going to lie to you. I won’t fill your mind with quixotic fairytales, vacant promises and jubilant dreams. I’m not going to hold your hand, reassure you, tell you that your life will be ideal, it will be complicated. That is the truth. You will struggle. A tiny speck of stardust called hope, will become the elixir you need the most. Your pillow, stained with tears. Your heart, heavy and broken. Your mind, a cloud of chaos. Moments of isolation, panic, fear. Blinded by a forest of darkness. Lost without a compass to guide you. But what you don’t know darling, is how strong you are. You will not see the light for some time, but when you do, it will radiate. Flow beneath your skin, enlighten you. Darling, you will rise like a phoenix. You beautiful warrior. You can do it. I believe in you. Struggle, to find your strength. Fall, to find your bliss. Hope, to find your way. EJ ©Emma-Jane Barlow, all words are my own.
Beneath the twilight,
under the gaze of
the watching moon,
in the presence of a
I made a wish for you
to be mine,
a decade has passed
and our hearts still
beat as one.
©Emma-Jane Barlow, all words are my own.
Feet curl over the edge of the cliff,
close to flying
ready to soar,
heart of a drum.
Anticipation brews in my sinking stomach.
Time is a flutter:
the future is impending.
Success is sickly sweet
but love is my greatest accomplishment
The rest will come.
The fog will clear and I will soon see
the bottom, ready.
Fingers and toes tingle with adrenaline
Stomach flipping, fear released.
Eyes sewn shut by apprehension – open.
Alive with freedom and choices.
I fly into the sun,
free to venture wherever
the wind may take me.
Breathing in the warmth of your skin,
your eyelashes flutter like petals, sleeping.
I stare into the dusty black room.
Light creeps through the blinds.
Hitting the wall with its luminous glow.
A romantic feeling pulses through the layers of my skin.
I am optimistic that no other being will
make me feel the way you do.
We are walking stardust,
bound together by emotion.
A dream catcher hangs at the end of our bed.
An origin that negativity can be captured
and rays of light can be bestowed upon
a sleeping mind.
It watches, protects, believes
The infinity of our love,
This is one of the poems from my final poetry portfolio at university. The poem is in its early stages, we are learning about innovative forms and how poetry can be presented in a different way this year and my idea with this poem, is to write the different stanzas on small pieces of paper, hole punch them and attach them to a dream catcher with string. I will post a photograph in a few months of the final piece but for now… this is the first draft of my poem Walking Stardust.
My eyes are derelict.
Infant and fresh.
Absorbing foreign words, foreign faces.
My mother tongue,
Their faces shine with
A barrier present,
cold and strange.
kisses – swapped and selected.
Twist of culture, language and value.
60 minutes by plane.
60 differences from home.
Of familiarity, warmth and English idioms.
My mind is washed
with the dizziness
Landing home, a relief.
(First Draft Of Foreign Words For My Poetry Portfolio)
behind every street corner.
In the early morn.
Dusty blue and sapphire ignite,
in the sky.
Panting heart quickens.
Racing even, mimicking dangers that
– Do. Not. Exist.
Heightened fear in the darkness.
Over the bridge,
water resembles – thick, black liquid.
Reflecting the light of the moon
Poetry is freedom. Poetry is emotion. Poetry will always be whatever you choose for it to be.
It is hard to define poetry because poetry can be anything you want it to be. It can be one word placed in the middle of a page. It can be fifteen pages long if you want it to be. There has to be rhythm but does there have to be rhyme? I used to believe this. That poetry had to rhyme but now I have opened my eyes and my mind and now I really stand by the statement that poetry can be anything you want it to be.
I have been writing poetry since the age of five. It is something that I naturally do. The voice in my head creates metaphors, phrases and rhymes. I write them all down and create something wonderful that describes my feelings, my thoughts and my emotions. Each poem I write is another snapshot image of a memory of mine, a piece of writing that paints a picture, words that capture my interpretations of the world.
Although my Creative Writing course includes a poetry module, I strongly believed that poetry should not be taught. I found the module to be pointless and a little bit tedious at times. I didn’t want to learn about poetics, I just wanted to write poetry! I thought it was a waste of time until my teacher’s reaction to my work persuaded me to change the way I write my poetry and I am glad she did. My poetry teacher blatantly told us that we couldn’t write poems that rhymed for our portfolios. What? I was in disbelief… I have been writing poetry for about fifteen years and more times than not, I used rhyme. Of course this surprised me, I went against her wishes and wrote the poems that I wanted to write. I then showed her the first draft of my collection and she quite literally crossed them out and muttered ‘too many cliches’, ‘too many rhymes’, ‘I don’t like that.’ That’s her opinion of course and this is why I believed that poetry should not be taught. The marking is too subjective. How can one poem be compared to another?
However, sometimes people have to be cruel to be kind and I took my poetry collection away and tried to write something different to prove her wrong. I started to write my second drafts, I removed some of the rhymes and cliches, I played around with different styles, line breaks and formations and recreated my portfolio. I definitely surprised her when I received my final mark, not only did I receive a high mark but also a comment that it was good enough to be published. Okay, so maybe I was wrong. Poetry can be taught. Kind of. Or maybe not. It was her opinion that pushed me to change my poetry but she did not teach me what was right from wrong. I think my point is that a writer can be taught and guided to improve their craft but it is a different thing entirely to say that one poem is the right way to write poetry and another poem is the wrong way. I still write rhyming poems but the strong opinions of my lecturer’s taste pushed me to try something different and step out of my comfort zone. I still use rhyme in some of my poetry but now I have the confidence to write poetry that is a little bit more original… and that is a great lesson I learned on a module that I originally didn’t believe should exist.
Delicate, white flower.
Untouched by fear.
Lost in paradise.
The sky is clear.
Floating on the
surface of blue.
absorbs the view.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Rain is declining
from misty grey.
the light of day.
trapped in storm.
The tide is turning
no longer pure.
has to endure.
tears and pain.
soaked by rain.
lifts its head.
the clouded grey.
Is a small beam
of light to guide the way.
Turning the corner alone, you left behind.
A daughter whose words were wise and kind.
Ripping apart all that is known.
Now all that is left is skin and bone.
The heart will heal, but respect is lost.
Change can have an unforgivable cost.
Desires of the future will never be the same.
The flickering light dims on the family flame.
The tie was love, but now just blood.
I would turn back the clock if I could.
On these separate islands that we now live.
We learn to accept and learn to forgive.
No amount of glue will fix the damage done.
One decision made. No one has won.
Living with guilt – worry – fear.
One day this earth won’t have you here.
Imperfect in your selfish way.
I choose in my life for you to stay.
Ending all this pain and strife.
For you were the one to give me life.
Heavy words lift off my chest.
I still have my mother and for that I am blessed.