When the ten-year old,
packed like a Macdonald’s
in chips and nuggets
over the market place
the question coils
in your mind like
a charred wire: just what
did they promise her?
‘Young girl gazelle-eyed’ was highly commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2017)
Emily Dickinson’s Indian Pipe
Stuck in the ground like that and smoking black if you pluck it,
it grows white as a ghost in the shade of the forest near home.
Heaven knows why she stayed in all the time, if she so much loved it –
and when did she last go into the woods to see if it’d grown?
Untouchable – noli me tangere – just like our Emily,
shining pale through the house like a candle, a toadstool, or – worse –
a corpse in a dark room; no chlorophyll, white as the paper
she stained with quick dashes of ink, bruised with her verse.
And we all wonder why – was it perhaps agoraphobia
that drove her to lock herself up in the house in which she would die?
Or was it perhaps something else, a secret much darker and gloomier
she dared not reveal to the world – but nor would she lie?
A convulsion of roots underground, yet it blooms opaline, unsullied, clear;
a flower that can’t be transplanted – one that turns black if you get too near.
Indian pipe, Emily Dickinson’s favourite flower, is found in the deep shade of North American woods. Its white stem and flower turn black when bruised and it is also called ghost flower, corpse plant or fairy smoke.
©2016 Emily Dickinson’s Indian Pipe by Gabriel Griffin won third prize in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (November 2015) judged by Oz Hardwick
This gallery contains 2 photos.
Judge’s Report By Oz Hardwick I didn’t think to count the number of poems with which I started – it was the sort of pile I’d be more inclined to weigh than count, anyway – but after careful and … Continue reading