Julie Anne Gilligan – View from Dystopia

VIEW FROM DYSTOPIA
Inspired by the poetry of Wislawa Szymborska (1923-2012)

With practice I can say her name, pronounce it
carefully, like the whisper it is

though probably not as she would,
even on her own island of possibilities,
even where nothing might happen twice.

She had so many ways to use the same odd words,
turned them from meaning to experience

from form to feeling.

First met in essence inside a New York poem,
she leaped from page to understanding.

Photograph from September 11 it was,
stuck within the core of me
all she could do (she said) was to describe this flight,
leave the last line to others,
those who queue at the door of closure.

But her all was just enough

for me to take a different leap,
to dive into the sea of her mind.

I carry in my pockets a loose change of words,
oddities and others that are far from odd.

I shall use them carefully
though probably not as she would
as nothing might be written twice.

‘View from Dystopia’ won second prize in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (April 2021) judged by Mary Anne Smith Sellen.


JULIE ANNE GILLIGAN’s poems have appeared in several anthologies, e-zines, journals and readings. Her debut collection ‘The Thickness of Blood’ was published in 2012. She holds several qualifications, most recently The Open University.MA in Creative Writing (2018). She firmly believes in a positive outlook and a sense of the ridiculous. She is an active member of The Open University Poetry Society and Poets Abroad, a collective of poets mostly from Ireland, UK, USA and Australia. She lives in semi-rural Essex.

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