With Swiftness

Make swift work of this!
I don't remember why I'm here-
Sucking air like fire,
Each lung a furnace, each its own.

I have carried this here myself.
The flint and steel -
The wood, with starved flesh and bone -
I laboured to set it all aright.

Here ( my here), Darling ,
Add to the scuplture! 
Concealing sparks and fragments,
I breathe and set the stack aflame.


Within a week dust fell
Upon the shoulders of
A timepiece.
An enormous shell.
An empty show box.

My well-worn rag is green
And pushed against fine things – 
And table legs.
Hallway rails.
Vacant chair arms.

In the hallway -step-step
Then skip my hearts beat.
Ragged door.
Behind its wall
No voice of reason.

Within these weeks dust fell
Upon each mountain object.
Wipe the clock.
Turn and place
My fingers round the doorknob.

The old rag fallen carelessly, sleeps.
Beat Beat -this life pumps –
The door cracked – 
My life’s unreason
Stands waiting.


I speak it to the sky
(face up, eyes blinded)
Water swallows my hearing.
I rest, unborn.

Say, say, worn blue heaven,
Born this morning,
Lend me your mercy
And your days company.

Love has come. And flown.
Chased stars and closed my eyes.
(now this water casket)
On waves of refuge.

I say it to the winds!
My breath carries onward.
Lend me Your secrets… then
Release this heavy skin weight.

Here’s my Head

Here is October.
Are you glad to see me?
Have you waited 
In hope I’d be alive again?
But I have diminished.

Did you wait long
For me to come around
For dim evenings
And ricocheted sound bites?
But I have changed.

Here is my head
White faced
And calloused shut.
As if the world could do damage
To the wind.

It is not I – 
But a one trick pony
That lays its eyes on the population.
Necessary – maybe –
To survive these seasons.

October… then. 
Then, here is my voice
A meek offering
As if one could change the decision
Of God.

Ghosts of Souls

Always, some thing gazed upon me
Like a throne room king
doling out corrective measures
with no graceful reserve.

Now. In Solitude. A measured peace.
Footsteps echo in recesses.
Soft, billowy figures. Promises.
Leave. Leaving. Left. Imminent.

Love sits with me. (You Thorn)
And mocks my moves.
Carrying on with stones. Ghosts of Souls.
Footfalls that rattle away into the distance.

Spectors! Take with you, Hope.
Let Love be bound to you - and go!
And finally, unattended, lay desire down.
I'll wait for leaded lid to close my days.

Shelley Rae Bell

I Would Drown

I do overflow
     (being too much to contain)
   in too small a vessel.

A man who restrains
    (creates a border wall)
  becomes cracked with vanity.

Match. and Checkmate
    (why should I flounder?)
   so I am diminished?

I would drown
    (in the undertow)
  of obstructed waters.

Shelley Rae Bell


On Returning


 Suddenly there was
 All darkness and shade 
 Where you stood.
 Returning you brought twilight
 And reminders of solitude.
 What is the question?
 Light through a keyhole?
 And I without a key or chain?

 Suddenly there is light and shadow.
 Enough for magic tricks.
 And your pining eye 
 through the pinhole, slay. Slayed.
 Oh soul! Remember sorrow!

Shelley Rae Bell 

On an April Morning

He is coming. Haunting.
And the earth dwells with it
The pencil stilled.
And my mind lays silent,
Hushed in tones of greys and beige.
Decomposing thoughts in the undergrowth.

I do not know - I know.
Then I lay out words
upon a wood table in greenery.
Files and tabs-
to choose what golden verb
will arise to melt the hour
the minute the apparition appears.

Shelley Rae Bell

Incomplete Dominance

Look at this recess all covered in theory!
As if the world was paper thin and transparent,
Mottled and crumpled, taking shape
Under a watchful eye.

I contort. Take a turn in the weather.
as if I could change the wind or a grey spotted cloud.
Tumbled now and jagged edged
Under a monochrome sky.

So then. Now. Take it back!
the form and philosophy, written.
I am sharp and slicing the paper essay,
the fading ink is mine.

Shelley Rae Bell