killing my commas softly (Sarah St Vincent Welch)

killing my commas softly (Sarah St Vincent Welch)

enamoured of the pause

the dawdling the adding on

the lists, the enjambent

forced, I admit 


less in love

with the arguments the rules

the haughtiness of editors

(not poetry editors, mind you)

my prosey report editing colleagues

holding up a falling edifice

by themselves the masses


the commas in their iron hearts

the comma the most weaponised

of all punctuation

aimed across desks as ninja stars

commas the shape of tears

raining from above


I prefer to massage a sentence

break it up gently with a timely, small

restructure to avoid the stabs

I avoid pain


in poetry my commas are shedding

like autumn falls

like rubbed eyelashes 



a sweep of black kohl wiped off with oil

even the ninja stars yes 

the shurikens spinning

lodged in the walls 

I leap to the ceiling and cling



my aspiration is    to    let

you find your own breath

within my lines my marks

rarely ask for you to hold 

for over long

to tease you to a pant 

on occasion 

then rest in a    space

an absence

a rythmic 

letting go 

6 thoughts on “killing my commas softly (Sarah St Vincent Welch)”

  1. Avatar
    Sarah St Vincent Welch

    I am glad you relate, Jane, it is so fun to be playful with punctuation. I love the marks of punctuation or all the resonances and then all the implications when it is not there and what sidles in to replace it, or doesn’t sidle in. And the challenge of minimal punctuation an what that means. It is a wordy trip. Lovin the experience.

  2. Oh yes! And full stops are even more weaponised… I think I’m beginning to shed them in poetry but I’ve certainly used my share of them

  3. Yes Sarah I love the playfulness of your poem. For me, some poems seem to call for punctuation and others repel it. Using it or not using it certainly seems to change the poem

  4. Sarah St Vincent Welch

    I was persuaded to kill the rooves. But then I saw someone else use it online, and thought phew. Very interesting, isn’t it? I have reverted to the modern spelling. That is the sort of conversation I love with editors and proofreaders. 🙂
    In response to a comment by ACski

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