Sarah St Vincent Welch

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

revolting

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 

crescents

scales

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

uncut

 

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 

the recent burials

 Inspired by  ‘Is this the Azure Kingfisher’ Sarah St Vincent Welch


the recent burials

 

last year it was a friend’s dog

old fella still warm

her child’s best friend

one of her family

bundled and wrapped

 

we were weak

the soil clay

we smiled at just how weak

we were 

 

my cracking body 

could still pick axe  

with a shallow swing

chisel head drag

into fractured rock

 

we made a superficial grave

anchored it with broken bricks 

 

La Niña keened over Queanbeyan

we talked on the verandah

the wind rattled the carport loose

we remembered that a fox 

tried to dig up the bird

that drowned in our lazy rain-filled bucket

the bird grave in our front garden


today a felled cockatoo

beside the road

her yellow crest still raised

we saw her at dusk

 

we dug by torchlight

remembered

 

how the cockies talked to us

when we visited this house

swinging upside down

us looking up to hear

just who do you think you are,

who?

Sarah St Vincent Welch

Sarah St Vincent Welch is a Canberra-based writer and image-maker. She is one of the organisers of ‘That Poetry Thing That Is On At Smith’s Every Monday Night’ at Smith’s Alternative (a live-music venue that supports art and community). She is part of the writer and visual artists collective ‘Postcards from the Sky’ which meet at Belconnen Arts Centre. She is pleased her work will be part of Flying Islands Pocketbooks 2021. Her chapbook ‘OPEN’ was published by Rochford Press in 2019. She writes in as many forms as she can including short stories, creative non-fiction, and novels (in-progress). She blogs about reading and writing, place and time, at sarahstvincentwelch.com. She is currently facilitating a long-term poetry project with Canberra poets and community, ‘Kindred Trees’, in response to trees in The Australian Capital Territory. She is working on a major creative non-fiction exploring mental crisis. She also on occasion chalks poetry on the footpaths at art festivals, in response to place, a practice she calls #litchalk. Her heart belongs to two cities, Canberra (where she has lived for over thirty years) and Sydney, where she was born and grew up.

#litchalk looking across Lake Burley Griffin to Mt Ainslie, ASIO and The War Memorial in Canberra for contour556 public art festival


Vasko asks me to play, and so I do …

(He who is not smashed to smithereens

He who remains whole and gets up whole

He plays

       from Before play – Vasko Popa)

in line we step now

now some out of line

long long toe steps

some now left behind

the wolf puffs, he

stills a statue, he

checks the sky 

counts the shadows

we shout and totter

are chased

and eaten

we scream and question —

what’s for dinner?

someone’s moggie                         

knitting

rocking

twine and thread and dip

pass the cradle

pinch and cast

hand a loom

a harbour bridge

a pat is a slap is a hit

a baby she was

she was 

she — went — a —

same time same time

smarting

blister

she — went — a —

faster

she was

orbit stones

blink and pop

the conker sun

rolls fast

scoop the moon lead

bruise a thumb-bed

shoot the comets

past chalk marks

squeeze the sun

against a knuckle 

Kohoutek’s clinked

the Earth

polished bone raps

bone poked skin

throw it missile straight

toss up hair high

high to pick up

quick a twelvsie 

scatter

sweep

a onesie

a twosie

dead sheep

it comes back —

catcher —

so throw it away!

tipfingers

arcshoulder

assembly hall wall

a song in time

a smashed window

(Vasko made me do it!)

against the back wall

the neighbours’ fence

the cupboard door

inside yourself

it comes back 

comes back —

so throw it away!

(Vasko Popa was a twentieth century Serbian poet, and he was often inspired by folk tales and riddles. )

Sarah St Vincent Welch chalking a poem outside 

Lonsdale St Roasters cafe as Noted Festival goers walk past on 

their way to a Literary Trivia contest as part of the ‘lithop’ event

(photo by Dylan Jones)

(photos Sarah St Vincent Welch)