Who am I asking at the top of the tree
Self-affirmation does nothing for me
I can’t trust my instincts, they’re hay-wired and shot
The message is scrambled, my brain’s lost the plot

I’m down on the floor, scraping in dirt
A nod of acceptance won’t really hurt
You in your turret, with glories to share
Tell me, a poor wretch, that you do really care

For it is cold down below in the shade of your heart
I live for attention, I am broken apart
When you look to the beauty of others in sight
Ignoring my mewling, I cower with fright

That I have lost you forever, I am lost in the dark
The future is bleak, empty and stark
I must go on without you, craft self-belief
Strength, hope and glory must rise from this grief.


This is me, putting myself in the shoes of one of the people in my work in progress novel, in the form of a poem. So don’t worry, I am not broken-hearted so soon into the New Year! Of course, there are elements of my personal history woven throughout, but this is essentially a piece of fiction. The main female character has lost her brother, has been left responsible for the safety of her little sister and the love of her life has taken a path she can no longer follow. Personal stories don’t change much in quasi-apocalyptic worlds, it’s the catalysts that are different….

Hurrah for the return of Open Link Night on dVerse. I will be linking up later on. Come one, come all and join in!

65 thoughts on “Phoenix

  1. nice character sketch…allowing us to see them…and the situation they are in…the feeling of living in the shadow and seeking the affirmation of others, all too real you know…happy new year….smiles.

  2. Strength, hope and glory must rise from this grief… oh i hope they do… it’s tough to be in that spot and you did well with slipping in someone else’s shoes

  3. If time does not truly heal all wounds, it does, at least, salve them. The poem is strong, vibrant, & your after words do a lot for adding more clarity to a second reading. Thanks.

  4. Nicely done – the phoenix crafted perfectly with the precursor of fear of the top, the question, the cowering, and then only to stand in strength of character re-born! Nice!

    1. Thank you! Sometimes, I think how I write is more instinctive, since when I drafted this, I hadn’t realised that she had gone through a circle of rebirth… a happy accident!

      1. I think I agree with you Freya. I often think of the title when i come time to post as then I have to think of a name for it, though I have solved that issue by numbering my poems. Thanks for the comment.

      2. Yes, I had noticed your clever numbering approach! I do enjoy having the word or phrase pop into my head before I post – I try not to go for the obvious, but there has to be a link between the name and the sentiment, even if it’s only clear to me what that link might be!

    1. Well, like most of us human beings, love, loss, conflict and pain have been part of my life. I’m glad to be able to put it to use, in a positive way, and create something else – out of the ashes! Thank you, Ronald.

    1. Thank you so much, Alex. Yes, it is hard – I’ve started and not finished so many things longer than a short story – but they are not wasted. It’s all part of the learning experience – and I have re-hashed old efforts to become something new (if a great deal shorter!).

  5. Very cool! You’ve managed to depict feelings that seem real despite the rhyming patter of poem. This is not just a story, it is a plea.

  6. imagine writing about your characters requires you to try out different perspectives if you were that would it come across to the reader..hard work..good luck with it
    this is very good….

  7. Interesting! Do you plan to use the poem in your novel or was it a way of getting under the emotional skin of the character? I think much of our writing is a complex mix of fact & fiction.. all changes when you put pen to paper!

    1. Hi Becky – thank you so much. No, I’m not planning (at the moment) to use this poem in the novel itself – it was just as you say, to get under the emotional skin of the character. Yes, much of our creativity is informed by our own personal experience – and I do enjoy allowing myself artistic licence!

    1. Thank you so much. Yes, do try this approach – I feel that I use different parts of my writing brain to craft poetry compared to prose – I like to think that it helps the creative process… 🙂

  8. I am glad you are not in this situation Freya..and they will be born out of the ashes of fire.
    I love the word Phoenix and you have an appropriate title for this piece. We reach ever inward to grasp our souls to know the essence of who we are and what we feel. I’m sorry I’m on my soap -box so leaving now 🙂

    1. Oh, no need to apologise at all, I do enjoy seeing how different people respond to my writing. Yes, I do agree – inward exploration is invaluable – and we should do more of it!

  9. Well.. i have to say i am glad that does not reflect YOUR it sure sounds like the experience of someone suffering from Border Line Personality Disorder…

    That numbness..that only came to me as a result of an extreme physically disabling pain something i understand now..

    i could never understand why people cut themselves..

    Until i too..became numb with no emotions 2..

    It is the worst thing in the dam me..for what i experienced…

    Even worst than the worst documented pain known to mankind…

    I’ve got lots of empathy AND compassion for those folks..

    Some people simply do not understand the pain…

    Of feeling NOTHING AT ALL..

    Anyway..thank you for inspiring empathy and compassion for me.. friend..

    As i too once again..fully human again…. a loving.. empathic… compassionate human again…

    In fact.. YES!.. that iS what not feeling emotion is like..

    Death..and not even being human.

    i think..i feel

    And happy New YEAr2ya2!

    1. Thank you, Katie. It sounds to me as if you have had a tough time (probably an understatement) over the years. But I am very glad that you have regained your loving, empathetic, compassionate humanity once more – feeling numb, lost, empty – is awful. I’ve had my moments – it’s such a relief not to be THAT again….

      Happy New Year, indeed!

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