The Chaos and the Calm

Poetry by Rose Staveley-Wadham


March 2017

Blossoms at Midnight – A Walk Along Saltram Crescent

It’s not so long ago that I stood at midnight
Under the white blossoms of the trees
I had not known the streets to be so perfect
Nor that I could find in this city peace.

But the blossoms under the streetlights
Became a blur of distant halos
Glowing and trembling with a whiteness
Unknown to me in this dirty busy city.

There was purity in the clarity of
Their gentle iridescence
And they reminded me of a
Dark northern street far away
Where the drooping branches hung
Like stilled raindrops, and I moved alone again.

And the dead seemed to me to speak
In their words were comfort, a closeness
I could never decipher in the waking
Brightness of the lurid day.

Perhaps it was because alone I lingered
And was not bothered by any living thoughts
The burst of stars above my head were
The only hidden faces that I saw.

And now the moment is gone, and I long
For the peace of the blossoms at midnight
I thought before that only in blank oblivion
I could finally be free, but in the darkness
Of the city streets and their March blossoms
I found another kind of liberty.


Rose Staveley-Wadham


A Cultish Love

Whatever bad blood there is between us let it moulder
And in the years between us as we both grow older
We will take the blood that was shed and raise it up to the altar
Like we are the priests of some cultish order
And celebrate what little love that lay between us
When just to feel you near me was like a caress
As if the very atoms of the air were aware of how
We felt and how we needed each other, like water
I would have drank you all in, and if that love was
A sin, the anger that raged in the days when it all fell
Apart, broken, smashed into fragments, then as
We stand side by side, me the bride I should have been,
Facing the altar, finally we can gain the absolution we
Needed to make the restless affection between us sweeter
If only we could have our time and again and learnt
How our love could have been neater, but we could not
Stow it away for rainy days, for it was a love of rage and
Summer, fiery hot suns and gasping sunsets, when the
Nights were too warm and airless and I longed for you
As you longed for me, like innocents, we felt the space
Between us insurmountable, too much to understand,
Too much to feel, as if feeling was impossible when all
We wanted was to feel close to one other.
But the long nights have broken and we have survived the
Winter, unchanged, spring hovers just across the page
And we must be still, and remember, there is no love
That is lost between us, just a love that has changed,
And I have no doubt that although we cannot be together
We will love and stay loving always.

Rose Staveley-Wadham

A Dreamless Sleep

How perfect it is to wake from the sweet oblivion of a dreamless sleep
When the light of the freshly risen sun caresses my cheek
I could lie here for an infinity, savouring the rest of my bed
The peace that blackness has brought, because here in this fleeting
Moment I can forget, the trials of yesterday that I lay upon my pillow
Fretting, weeping, tossing, turning, and somehow, all has faded
It’s like a new life has begun, with the rising of the new dawn’s sun.

Whiter than white, my mind is healed, before the troubles of the day
Start up again, grey and sordid, in this moment I could be floating
Like some higher being, my rest has restored me, not flung me
Into the pit of broiling nightmares, always searching, and never finding,
There is nothing good in the theatre of my head, just worries,
Never ending corridors that lead only to regret, I cannot escape, I fret
And I fret, and often wake, weeping, and that is why I savour
A little blackness when I am sleeping.

I don’t need to see it, the landscape of my childish mind,
The home I loved, and I missed, infinite space, my first kiss,
Jumbled up with train timetables, the grumbling of the tube,
Every night becomes every day always, always, the same
And that’s not the worst of it, the worst of it lies in the things
I despise, arguments, and the deep grief I keep hidden even from
Myself, don’t take me deeper, don’t let me remember the
Things I have secreted, the tears I have kept unshed, for
They are unshed for a reason, and so, when I wake, fresh,
And realise I did not dream, I stretch out my skin to savour
The light that filters through from the window, I am made all
Again, reborn, until I roll over, and fall again once more into
The turmoil of the breaking of the day, and I must awake again.


Rose Staveley-Wadham

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