The Chaos and the Calm

Poetry by Rose Staveley-Wadham


April 2017

Now That the Rain Is Back

I am so glad now that the rain is back
I barely knew I missed it
There’s something exquisite in the way
It kisses my windows
Makes the world outside marbled
And exotic.

The street outside is darker now
And inside I’m marooned
My little room a cocoon
Of soft yellow light
The rain outside whispering
Reminding me that I’m not alone.

I am glad to see the rain again
It’s true that it is my companion
It talks over the echo of my thoughts
Cleans the world and makes it
Marvellous, unravelling spells
Over pavements
A symphony of wind and water
We are cleansed, ready,
To face the sun again.


Rose Staveley-Wadham


The End of Affection

Gone is its lustre, gone is its sheen
An ancient cobwebbed vase made clean
Stripped of its mystery, of its guile, and
All the while I reach out to catch the hem
Of a disappearing dawn, stretching out
My fingers, flexing for a feeling that lingers
No longer, it’s like waking from a fever
When it leaves you, calmed and still.

Down by the river I now walk, and I spare
No thought for you, perhaps I might see you
In a glimmer of the shivering water as it
Giggles below my marching feet
And all the while my blood beats
Magnanimously around my body, what cure
Is this? The fresh air I’d rather kiss
Than your needy lips.

For gone is your lustre, gone is your sheen,
Gone is the life you made in me
I picture you now below in the stream
A skull secreted with the river weeds
It’s gone, gone, the summer passion is spent
And I lay you to rest in the river bed
It’s peaceful there with the reeds
The only witnesses to your silent deeds
You’re lost to me, gone from me now,
And I feel nothing, no, because your
Lustre and sheen have quite departed
Vanished, all those things in me you made
The rages and the savage lusts, obliterated
Turned to dust, the river carries away with it,
All the memories of what was, and it’ll wear
You down further, erode you, crunched up
With the rocks and pebbles, you’ll brush
With oblivion and know what it is to be
Forgotten, because I waited so very long
To forget you, and to leave you there
Trapped in the river where you belong.


Rose Staveley-Wadham

Advice for My Niece

Let your light shine, and brightly,
No man has the right to take away
The things that make you beautifully you.
All my life I have thought that I must be
Someone else to earn the love of others
Skinnier, prettier, trendier, but being a
Woman is when you can own yourself
And know that your flaws are the recipe
That created you in perfection
You are you, and nobody else.

But they’ll tell you, that womanhood is
A curse, they’ll say that ever since Eve
Was cast out we’ve been cast under
But let me tell you, that we women
We rise with the thunder
We have the wit to speak with bright red
Lips and to rip the status quo asunder.

And so take your glamour and your style
Take your vim and your guile
Stand up in the crowd and be noticed
Never hide your face or voice away
And stay loving always, for we are
Loving and strong, that is our battle
Song and throws our foes into strange
Confusion, because in our unity
We love ourselves and each other
And that will earn us our victory.


Rose Staveley-Wadham

Turn Off The Light

Like a light I would switch you off
Like a candle I would blow you out
And in the darkness I would live
Hidden, no, I couldn’t see you there
And if I couldn’t see you, perhaps
I may not care? I’ve been steeped
With worries like sloe berries in gin
Lashed like a sinner might get rid of
His sin, why cannot I forget?
Why is all I touch tarnished, every
Moment drowned in regret?

So like a light I would turn you off
Like a candle I would blow you out
Give me the peace that I crave
I’ll be brave, like an addict I’ll shake
Away the shakes, before my heart breaks
But I know, I know, what’s taking shape
In that mind of mine, give me the wine,
I’ll find the matches, light you up again
Don’t you see, you need me? I need you
Batten down the hatches, here I come
Another tawdry love song, chanting
In your ears, all the night long.

And so you see, that I cannot
Take the light and switch it off
Blow out the candle and forget
The fable of our impossible love
I’ll be standing here all the while
Shivering in my denial, it’s cold,
Cold out here, but I’ll wait,
I’ll wait and wait forever, my dear.


Rose Staveley-Wadham

The Cemetery at Kensal Green

Katie stood amongst the graves
And pondered on the waste
The bones beneath her feet
That grow ever obsolete.

She had expected to find
In this the garden of the dead
A little light she could shed
On the ways of the afterlife
But only found that this life
Is so little caring, that she despaired
Of the grass that ran wild
Over the abandoned stones
Like the moans of the mourners
Of centuries past, but now the
Names of those they lost are lost also
Shrouded beneath the neglect
Kept secluded by the brambles
As nature swallows back her own
Into the greedy black earth.

So Katie stood amongst the graves
And thought it strange
How the bereft could forget
The bones around her feet
The monuments splayed apart
The engravings that cannot last
The winters and all the rains
The seasons that complain
And wipe away the dead
And make of them a curiosity
This is no cemetery but a tragedy
And man in his pride forgets
That for him too in the end is the crypt
That the only end can ever be in death
And wouldn’t man want a little more
Remembering than the blustering
Of the wakeful grass and weeds
Shaking in the dirty breeze
No memorial in lilies, words on stones,
Just the moan of the flyover
Voices from the canal, life all around,
All memories buried deep in the ground.


Rose Staveley-Wadham

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