The Chaos and the Calm

Poetry by Rose Staveley-Wadham


June 2017

The Portrait on the Wall

It was better, wasn’t it, when I was a dream?
Unbearable and fleeting, you could never quite
Catch me, for when you woke you could not
Touch me. Oh yes, that picture you painted
Was perfect and dazzling, how I shone
With green eyes glowing
You threaded my hair with kisses of chestnut
Gave me the figure of some other woman
And it was this Frankenstein you admired
I was disjointed, and I was so very chaste
Because I remained elusive, you wanted me more.

And when I was a dream, I could never hurt you
But I did haunt you, I’d be there behind you
Staring from the mirror on your wall
And I’d catch your eyes and hold them there
Such was my extraordinary power
And you said you despised the distance
That held us apart, but if you had drawn me
Closer, you would have touched only air.

Then, I did not know how a dream was something
To be created, plotted minutely out
Like the intricacies of a detective novel.
I thought of dreams as real things with
Minds and hearts that beat on their own.
But when your dream of me turned nightmarish
For you realised I had grown thoughts
All by myself, and all by myself I had learnt to love
You, above all you, only you, you thought it
Better before, when I was the portrait on the wall
Born to be admired, adored like something holy
But there is nothing holy in what passed between us
As I sketch you out and away, warts and all.


Rose Staveley-Wadham


Shadows of Summer

The summer is savage and it knows no mercy
My inspiration is gone, evaporated,
Like the dried up ponds wet with silt
And memories of more verdant days
When we took water for granted.

I’m stuck in the city, and the pavements
They breath out heat, the tarmac
Laughing with fiery demons, and the cars
They beat with nauseating flare
Too many people, too many bodies,
I long for the dappled shade, to be alone,
Alone again, for even the silver birches trees
They understood me, they knew me,
Shaped me as I grew and knew what kind of
Creature I really was, but now, I don’t know
Who I am, the summer has taken away my shade
And there is no place to hide or to find
The fragments of my melting self.

I’ll close the blinds, and make
An aroma of decay, trap the heat and make
It darker, and settle in then to wait
When the rays of the sun will dissipate
Bring me rain, bring me any sort of pain
I think the muse sticks to the shadows
Of the whispering tall willows, lurks
In countryside places, fields and lakes,
The familiar faces of the rolling hills
I’m sick for it, I want it more than lust
For it will bring peace, and stick back together
The broken pieces of my dissipating self.


Rose Staveley-Wadham

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