“…Hey kid, why you standin’ in the rain for so long?”

Wet scarecrow in too-tight shirt and undersized blazer,
tie knotted like wire around pale goose flesh
Scraggly-headed sodden bone-bag boy
Shivering on stone steps.

Wiry fingers trace paintwork,
brass numbers
of a much preferred doorway.
It feels much better to shiver here instead.

Next door, Old Mrs. Madden
mutters condescension to the cat.
How dare that brat show his face,
Holes in his shoes, ought to call the poli-
While he stoops there,
waiting to begin.

Dingy kitchen smells,
stale smoke, damp ceilings
still linger on his palms.

A street away.
A world away.

The door opens.

By Jessica Syposz

 

The Valley of Acheron

Here I stand, waiting.
Waiting coated in anger, booted with despair.
Dry wells; bitter un-tears.
Waiting.
Imprisoned in a world of pure imagination.
A child hiding from hideous reality.

Ice water lapping;
The frozen shore overhung
By misty mountains.

I know why the caged bird sings;
It sings to be free.
These mountains are my cage, white-capped guardians
Of my life and soul;
Unclimbable.

Dark evergreens stand
Sentinel, dormant soil wakes:
Creeping nature close.

Guardians, or captors?
Shivering in the impatient wind, I peer into the swirling frost-teeth.
Nothing but ice, ice, more ice.
A wasteland
Of life-giving water transformed; jaws to rend
The very flesh its fluid cousin nurtures.

Frost-bite lurks to gnaw
Fresh flesh filleted from bone.
Failing feet flop forward.

No end in sight, no convenient trapdoor, no
Cartoon escape-hatch for me.
Another direction?
Still falling whilst still, the abyss no shallower. Falling, falling…
Light. Light? LIGHT!
My own Lucifer, come to strike a Faustian bargain?
No.
A glow. A torch. A railing. Life-buoys in an ocean of snow.
Friendly shoulders carrying a broken, worthless carcass.
A glimmer of life, of what once was?

Upwards enticing;
Chain-link milestones show the way:
What lies beyond?

A near-impossible trek;
Tackled with pills and willpower.
Alone.
Friends come, friends go, but you’re always with yourself.
Only you can carry yourself
Upon their shoulders.

By William Taylor

 

Sunday Sonnet

Sunday is a day of rest.
I watch through the window
As the wind brushes back the trees,
The sky spits on the pavement and paints it silver.
The buildings are coloured with a bare pallet,
Even the cars are traced with grey.
Suburbia blooms in utopic sunlight
Bright under a burnt blue sky.
But never in this dull afternoon,
When the air tastes of lethargy.
I step outside, walk the yellow brick road
Along painted yellow lines.
I see breakfast odours circle upwards
Until they meet the falling rain.

By Georgie Tindale

 

Each week The Student Review publishes a collection of poems about a particular topic or theme. For this week’s theme, or to submit a poem, go here.