Day 15: Streets

Today I have gone for another sestina, basically I have lots of time on my hands. I am answering Steven Whaling’s questions, also stolen from the workshop on Wednesday. I had to try and answer two in one sestina to get enough extra fuel for writing. Stole another six of Neil Gaiman’s words to get the end words for the verses. It took a few hours to write this one, in case it seems like I’m finding this easy, not really!


Will it fight you on the streets you were born on?

Will the rain of your childhood attempt to describe you?


The streets I were born on, grew into, are distant

leagues away and shadowy

they recede when I try to describe them, like a siren

always just out of reach

the crosshoptch and skipping of playing

a chalky outline stepped across by everybody

ignored by many; where my fumbling young body

gained elegance in patterns made, the sun distant

but present, the rain of my childhood playful

its rattling chatter like adjectives in a puddles shallow shadow

shy, needs to speak up, ask questions in class, hand reach

for the rafters, the babbling eloquence of sirens

was not mine, nor sought for. Sailors spend their lives seeking sirens

I’ve spent mine seeking the right words to factor in my body

clumsy on the streets I grew up on, fighting me with its reaches

just tipping me over, too long, my joints distant

from control, all slippy, a cascading shadow

the rain takes the road and piano plays

each key sounds a note of who I thought I would be, a playful

assembly of my imagination, the odd sound of an ambulance siren

splicing innocence like a window’s bar shadows

make a prison of descisions, of lies told you by everybody

the bitterness like a lime squeezed into lemonade now distant

dimmed, evading my smoothly choreographed reach

I’d have learnt to dance my travel’s broadening reach

given space for euxberance, my mind’s play

stoked and fuelled my mind’s winding distant

routes to where I am, my song a siren’s

futile call to no one, answers without bodies

winding their way down with the rain drops sleek shadow

The map of the streets I were born on are a blue print shadow

leading me somewhere I’ve no anticipation to reach

all coated with empty person’s clothes, bodyless

describing someone from way back who is still playing

with the multiple tones all blue and white as a siren

the rain like a veil pulled back from the distance.

There’s no space between the shadows and my body

As I escalate running over to answer the siren wailing in the distant

Reach towards myself, take my hand, and skip, playful as children.


The Stirred quad is formed of Rebecca Audra Smith, Anna Percy, Jasmine Chatfield and Lenni Sanders.

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Posted in NAPOWRIMO Becca, Poetry Scrawls

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The Stirred team at Reclaim the Night Manchester 2015
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