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Poetry from a Novel in Progress

I don’t know if other writers who are poets as well as novelists find, like I do, that when they are writing fiction poems leak through. Rarely do these end up in the finished work—they really don’t fit. But it seems—unfair—not to admit their existence. There could be, I suppose, waiting for an anthologist with the curiosity to follow this up, a book to be made of such poems. The poems below belong to several different voices. A young woman, a narrator, a lover….

Poetry from a Novel in Progress:

In this place, small as the beginning of Time
Where my mind walks through flowers
On its own and with gravity
Walks with the roundness of oranges and lemons
As it measures its steps

Walks fearfully
Walks and sings anyway
I’d like to sleep as if I were still a girl
With nothing on my mind but arrivals

Everything had to be born
Even heaven and earth

Before there was water
There was nothing

And once there was water
The slime of the earth

Began to slip and slide

Yahweh and his Beloved
Joined, and blew the breath

Of soul into the clay-made human
And soon, even in the garden

Made for the Created One

Even among the trees and birds
And at the junction of rivers

That brought news of gold
And lapis lazuli from far places—vast

Material blessings—

Profound loneliness prevailed… even
After such remarkable beauty

Then the woman already existing
Stepped aside from the man

So they could look at each other
And be happy


Then they slept together
Man and woman, tight as thieves
And the woman conceived

What pleasure they took
In their bodies–they were young

As the world, the night drank them down
‘Til dawn, and all day long

They were love-making, always
They scarcely supped or

Touched ground

The children worked
Neither seen nor heard

One boy, Cain, tilled the soil
The other, Abel, watched flocks: the stars pressed

At his soul, he took flight: Cain, lonely as grass
Wrenched at stones; his back hurt

His hands ached, the damp
Flayed his joints: wash, cook, plant, harvest—

Oi vey!

Abel sang, played flute, slept warm between sheep
Cold cold was Cain, his sadness a blight: it rained

It snowed without respite
It was right to give thanks

Yet one boy grew straight, the other bent
One hardly slept, the other dreamt

Yahweh preferred blood
To the labour for bread

He thrived on it – hurt Cain’s heart
Who was envious and harnessed

They were in the field, these boys
One cheerful, one jealous

It wasn’t fair, it was hard
To bear and not care

And Cain did

And brought hatred, murder and death
To the world

As Yahweh had willed it


Sleepless sailors
Aim for streets
Their feet drag water
From other worlds

Others arrive and leave
But these navigators can only begin

Like an unfinished play
Under the sun of imagined seas
Are those who live in houses
And watch from balconies


In a dark wood
Trees surround you, but
Their branches fill with birds
A wing; an iridescent eye
Such fire as the Phoenix brings

The woods grizzle with rain
Light drains, and is cold
You are song, although you’ve lost
Your singing
Be your ears, until your voice takes hold
And you can view
Blue wings, a flash of gold

Everything is made
Put your tongue out to the rain
And claim.