and a half-cigarette.

the sea barrows in half-
cigarettes, burnt in untombed
words, as I spin lies
to the dust father made before I left to my ghosts atop the tears
under the moon. Soon, soon

I will lay among the stead, the flesh
pulled back to its sanctum of blood; the grave cave
like a hood made of white petals ate
the sun and the moon; it should be, it will be
enough for me to linger as I once was, at home,
in the bed of snakes, bleeding flowers on me.

In castles the shores do nothing,
wine flutes grab at my wrists; in their spire,
I was again a child, drowning and innocent,
like death, knowing none of all things.

© 2020 All Rights Reserved

Written for the final dVerse prompt of 2020:

Let’s write something on endings:

  • it could be a poem that plays with endings – where your lines don’t end properly but run off into the next line creating ambiguity and doubt.
  • it could be a golden shovel – find a poem (or indeed any other text) that annoyed you or that you loved, that spoke about change or resisted change, and use your golden shovel to comment, critique or cheer (don’t forget to tell us the poem that you’re quoting).
  • it could be a villanelle, pantoum, ghazal or any other repeating form which resists endings in favour of recurrence of emotion and memory (or obsession).
  • it could be a poem with the good old ‘repeating the word just in case you missed it’ ending, or a surprise ending. 

I wrote a golden shovel poem where I used lines from Sylvia Plath’s Lady Lazarus:

“Soon, soon the flesh 
The grave cave ate will be 
At home on me…”

Categories: Poetry

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

58 replies

  1. You really made maximum use of the end words… I love the darkness which I see more as depression and nightmares.. really thiis:
    I was again a child, drowning and innocent
    made me think about how darkness grows from childhood.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right on the money, Bjorn! That’s how I intended this poem (even though I think any subjective interpretation is correct, I always like to reveal what I had in mind and how it compares or contrasts).

      Thank you so very much.


  2. ‘I was again a child, drowning and innocent,
    like death, knowing none of all things.’
    – One of my favourite ending lines of a book, ever, is from Peter Ackroyd’s ‘Hawksmoor:’
    “and I am a child again, begging on the threshold of eternity.” Your words here had the same effect on me. Those unanswerable things – magic!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. That last line hangs on like truth. Fab-u-lous, darling.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not sure how to connect the title to the poem, but I think I can understand most of what you’re saying. Standout lines for me are:
    “at home,
    in the bed of snakes, bleeding flowers on me”
    and that last line. when life events go against all sense and logic how can one know anything? Good poem, Lucy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I wouldn’t say it connects to the poem at all, really. I just sometimes choose words or phrases from my poems or I snag a title for it from elsewhere. In this case, I was listening to a song by Elliott Smith that had that line with half-cigarette. 🙂

      That is SO true. Many things happen in life that we never anticipate and it can shape us, our perspective, and outlook. Thank you so very much for your thoughts and feedback. Always appreciated. ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The last stanza is brilliant. I especially love the last two line.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great choice of your source Lucy – that agonised extreme verse of Plath – and here is horror falling over itself – image after image – and that resigned knowing tone – the poet knows exactly what’s coming – and yet at the end finds innocence and ‘knowing none of all things.’ Yes.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Plath’s suicide by sticking her head into a hot oven bugs me to this day. Depression is not our friend. You wrote a remarkable GS, still keeping it true to your own style. he abstract quality of Plath’s words snug onto your lines like kissing cousins. I liked, “the flesh pulled back to its sanctum of blood”, “burnt in untombed words, as I spin lies to the dust father.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Honestly, that bothered me so much too. I can’t even imagine what she had went through, it’s just very saddening. Depression is a parasite and indeed not our friend.

      Thank you so very much for the kind words, Glenn! I’m happy you enjoyed the poem and I am always in gratitude of your feedback. Thank you so much. ❤ ❤


  8. I so admire the choice of those lines by Plath in the form. I felt like a life-death cycle has come to pass and these ending lines are lovely.

    I was again a child, drowning and innocent,
    like death, knowing none of all things.

    Thank you so much for your lovely poems and being part of our poetry community. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much, Grace! It’s been an honor being part of the poetry community. You are all so lovely, kind, and welcoming; I could just not stay away! 😉 Thank you always for the support, encouragement, and kindness. Here’s to a (hopefully) better year ahead of us, and of course, new dVerse prompts!


  9. This line stood out to me, “in the bed of snakes, bleeding flowers on me” as well as the last two lines. To me, there is the contrast of emotions in all of the strong images, even the burnt half-cigarette which is a very ugly thing polluting the sea. “The grave cave,” is a great line by Plath. A nice golden shovel to end the year! Happy holidays, a toast to all your great writes this year! 🍷

    Liked by 1 person

  10. horror, doubt and questions … that final line lingers!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great use of the prompt Lucy! We will all end up in the skin the grave cave ate at some point!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The end words and line breaks work so well in this poem, Lucy. I love the mournful sound of ‘under the moon. Soon, soon’, and the dark image of ‘the flesh pulled back to its sanctum of blood’.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Plath is perfect for your visions. But I hope you do not actually feel the dark of the depths you write. As many comments have noted, Plath lived and died her words, and that is chilling. No one should suffer so. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m not a fan of Plath, but ‘Lady Lazarus’ gives me goose bumps. Well done for incorporating her wrods!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This is really good! Deletes own blog Nicely done!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Beautifully composed ~~~ Plath poetry is complex, your poem does her justice.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Excellent response to Peter’s wonderful prompt Lucy. Ever the puzzle for me to ponder and be challenged. BTW I love tge black background with red hot drama… Hope you have a great holiday season, and look forward to reading more of your work in 2021.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. In all the darkness, those last two lines cement the feelings in the poem. Excellent, Lucy!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. This is a beautiful and fearful labyrinth, not because of the things that haunt it, but because of what leaves, the emptiness that is contemplated, not so much the echoes as the silence. To know the cosmos is out there, spinning, all things enveloped within in it and we can know it in part or in picture, but then we will nothing of all things. A stunning Volta about the end, to answer a prompt about endings. Sylvia Plath’s poetry is so beautiful, full of her determination to eat life out of the hand of a life marred by depression, I sometime wonder if we would have her with us still if some of the more banal and side effect free medications we have now had been available. I have not seen this poem before, and it haunts and stirs and makes me want to live, and I love her volta at the end how at that time, ever circling death so many times (an interesting form of the song “Oops I did it again” came to mind when I read this), ends with such a life grabbing volta as well, “I eat men like air.” I also want to mentin how I love the incantatory feel and rhyme of I should be, it will be, enough for me” framing a long realization and spell. but to have it turned on its head by the existential realization at the end, “I was again a child, drowning and innocent,
    like death, knowing none of all things.” From dust we came. to dust we shall return, or having sprang from an unconscious conglomeration of matter, we shall dissipate into it again, the nerves and their tracing, the memories not knowing. Laura Jane Grace sang that you never really know you’re living till you’re totall sure you’re dying. True, so cheers, while we can, to life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, Lona, such a beautiful interpretation over my little poem here. Thank you so, so much for your kind words and thoughts.

      “Sylvia Plath’s poetry is so beautiful, full of her determination to eat life out of the hand of a life marred by depression, I sometime wonder if we would have her with us still if some of the more banal and side effect free medications we have now had been available.”

      Isn’t it? I wonder the same, but we will never know. I could only hope she found peace wherever she might be now. I loved “Lady Lazarus” greatly; it’s so haunting what it describes, her multiple suicide attempts, her depression, how she feels she impacts others, etc. I was inspired by it from the consumption of the mind, what depression eats away from a person, and how it can be rooted during childhood.

      Cheers to life as you say and to a hopefully better year ahead. You’re very kind, Lona, and I truly appreciate your thoughts and feedback. Thank you so much. ❤ ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  20. Brilliant last stanza and how it reflects the dark side of childhood. Superbly rendered, Lucy!

    Liked by 2 people


  1. and a half-cigarette. | THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON...

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