Death is no sailor.

A voice of an ancestress
from slightest memory, I,

my ghosts on branches of April,
like mice, we speak; between fingers

of solace-drunk
in the hills I found a voice
broken through my body,

the sucking of black dresses
in the wind, trees swooping
four bones holding each other,
we are holding hands, emerged

a moon-maiden
slack against my skull—
trees mix in bloodshot stars
billowing dust and rain,
ripple to the head of snakes
turned to glass upon a gaze

I do not feel
the syntax of spring,
death is no sailor

and I will not have
my silence
when finally meeting starlight after
asking for it for so long.

© 2021 lucysworks.com All Rights Reserved.


Written for the dVerse prompt: Choose a poem that calls to you. Choose something you’ve read over the last year – maybe from dVerse, but you can take a poem from elsewhere if you prefer, then write a poem in response.

I chose to converse with the poem “This Is Not a Small Voice” by Sonia Sanchez.


  50 comments for “Death is no sailor.

  1. January 5, 2021 at 4:14 pm

    The last two stanzas of your poem are so very powerful, Lucy. Statements of affirmation, using the word “not” in them. I read the poem you used for your inspiration first, before reading yours. Thank you so very much for posting the link to it. What a powerful poem that is as well.

    Liked by 4 people

    • January 5, 2021 at 8:57 pm

      Thank you very much, Lillian!

      Like

  2. January 5, 2021 at 4:18 pm

    Thank you for sharing the Sanchez poem – its not one I know, and it’s wonderful! I can see why you chose it. I like the way you take the theme of voice and silence and personalise it. It’s an individual story of courage.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. January 5, 2021 at 4:26 pm

    This is kind of dark, but I like the reference to mice in that verse

    Liked by 4 people

    • January 5, 2021 at 8:58 pm

      Most of what I write is dark, so in my opinion, this might be tame compared to some other poems I’ve written before. lol. I’m glad you liked that line and thank you for reading my poem. ❤

      Like

  4. January 5, 2021 at 4:40 pm

    Such a fabulous response to Sonia’s piece.

    Liked by 3 people

    • January 5, 2021 at 8:58 pm

      Thank you so much!

      Like

  5. January 5, 2021 at 5:06 pm

    Your poem almost feels like the “before” of Sonia’s, the steps leading to where she starts from. Well-done!

    Liked by 4 people

    • January 5, 2021 at 8:59 pm

      Huh, I haven’t thought of it that way! I can see that.
      Thank you so much. ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. January 5, 2021 at 5:23 pm

    Fantastic. Syntax indeed. I love the imagery.

    Liked by 2 people

    • January 5, 2021 at 7:01 pm

      Also, thank you for the inspiration. Hope you don’t mind me linking back to this verse from my own.

      Liked by 1 person

      • January 5, 2021 at 9:00 pm

        Thank you so much and I don’t mind at all. It’s an honor! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • January 5, 2021 at 11:36 pm

        Cheers. The honor is mine. I love to find inspiration in the fine writing of others. And you are a very good writer.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. sanaarizvi
    January 5, 2021 at 6:06 pm

    This is incredibly potent! 💝 I so love the poem you chose as inspiration. Yours is a poetic masterpiece 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Glenn A. Buttkus
    January 5, 2021 at 6:54 pm

    I think the title of your poem should have been, DEATH IS NOT A SAILOR. Yup, another fascinating foray into the deep shadows between the lines, sticking pins between the letters themselves, as paper becomes bone, and a voice becomes a muffled shriek. I liked,” my ghosts on branches of April” and “the sucking of (wet) black dresses in the wind”. Yours is the prologue for sure, much improved over the rap/street poetics you cite.

    Liked by 3 people

    • January 5, 2021 at 9:02 pm

      Ugh, you know what, Glenn? I THOUGHT THE SAME THING. Then I pondered it over and thought well, does it really represent the poem? After some more thinking, I realize it does. 🤦‍♀️ I just might change it to that line because it makes more sense in its context.

      Thank you so very much for your thoughts and feedback. ❤

      Like

  9. January 5, 2021 at 7:43 pm

    Death is no sailor ❤️

    Liked by 3 people

  10. January 5, 2021 at 8:47 pm

    This is a fabulous response Lucy. I admire the sounds while imaging the verses:

    the sucking of black dresses
    in the wind, trees swooping
    four bones holding each other,

    I am going to read more about Sonia Sanchez.

    Liked by 3 people

    • January 5, 2021 at 9:02 pm

      Thank you so very much, Grace!

      Like

  11. January 5, 2021 at 9:31 pm

    I liked the title👌🏻

    Liked by 3 people

  12. January 6, 2021 at 1:38 am

    Oh this poem rises to a meteoric finale! I love the lines ‘I do not feel/the syntax of spring’. I don’t feel it either. I love the Sanchez poem too so thank you for introducing me to that!

    Liked by 3 people

  13. January 6, 2021 at 3:15 am

    This is simply amazing.

    the sucking of black dresses
    in the wind,

    I could quote other lines that I love, but I’ll stop myself.

    -David

    Liked by 3 people

    • January 6, 2021 at 3:48 am

      Aww, shucks. Thank you! ❤

      Like

  14. January 6, 2021 at 5:29 am

    A haunting monochromatic poem, Lucy, I love the stark imagery, the ‘ghosts on branches of April’, the ‘sucking of black dresses in the wind’ and the ambiguity of the magical ending:
    ‘I will not have
    my silence
    when finally meeting starlight after
    asking for it for so long’.
    Was it the silence or the starlight that the speaker asked for?

    Liked by 2 people

    • January 6, 2021 at 1:28 pm

      Thank you so very much! In my interpretation, the narrator asked for the starlight.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. January 6, 2021 at 9:05 am

    You too have claimed your voice, and it will not be silenced. (K)

    Liked by 2 people

  16. January 6, 2021 at 11:17 am

    This was once again, an excellent and enchanting piece, and certainly an engaging read Lucy — well written. Happy & Healthy New Year to you and yours. Here’s to writing wonderful poetry in 2021.

    Liked by 2 people

    • January 6, 2021 at 1:26 pm

      Thank you so, so much.

      Like

  17. January 6, 2021 at 2:33 pm

    “I do not feel the syntax of spring” — bluntly spoken and all the more quelling as a result. I really get a feel of the persona here,

    Liked by 3 people

  18. January 7, 2021 at 7:54 pm

    I love this! Moon maiden 💚

    Liked by 3 people

  19. January 9, 2021 at 7:20 am

    So haunting and lovely. Thank You and Cheers! 💕

    Liked by 2 people

  20. January 13, 2021 at 5:27 pm

    I enjoyed this very much! Wonderful work!

    Liked by 1 person

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