Below The Surface

Fair weather and foul
have passed over home’s safe haven.
The tides of time drift
beneath the sea-green carpet
in cobwebs trailing
across the debris on the cellar floor.
Silverfish nibble soft bellied dolls
and a knitted penguin,
the button eyed serpent
foaming at the mouth.
A tin trunk stands open with treasures
of dressing-up fantasies – a jewelled crown,
a satin gown, high-heeled shoes.
Beads, gold and silver, Christmas baubles
strung together like the passing years.
Once-upon-a-time books
though boxed and bound cannot hold
the straying children, witches and goblins
within the shadowy realms of story.
There’s a doll’s house
where beauty sleeps in darkness
deeper than the briars of a hundred years.
Silent out of the Never Land
a pirate ship sailing on dreams.
Matchstick rigging tattered,
the tiny, baby-doll figurehead still intact,
the walnut-shell dinghy washed away.
Below the surface artefacts
undisturbed by recollection.
I alone stand on the sinking ship
surrounded by debris.
Survivors reaching land
become strangers amongst strangers
on the shores of childhood seas.

© Judith E P Johnson

Peter Macrow,
Tasmanian Times Poetry Editor.
Tasmanian poets or those with a Tasmanian link are invited to send up to 5 poems which have not appeared previously in print or electronic media to:
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For the complete collection, click here: Poetry, Peter Macrow

City brilliance overflows
in a stream of traffic
through the evening suburbs.
Deep in the silent river, stars sparkle
sharp as ice.
Softly a pearly sheen spreads
round the grey rocks.
Day’s eyes, closed against the darkness,
do not open at the cold touch of moonlight.
Shadows cover the pitted path
and join the spacious trees together
where birds blend with the whisperings
of stories half-told.
Someone is making promises
somewhere on lover’s Lane.
In a vacant house on the hill a figure
moves window to window.
People appear in the street’s gold ring
and vanish.
Cat’s eyes shine – here, there.
The houses are shut, dark with sleep.
Through a gap in the curtains
the moon watches the restless,
the book on the table, the lamp unlit.
Babies wake, tormented by hunger.
there must be milk and a lullaby
for dreams to settle.
The caged soul, released by death,
circles the room
and flies out the open window.
Stars melt as the river stirs.
Out of the shadows the dawn glow
is singing.