Longlisted Poem 2013

Victoria Penn

Canon Slade School, Bolton, Lancashire

Nettle

Encrusted with mud,
Blind in everlasting darkness,
I fight desperately as the rich earth swallows me.
It climbs inside, drowning me with life, forcing open my dry throat.
The water is ice cold, burning as it trickles through my veins.
Stretching ever further, down into the ground, away from the world above,
I carry the weight of guilt that strangles me.
I run from the water as it envelopes me, but its cold, white fingers tighten their grip,
And still I feel the hope of freedom – Further, further!
Then up though the elongated neck, stetched towards the sky, majestic, poised and swaying gently.
Every hair flows into the next, continual in their death waltz:
A uniform of menace, blazing green against the dull brown soil.
I punch the sky.
Arms and legs tear away from the main, catching sunlight like a child in summer,
Open palms like the hands of beggars reach to the sky, desperate to live,
But the subtle poison lies beneath, waiting, watching,
As jagged edges like shards of glass carve the air, a warning, but no one listens.
I have no control.
A curious hand, a slight brush, and venom gushes, leaving blood red stains, bone white blotches.
I am the feared, the hated, the thorn.
Lost in my own confinement, trapped in a killer’s body.
I wait for death to stop this everlasting curse,
But it never comes.
Winter with its frost and cold comes fast,
Clawing at my insides and blocking the sun,
But this cage fights back: I merely wilt,
Spring up as soon as spring’s warmth excites these traitor bones.
Caught in my own lethal beauty,
I loathe the children nature forces from me:
They hide, protected beneath the deadly leaves and wait,
Preserving this wretchedness, the lost morality, forever.
No way out, no choice is mine,
Life torments me as the innocent die,
The Thirst aches inside, burns within each hollow breath,
As venom smiles, chooses the next victim.
But there is something nature can never control:
The love of a father, when his son is hurt.
Strong hands close around the screaming stem, ignore the pain that shoots through his veins,
And rips me up, up, out of this prison ground,
Suffocation, a blessing, is slow, painful, I feel the venom choke,
Wide eyed and rage faced, he lets go, as pain takes hold,
And I fly –
Fast, far away.
My body drops, lifeless and dead, another pest annihilated, deserved hell.
But I am finally free.
© Victoria Penn

Project Details

  • Date January 11, 2015
  • Tags 2013 The Details - Longlisted Poems