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‘The Ant’ and other poems by Carol Casey

By: Carol Casey

The Ant

The ant crawls across my page,
life is small,
life is teaming with tiny busyness
glides over my words,
scanning for sustenance, not finding it
then over and under and around,
across my arm, tickling, sending shivers.
Swiping, sweeping, I, gigantic force,
alter its life’s course,
for my comfort.

The ant carries on at the same speed
from where it has landed,
skimming on surfaces,
from the depths of its biology.
Life is small,
life is teaming with tiny busyness.



Be wilder, I meant. Be in wilderness.
Lost, no compass. Just looming trees
sifting sunlight. Be wild with me.
Hop reckless crazy down hollow corridors
bereft of trees, sunlight, round edges-
artificial artifices without a glimmer.
Nothing for the senses, nonsense,
lost, bewildered.

Be wilder, I meant.
Unleash the timid feral thing
that tears at your heart.
Let it find wilderness-
run, stalk, swing from primordial vines;
dig in soil where green things
leaf to sunlight. Soothe it’s yearning
in uncharted realms clammy with life.
Let it take its chances where survival
is imperative, not systemic
destruction to clear a pathway.
Be wild as if you were meant to be,
so that I too can be uncaged.
So that the humility of nature
becomes our guide.

When I said be wilder, I also meant
to dance, laugh, touch earth lightly.
Walk out of little lucrative places
if you can’t spread your wings.
Speak heart to mediocrity.
Water flowers growing in pavement cracks.
Take comfort in weeds. Let the wind dance
your hair out of conformity
till what is held closest
in your heart feels safe to come out.


The Winter Muse

The dark muse is calling in the
wee hours saying, give me,
give me, pour me out,
pierce the paper with bleak words
of the things you keep on racks,
those endless rows of skulls
and slime you keep in shoeboxes.

Dusty, mouldy, photophobic
and all crying, rock us,
rock us while we weep in your arms,
your cradle womb.
We crave comfort, we crave silence.
Light will show your
shadow love as something tears quench.
Pour out the sadness that protects you
from the blinding winter snows.



In a dream there is a baby I neglect
leave on a ledge, go looking for a chair
am surprised when she disappears
start to yearn for her liveliness,
remember how she enriches.

I call for her.
Search in corners till I find her.
Happy, I swear to take better care.
But after a while I start to forget…

One thing I’ve noticed:
this baby never cries for me.
When she’s gone,
it’s me who does the crying.


Another Shore Waiting

If I said you are going too fast,
would you tell me you must keep pace,
toe the line, be on time, get it done, pay the bills,
all so that you can slow down later?

If I asked you to take a breath, slow down,
would you say that you can’t tolerate the rush of blood,
adrenaline pulse, fixed muscles, eyes darting,
coffee propelling till the desire to move-move-move
becomes excruciating and you will explode from
the gaudy slideshow of all you are missing
and how tired you are?

If I were to tell you that this can be borne,
that there is another shore waiting, flowers unfolding,
smells of baking, stars emerging, rich gifts of sadness,
tears turned to pearls, dream-enriched slumber
love in my eyes…

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