We thought it was a sign, the sudden
shattering of the sky. The screaming prophets
scrying doom in lint balls scraped from the darkest corners
of their mystic pockets.
We thought it was a sign, the flying out of orbit
of the world; but maybe it was just a storm becalmed
in a cup of coffee, sipped by normality on the fields
We thought it was a sign. Yet in the street
slow traffic still gangles past the doors and windows,
fast bolted against the ominous black sea
of superstitious feathers.
We thought it was a sign, but the crones tell us
it’s not the sky above us we should fear.
Instead, we should fear our own unstable witness
of this unwilling moment.
We thought it was a sign. But later – if later comes –
we will know it was only the skreeling of fear
prophesying its own dreadful fulfilment in the confusion
of our lonely hearts.
This started life as a chain poem on the poetry collaborative. 14 poets each contributed a line, and we were then invited to do our own revisions of the original draft. This is my revision – click here to see the original poem and links to other people’s revisions. Many thanks to Jo, Dana, Leslie, Rethabile, Dave, Nathan, Blythe, Christine, Susan, Whirling Dervish, Schmutzie, Kay, and Jessica for their inspiring creativity!