This poem is just too big for me. I might
as well confess before I start. Verses
will not shape themselves properly. The light
that is furnacing my heart’s a curse as
hot as coals that have got an outside of
ash on so you can’t see the glow until
you clash them apart. Out of that hot love
iambics and rhymes run madly. My will
powerless to shape anything but pent-
ameter. Even when I tried to break
the rhymes and rhythms apart, the lines bent
and went jingling like promised migraine ache.
Behind the mindskin of thin walls we build
to banish images in terror’s night
do you know if you’re being born or killed?
All I can do is warn: lacking the right
form, the whole dark sea’ll come crashing your dam,
in that black, demons, angels, intertwined.
Form is one way to hold a small “I am”
keeping the evil shapes behind your mind.
~ Jane King
A significant voice in Caribbean women’s literature, and a perceptive and articulate critic, Jane King has expanded the range of theme and style in the Saint Lucian poetic tradition. Her latest publication is ‘Performance Anxiety: new and selected poems’ (Peepal Tree Press, 2013).