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It is cold tonight.
And angels touch the sky to catch their icy breath
on stars.
dark shapes exaggerate on the wall
grotesque and dangerous shadows fall
fantastic crawling creatures call
I long to be among them all outside.

The milky way haphazard spatters
strips of sky with silver blue
and cuts all coloured dreams in two
and frost is cutting, cold and new
along the window’s edge.

The sullen circle of the sky spins flat
and faceless in the night
and ladies caught in chairs all sit
and wish their slippered feet would fit
and catch the light from lanterns lit
along the sleeping street.

All of the water of the sky
is stretched across the midnight blue
without a sound the silent crew
go tumbling, rumbling quietly through
ready for rain.

Sticking like needles the stars come,
staining the sky to blackened blank.
legs like old hatpins recline
coiled up with twisted spines
and count their sheep to pass the time
so far from home.

The day drifts in, the earth rotates
With thoughts of lands all far away
where sands crackle with heat of day
and treasure from Aladdin’s cave
Is theirs.

The jungled, jumbled years float through
Where mewling monkeys fill the trees,
cats stalk out on hands and knees
And no one knows and no one sees
The leaves fall.

And elbows shake and coffee spills
and coats and hats with riffs and frills
all run amok and sit and sigh
and ‘Try your best, love, not to cry.’
and hope tonight’s your turn to die.
And so they wait.

The softly curtained window bay
lets in the echoes of the day
and nurses calm and doctors say
‘Not long, my dear, not long.’
and feuds between the closest friends
with stubborn wills and long lived trends
harsh words were spoken at the end
and now it is too late.

Crooked fingers now lie still,
which used to rest upon the sill,
complain about the draught and chill
and people are glad she’s gone.
the crumpled lady who has just died
made people hurt, made people cry.
and then she stopped to ask us why
her last days were alone.


Vicki Northern is more commonly known as Ermintrude or Paradox, due to a daisy chewing habit and having odd friends. Her favourite things include watermelon pip spitting contests, quoting The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and playing unaccompanied Bach. She doesn’t like riding rickshaws down the wrong side of a dual carriageway, aeroplane curries, or the beeping sound microwaves make when they have finished cooking. She spent her childhood in East Africa learning to avoid rabid dogs, cycling through national game parks and wearing flip-flops. She reads anything she can get her hands on, mostly due to the fact that she has never had a television. She writes poetry and fiction. Now she lives in Guernsey and wants to be Postman Pat when she grows up.

© 2006, Vicki Northern

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