What is love?

Love is scary
It cannot be trusted
I pull away and start fights
Create shadows
I’m convinced of invisible sewers
where only clean clear water dwells
I throw fear on fire like fat on a flame
It sizzles and distracts
grabs attention
while we rush to put it out
Fear keeps me busy and distracted
I lick my wounds methodically like a cat
My rough tongue breaks them open
over and over Read more

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The Body

The Body, a reflection on self and overcoming trauma through the body. My latest poem on Whisper and the Roar.

Whisper and the Roar

by Melita White

The body wants to move
wants to reinhabit itself
it wants to play
To bend arc writhe and double with grace and ease
The body lets go
It also gets tired
and stiff and it aches
The body takes up more space than the other bodies do
It is majestic and has presence
Full of symbolism and reference
it represents fundamental truths
cruel ironies and distortions
The body is encumbered
Yet extends beyond boundaries
The body is boundless

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The words unfreeze in my mouth

How do I beseech the
guardian of words
to thaw, to unfreeze
the ice that dwells in
my stomach, in my
shoulders, my throat and my mouth?
Such ice also lives in my heart and
occasionally melts when the
stuck, trapped phrases
are warmed with fire and are
sparked and sparkling and tumbling
with joy both out and upon
the air skipping jauntily upon my
parched twisted tongue
where they
pool, dance and scramble
streaming once more along
tapping against my
hard ceramic teeth
where they
find life and scatter…

_______________________________________________________________________________

The words unfreeze in my mouth is a Golden Shovel poem based on four lines from The Kalevala, a Finnish epic poem.

“The words unfreeze in my mouth
and the phrases are tumbling
upon my tongue they scramble
along my teeth they scatter.”

(1: 7-10 Oxford World’s Classics edition translated by Keith Bosley)

Golden Shovel

“Terrance Hayes invented a poetry form he calls the Golden Shovel. You take a line (or lines) from a poem you admire, and use each word in the line (or lines) as an end word in your poem while maintaining the order. If you choose a line with six words, your poem would be six lines long.” Taken from https://web.njit.edu/~ronkowit/poetsonline/archive/arch_goldenshovel.html

The Path (a poem)

I can’t find the path
All I can see is snow
Tall thin trees crowd in, block me
Twigs catch at my coat
Ice conspires to slip me up
As does fear

I give up and find another path
One made of dirt
More grounded
It doesn’t go far
I scramble through and up and over
Discover human artefacts
Evidence of existence

I head back Read more

The Path (a story)

I was looking for the path the other day and I couldn’t find it. All I could see was forest: slender branches and tiny twigs in my way, snow billowing underfoot filling gaps between trees that stood so tall and so close together. Where was the path?

Not knowing anything about snow and how it behaves made it feel dangerous, even though it glinted in the sunlight and tempted me in. Would I slip? Would I sink down? What was under the surface? How deep would I fall? Everything was so new, so enticing yet impenetrable. I carefully took a few steps, marvelled at the sparkly crystals underfoot, captured the moment on camera, and turned back, equally excited and frustrated.

She wanted to play in the snow. Put on her mittens and scrape it, scoop it, taste it, mould it, throw it at her brother. She was amazed at how it packed down in between her hands, got harder and icier with each slap. Big clumsy mittens flapping around on tiny little hands. Four-year-old hands so small and smooth, encased in mittens with smiling faces on them. She would grow into them. A green plastic rain jacket with white buttons like giant peppermints. A beanie matched the mittens: red, green and white. Little leather ankle boots, tan with striped laces. The snow came unexpectedly and was gone just as fast.

With each step my foot lands and falls, lands and falls. Momentary stability gives way to the unknown then finds it again. I find the path easily. I realise that I didn’t know a path could be made of snow. Until now, in my mind, there was only one kind of path: dirt. As soon as my mind cleared I could see the path. A new path. A new way of seeing. Read more

The space between

We try to find balance
By going into hiding
Like anthropomorphised leopards
Flitting among shadows of flame trees
Flickers of light fire our nerves
Each alone, together we make the journey
And with each new step feel like debutantes


This poem is the result of a creative workshop at an artists’ residency I’m currently staying at in Finland. It was based on concepts that we worked with and discussed throughout the afternoon in a number of ways. This poem was directly inspired by a group artwork/collage, words or phrases that the artwork inspired in us, and elements of chance. I like working with partially imposed structure. It makes creating something so much easier to work within limits.

love

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she was so uncomfortable with love
that it triggered a sense of danger
an urge to flee
an inexplicable desire to squirm
out of its tightening grip
love made her feel unsafe
so scared that she extrapolated
from its warm smothering embrace
that it was trying to kill her
or at the very least
take a part of her
so unique to her being
that nothing would be left
just the empty shell
she already struggled to hold onto

I am

The baby cooed
With big wild eyes
Her round baby face morphed through every expression
Cheeks deliciously plump
Flesh-apples surrounding black cavern of toothless mouth
Issuing peals of sunshine and flutey vowels
Aspirations of affirmation
Inspire, expire
“I am” said the baby
And her Mama answered back:
“You are”

trust women- Melita White

Trust Women. Women are all kinds of wonderful. Here’s my latest poem on Whisper and the Roar collective.

Whisper and the Roar

trust women
for they know things
like how to listen
and how to draw you out
they help you feel normal
for committing the mistakes
a normal woman makes
they help you reveal
all the shame
you learnt to conceal
long ago

trust women
to tell you the hard truth
show you new perspectives
reveal back to you
your world
one that is
clearer, fairer and kinder
or harsher, meaner, more unjust —
whichever the case may be

trust women
to protect you
beyond their professional duties
they might slip in a phrase or two
that is more sage or friendly
than it ought to be
and if you listen carefully
you will hear it
and if you choose to
you can heed it

trust women
the covert coven of women
dispersed secret members
initiated unknowingly at birth
a network of wisdom
an underground rail-road
of waiting women
ready to…

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