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A collection of poetry by Ellena Smith-Culverston

A DEDICATION I have a secret to tell adults who were once children, and children who are becoming adults in a world that, sometimes, takes more than you think you can give:

you are enough. Thank you to Ian, Susan, Emma, Jessica and Sean. Five fingers, and the palm of home, formed a helping hand in the darkness when all seemed lost. Thank you all for being my tower of strength.
















01. ONE. point. FIVE

Who are we?

Really, when we dig deep inside

Tugging Pulling out

aside our ribs our eyes,

To reach our hearts and minds -

We are flesh and bone Blood too and yet we are a home

To a soul, an id, a cosmic grid Connected by energy To something big; Are we more than a mind, Two legs, two arms, eight fingers Two thumbs and ten toes, Two eyes, one nose, one brain Two feet, two knees, wobbly bits

And bones - am I me; Or am I you? When we join We become less than two

And more than one A complex singularity,

Subject to individual clarity,

Forgive me for my lack of lucidity My fluidity is all you’ve left of me; Are we human or are we more Two souls inhabiting flesh

Generated in the outcome

Of the mammalian lucky draw -

I like your eyes but I love Your soul more 6

I want you for your id Not your physique or Your funny drawl -

I didn’t love you For material things, Or your bones or your ribs,

Your toes or clothes and Your grin, though your face Manifests what I commune with Deep inside, when one plus one Is one point five I don’t think I ever told you

That it was then that I

Felt most alive.



02. SEED

I will take the seeds of your love and plant them in a place where the sun shines down upon them and rain feeds their roots

I will take the seeds of your friendship and place them within my soul in a place so




nothing bad shall c o r r o d e their soil I will take the seeds of your affection and water them day by day I will cherish your reflection

in each summer bloom and blossom

I will take the seeds of our connection and let them grow within my heart entwining us by our souls affinity ‘til our closeness binds us endlessly

I will love you


We will love us plenty



I am aquiline; curiously shaped

prominent, asym metr ical


gaze large, nose long

features not made for pleasing, more for amusing my own reflection and if I cannot love my strange features, knobbly

thin hands


then how can I expect to find love elsewhere in this land? Aquiline, hooked bent, doubly except in reality

I wouldn’t have any face but mine coming

this body, at the seams

this too, at least is mine 12



indeed, strange as I am as unlovable, uncovetable

I appreciate my flaws my un bal anced, e l o n g a t e d stride and above all else, these things

these material characteristics,

do not hold any bearing over who I am inside

so br ea k your mirrors taunt me with your jibes your cruel words feed only my strange sense of pride the knowledge that I and my flaws, so perceived by you and those you idolise will always matter more to you

than I.




I love you Every inch, atom and molecule Every pore of the skin you’re in I love you with such completeness That I cannot begin to fathom

Where you end and I begin When laying in your arms, I am but liquid, tangible peace And we a tangle of yin-yang limbs; I love you, and hope That you will not go Not until we are tired eyed And grey-haired

With century old limbs And hearts full to brimming

With life and love and family and us

I will love you ‘til we are

but dust

For over time you will become I

And I will become you,

Our hearts inhabiting not one body But co-inhabiting two.




We are transient Non permanent A fixture made Of imperfect bones And flesh and skin -

We are a mind, a soul Feet dug in soil

Cold hands, early dawn Fire-pink skies and smoky embers We are human, each a being Sentient and wavering and learning Young in the eyes of the old

And the universe that spat us

Kicking and screaming into the world -

We are what we are, mortal In coil and bondage until We return to our ancestral home

The birthing point of stars And molten souls.




There are words wrapped around my tongue

like gilded butterflies too fragile to fly

and every breath a shuddering sacrifice

a tiny death

breathed out into the





I am my eye for in it you can see all of my history and the future of who I will be; an

I am indeterminate, open-ended book a line of poetry, at the end of a hook;

I am all that I will be jubilant, sad, morose and free, I am a fleeting thing, a memory, a thought, a hug over a cup of tea;

perhaps to you, I am a hand to hold a person to love, or one to be abhorred; but as you can see, I am who I am, I’m simply me, you can see this in my eyes my soul laid wide, like a child surprised barefoot and running after the sunrise. 26



His arms are full of br o ken things and he’s subsisting on token dreams don’t know how he’s pulling the strings moving his limbs and counting his rings all I know is that he’s losing things that once made him happy to bring part of his soul into everything now he’s a drying stream dying slowly with each lost dream

closing his eyes just to sleep drifting alone out to sea slipping further away from me oh his arms are full of br o ken things holding too tight and cutting the strings to all that made him dance in the light now he’s just lost without much of a fight trying to live and love but he doesn’t have the might to hold onto love in the absence of light 29


I made a bed with the bones of us a place where you do not belong and I would have given all to hold you up to have you taste the light

withdrawn, so long had you lingered in darkness yet you and I for all we tried did not belong and I pulled you up only for you to slide down

again, dipping, sinking low

the black foamed sea of your despair

sweeping clean the bones of our misery taking you far

away from me

until there was naught but bitter words hanging in the air

between us


and so we made our bed out of the bones of us a place where you could not rest your head

and where I could not be happy

and we ruined what we had, out of despair out of the desperation to be happy, loved

and now I am bleached of all affection and I sit

in stony silence





is the bones of us preserved in memory.



There is an absence of love And an abundance of hate People dying to be consumed, Consumers dying to assume,

Assimilate, masturbate Sickly they exacerbate And emancipate All they feel they have to hate Our enemies portrayed By our Big Brother State An Orwellian Horror that simply grates Against my sensibilities My soul, trying to imbue my essence

With negativity in spades Oh there’s an absence of love And an abundance of this, I can’t simply watch you As you’re taught how to mate

War with terror and terror with hate You’re a sheep, a dead bleat Clothed in a human disguise, Look at all the love and creativity You’ve smothered to give life To this corporate lie We are people, souls, lovers, Halves of two wholes,

And yet your ignorance feeds The all consuming greed 33

Of those who would send us both To fight to our deaths, And bury us in shallow unmarked graves

Where is your grace, your fire, your heart? Where is our love, has it been torn apart?

I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to say -

Your wilful ignorance had made you blind You’re marching to someone else’s drum And you’ve left your own behind -

You’ve an absence of love And an abundance of hate,

I remember when our communal joy Could’ve seeded the Garden of Eden

Yet now you’re a barren waste, A sack of skin that breathes to hate You’re pledging your life to a soulless state You are the mirror of our future And I of our desperation

My words plead in solemn condemnation I






But there is an absence here Of love and joy and sweet exultation While fear breeds hate and misconception An abundance of toxic worldwide fornication, Forgive me, I am drowning in the poisoned ocean Of your creation. 35


What is it that keeps us running Scared like lambs, our hearts th um ping Is it fear of failure, or mass consumption? Tell me, have you had this notion? Nine til five, worker drones,

Ill paid bees

stuck in a


And you can smell it, sweet and thick Cloying as you shake that tic

The nervous habit you just can’t kick

Addicted, is that it? But to what,

The money made of paper, Worthless but for the man, it’s maker?

What is it, a pound of what? Flesh or gold or something bitter? Greed and war, for the saints and the sinners Don’t you ever feel so wrong? That boggling nig gli ng urge

To flee and br eak your bonds? Don’t you look at the world and think ‘was I always





this alone?’

All enslaved to the queen on her throne Though as empty as a puppet is she, We will never be free until we want to be 36

Connect to your mother, your father, your brother A conversation built not on some T.V slobber Speak and listen and look at your lover, Evaluate what you want to be

Before it's all





Words are


Like rain into a paper cup -

When the words stop, there Is a hole in the bottom Where all of my words Should be -

Gone, just echoes Like the trails of falling stars

Only blazes in the skies Of my distant memories Is my life to be as such?

Is my love to be worth as much? Words seep like blood back in

Through the wounds which let them out

Each syllable a memory, a ghost Of happier or sadder or more

Frightening times, and I stand Still in the midst of this tempest And mourn the h o l e and the pieces

Of my soul which have sodden-through Only then I realise that my words Are running down, down now

Into rivers and streams like The neural pathways of

Your brain, and perhaps They'll find their way back to me Like your fingers

in my palm.



You say hello As though it is

The most magnanimous Greeting in the whole W i d e universe And look at me As if I am Some kind of

New Age Messiah Because I talk In circles


My mind is on, Bright light flickering

Like a dying sun When it switches off You run;

The l i g h t inside Is broken but I

Still work, I am Clutching at straws and Walking in reverse You have realised that I am human and I am known to err What happened to the adoration? Ah yes, now

It is for her


Your scribbled Handwritten poems Are no longer

For my


to see -

Instead they keep her company crumpled Hand-held Beneath fluffed pillows Laying

As you love her More than you ever loved Me;

I was never a messiah For you to crucify, Only a girl-woman Half-grown and growing,

Trying to make sense of life You didn't have to take All I could give And deem it wanting,

I had more in reserve A reservoir of feeling That you never did see Without you, it bolsters me My Judas in Gethsemane.


14. 1 AM

There was a part of you that was never mine to touch, to reach for,

to hold,

you kept it apart,

or to love -


high up on a shelf not even the dust motes could reach,

and I spent so much time feeling my way blind-folded down the vast corridors of your


and mind

that I almost forgot the pathways throughout my own; Loving you was a one-way plunge, the kind of dive that frightens

yet entices, though your waters were deep and murky, your tongue sp it ting double-meanings, instead of singing truth, and at times I felt like a



in a deluge, half-drowned;


Oh, you would leave doors half-open, inviting me in only for your higher self to shut me out,

and though I would stare at your beauty, you were as an iceberg barely breaking the surface with so much left below,

our minds wading in icy waters as they threatened to swallow me whole, though you could swim all along unsurprising,

it was your storm;



I remember feeling on

cold nights

with your body next to mine, skin against skin, aware of the fact you had never felt so distant,

and though you would tell me that you loved me true love would not have left my world bottomless,

not whole love, not good love, the kind that wells up inside your soul, no; And though I have that 'good' love, now, and as much as time has healed,

I do still think of you from time to time with your higher self sat on that lonely shelf, dust motes clinging to the lip but never quite touching,

much like our hearts, and I am not sad, just reflective a recognition, soul-deep,

that I was worth more to drown in love is not to live, but to breathe love and see love, to feel love and 'be' loved, is the secret, not high shelves

housing protected selves;

I know, now, that you couldn't have loved me at least, not in the way you would grandly claim

over the telephone, 1 AM, six drinks in or in long, sober conversations where the minutes on my handset would count upwards, because the heart does not leave a wanted love behind,

though if you didn't want me, I wish you hadn't lied. 47


A child, a dependent soul, one million gifts wrapped up in one enigmatic, learning whole -

do we stop being children when we grow old?

or are we always children in the same fold, children of the universe, not just the millennia though these days our minds are always on the next agenda,

instead of on ourselves, or better yet each other; Perhaps that is why as a species we suffer, drilling out

childhood imperfections

whilst we strive for better, but instead we're destroying the dreams which made our lives so much richer instead of nurturing our inner children to love each other even when the chips are down, when the penny's tails-up and we've chosen heads,

because that's when we need each other most, it's easy to comprehend if you combine your heart with your mind

and strive to keep it open most, if not all, of the time; I don't know when the world lost its childhood splendour, though some days it still breaks through the grime,

turning it to glitter and it's usually when someone's kind, when they do something for the betterment of someone else's life, and it can be small, like opening a door

or giving someone a random gift, or maybe it's just listening to someone who's in need, 48

and giving them an olive branch

that this time, they can reach; Either way, all I know, is that I wish we had a little more

of our inner children on show, the child that would make friends based off a warm, cheeky smile,

the child that never judged and just wanted to sit, talk and laugh for a while,

and ask questions about the world that most adults think unimportant,

like 'why's the sky blue' or 'does love have a colour' when the truth is love has every colour, it is every shade and hue, all-encompassing and all-inclusive

just like the children, inside me and you, in every single adult, trying to break through.


Pendulum - a Poetry Book  
Pendulum - a Poetry Book