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3 poems by Jacqueline Saphra

Sonnet 42 - 3rd May

'Warren Buffett dumps US airline stocks, 'saying world has changed'

after Covid-19' BBC News

The Gods

The Oracle of Omaha has rocked

the markets, he's let his darlings fall,

he's caved and dumped his sagging stocks

in grounded birds, he's smashed his crystal ball,

he's torn up his portfolio and left us

flightless. Warren, what the hell? You said

you knew! You said that we could trust

our well-oiled wings and so we did.

Warren, we fuelled up our death machines,

we burned a trail, we turned the sky to ash,

we owned the heavens, lived the human dream,

displaced the angels as we risked the crash.

We held dominion over earth and air,

we flew; yeah, Warren, we were gods up there.

Sonnet 51 - 12th May

'People in England will be able to spend more time outdoors

from Wednesday ''for leisure purposes'' BBC News


I often try to write about the coots

and fail. Perhaps they have a message but

I'm just a visitor. The chicks were cute

but now they're squabbling, gangly, caught out

by unexpected adolescence, mum and dad

still busy all the time, augmenting the nest,

diving for weeds, guarding the brood.

Is this activity profound, maybe a test

of my ability with metaphors?

Apparently it's rare for all to grow

to adulthood, what with the swans, the drains,

the heat, polluted water. I don't know

how to help; some days I stop and count.

Sometimes I care, sometimes I don't.

Sonnet 52 - 13th May

'Long queues force Elgin Burger King to close as police called in' BBC News

I have learned

that even these canals can be a home

for coots, that coots have fascinating feet

and noisy chicks who might provoke the swans

to rage; that humans prize the roasted civet,

for its meat and some may ask to view

the pangolin alive before it's slaughtered;

that everything exists to be consumed;

that even flesh of bat can be endured

if you are into that, that queues along

the highway are insane, because, we've heard,

Burger King has opened up again;

that we are nothing like the waterbirds

who rear their young and make their nests,

take only what they need and leave the rest.


These sonnets are from '100 Lockdown Sonnets', forthcoming from Nine Arches Press, more info about the sonnets here:

Jacqueline Saphra's All My Mad Mothers was shortlisted for the 2017 T.S. Eliot prize and was followed by Dad, Remember You are Dead in 2019, both from Nine Arches Press. Two illustrated chapbooks, A Bargain with the Light: Poems after Lee Miller and Veritas: Poems after Artemisia are both published by Hercules Editions. 


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