I didn’t go into the street with everyone else
when it happened. I was working in a bookshop
and after the customers had all filed out,  
I sat alone on a fire escape with a cigarette, 
all knowledge behind me, and waited for darkness.

I wasn’t sure what I was waiting for, didn’t know ...

About the poem

This poem appeared in New Walk Magazine, Issue 13 in November 2016

This poem is, to me, something of a miracle. It was written at a time when I wasn't feeling particularly inspired by anything at all. Various circumstances had made it very difficult for me to write and of course, not writing compounded the difficulty. The deadline for submitting something to my workshop group was fast approaching and I had nothing to share. I wanted to see my writer friends, who I knew would inspire me, and in my somewhat muddled brain I thought I wouldn't be able to go along to the workshop unless I had written something.  Early on the morning of the deadline, I pulled a writing prompt out of a pot I keep on my desk and on it was written the word ECLIPSE. 

I didn't have much time to consider what I was going to write about, or let the negative thoughts about the fact that the only time I'd ever experienced a full solar eclipse I was rather underwhelmed and therefore anything I wrote would be a similar disappointment. I jumped straight in to describing that day and for me, this poem not only captures something of my experience at the time but also the experience of writing the poem, of trying to work through the circumstances in my life which were holding me back and find a way back to writing. 

Everything that happened in the poem is true; I wrote it for anyone who has felt the darkness of life to be overwhelming, for anyone who feels isolated and perhaps most of all, I wrote it for 22 year old Zoe who felt so disconnected that day - get back to your books, young Zoe, someday this will all be very important.