Every Jacaranda: A Poetry Series

Five Poems

By Sarah Godsell

Sarah Godsell has been writing all her life, but began performing poetry in 2009. In the years since then, she has performed on various stages around the country, as well as radio and TV shows. Her favourite work is collaborating with other poets, making poems speak to each other, and pushing against the individualism we find in poetry. Her latest project in this vein is “Holding and silence”, with Vangile Gantsho. Sarah is a fierce believer in hope as a fire to hold against the brokenness of the world. With this, she is also a fierce believer in the building the world we want to live in, and working actively to dismantle the damaging structures of institutional racism and patriarchy. Her poems speak to personal and political themes, with hope being a recurring motif against darkness. Although the world often points downwards Sarah consistently chooses up.

every jacaranda


Every jacaranda
against every stormy sky

is heart

against hope.

Parts stubbornly refusing
to be swallowed by whole.
Whole gently licking and
holding parts.

Is cycle reminding us of where we were.
Where we are.
Where we will never be again.

Who will always be gone?
How they will always be with you?

Is shutting your eyes to the fall.
Finding the gentle cushions of wind
in the storm.

To the unbroken bottle


Light shines through your green glass

through the gap in your teeth

you have bounced off stones

chipped but unshattered

the roll of the r in your throat

the roll of the terror off your back

hate slipped inside you

your glass absorbed the bitter aloe

but you filter the thick dark

through your tears

catch eyes

snatch light

throw them together

into colours

too beautiful for such hurt

on days when you need to curl into yourself

you become sand

for some moments

collecting yourself away from the wind

when you are glass again the wind comes

to sing with you

you find her in your laugh

in the heat of your tears

Dear unbroken bottle

you were nearly smashed one day

your father holding you

like glass you in one hand

jagged edges in the other he threw your

fragility at you

it haunts you I know but you have

learnt since to become sand and

who can smash sand,


For the guns


The guns crawled out of themselves

that night


They left their metal carcasses

The student struggled out of his coat

as the policemen wrestled him


He escaped



Into the night


The police were left

with the ghost of the coat

still asking them

‘what did I do?’


The guns heard

They crawled out of themselves

leaving the police with their metal carcasses


They slipped into the throat

of the student


They thought they would find comfort

in her rage

This is what they are used to being fed on


Instead they found themselves

abandoned even by her


Caught in the web of the question

she kept asking the policemen


standing there with the metal carcasses of the guns

“How can you not see that you are killing your child?”


The guns wept

the tears the policemen

could not weep

Wizard. Witch. Sage


I am part wizard

Part witch

Part sage


Part humble

Part hubris


Part book shelf

Part wine rack


Part academy

Part stage


Part classroom

Part hand-in-hand sweat


Part hidden in footsteps

Collecting the imprints


Part standing on beach

Commanding the waves


Part heart of the march

Part inch above the head


Part sleep

Part death

Part umbilical cord


Part past

Part hope


Part you’ll-never-believe-me

Part challenge me, I’ll swallow you

Part hold me, I’m hurting

Part super-human


Part dancing

Part weeping

Part wizard. Part witch. Part sage

What burning?


What burning can produce

land in the flames


What flames can condense

time into blood


Pour blood

back into bodies


Push armies

back into their ships


What burning

can undo such damage?


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