Poetry

The Thirsty Traveller

Once, I heard the trickle of a long forgotten stream

As I strolled along taking in the syrup of the noonday sun’s gleam.

My throat was dry, and so I stopped

To take a sip with cupped hands,

Realising too late that I’d been caught in black quicksand.

 

What fool was I

To have ventured without a careful glance?

Had I thought I was fair of fortune enough

To gamble with chance?

 

Some might now expect me to say I was saved

But sadly I must inform you that for me, a different end was paved.

Though my body soon disappeared underground

I now hover above the water

Guarding forever against any fools willing to clown around.

Poetry

Colours of life

Long have tapestries been woven to tell tales.

Thread expertly chosen to depict every detail,

dyes richly combined

to bring forth the imagery.

Clear, neat, refined.

 

Silvertongues have learnt to weave tapestries with words.

Audiences spend hours listening

in suspense, enthralled by the daring twists at play.

 

Poets do the same, but set down their words

so the tapestries may be admired time and time again.

 

When Silvertongues and poets gather,

such is the intensity

that the air fills with the colour of life.

Each a muse to the other,

they walk hand in hand,

bonded at last to oversee the ripples

they couldn’t help but create.

Poetry

Oracle of Seasons

I woke up

and for once I silenced my fears.

I picked up a nugget of sunlight and put it in my top pocket,

patting it

every time the chill from the tunnel

made goosepimples rise on my skin.

It sent a ripple of heat and light through my body

that became as natural as breath.

 

In the distance, I saw you pick up

a nugget of your own

and hide it in the lengths of your hair.

With every casual stride

it glinted, dazzling my eyes.

I wanted to run out of winter, and join you in summer.

 

I didn’t realise you were running towards me.

We met in spring.

Poetry

Glide

I want to latch my mind

onto the back of a butterfly and let it take me

off, gliding past bushes and hedges,

swerving by faces and paws,

whiskers, beaks and speeding cars

up, up

to flutter around treetops,

when I can step off and walk along the longest branches

to gaze out

at everything.

See all the possible choices

spread out like drunken scrawls on a map,

overlapping and diverting,

all hinging

on one point, one inciting incident that leads into many.

There is no point in looking back at what might have been,

those pathways have already crumbled.

I can only look forward

and hope the winds from the multitude of wing beats

don’t sweep

my self away.

Reviews

Book Review: The Waterfall Traveler by S. J Lem

The Waterfall Traveler is a young adult fantasy novel that I picked up last year after seeing the author do a cover reveal on the Books Go Social Facebook page. It looked stunning, so I kept my eye on it and ordered the paperback when it was finally released. Still, due to my enormous TBR pile, it’s taken me this long to get to it. But honestly, it was worth the wait.

The story focuses on Ri, a teenage girl who has been raised in a small village on an island cut off from the mainland. Samuel, the man who raised her, found her when she was just a child on his travels, so both of them are outsiders to the village, even though they’ve lived there for years. To make matters worse, Samuel has the Sickness (which initially seems like a form of dementia) and often goes wandering off on his own. After one of these episodes, he wanders into the forest surrounding the village. When Ri finally finds him, he tells her about a boy who travels back and forth through the waterfall. She dismisses it as one of his fantasies and sends him home while she stays to try and gather some food. However, it’s not food she finds. In the dark part of the forest, she discovers a human skull covered in slime. Before she can analyse it properly, a man steps forward and goads her, with the intent of taking the fish she’s caught. Ri doesn’t give in, but a strange noise sounds around them and he tells her to flee. She does, but injures herself and collapses by the river.

Sometime later, she awakens to see a boy around her age attempting to treat her wounds. Initially, she tries to ward him off, panicking about how long she’s been unconscious due to her need to look after Samuel, but she relaxes enough for him to patch her up. Yet the danger she faced is still lurking, and they both find themselves under attack by an unseen foe. Ri is shot with a poisonous dart, so with no other choice, the boy gathers her up and takes her through the waterfall to his home on the other side.

Three days pass before Ri finally wakes up, but the boy — Bryce — tells her truthfully that he cannot simply take her back because the gateways between waterfalls change with the moon, and so the path to her island is cut off for another month. In a panic, she attempts to escape the cave Bryce lives in, only to discover the smooth-talking Carter coming to pay his best friend a visit, and to arrange the delivery of herbs Bryce gathered in the forest to certain city guards. Giving in, Bryce agrees to let her accompany them up into the streets of the city, where she discovers the huge divide between the rich and the poor, as well as the devastating news that Samuel is a wanted man there, accused of a crime she cannot bring herself to believe him capable of. And then there is the news of the Culling, a faceless danger attacking the city.

I won’t lie about this book – at first, I thought I wasn’t going to like it because I found Ri irritating and far too impulsive to be practical. However, she grew on me quickly, especially when it came to interacting with the other main characters. The book is all from her point of view, so it was interesting to be privy to the private thoughts she had about everyone. All the characters in this book are strong, with concerns so specific to them that their actions felt completely justified, even if Ri didn’t agree. Most of the hints weaved throughout the story about what was really going on linked together solidly in the conclusion, though as The Waterfall Traveler is the first book in a series, some were left open. The plot itself was well thought out, and the world building was so rich I felt like I could stroll inside the pages. Though perhaps not at one of the more perilous parts.

Another thing to note about this book is that it’s an indie, but it truly reads every bit (if not better, in some cases) as books by bigger publishers. So, if you’re unsure about reading a book that’s been self-published, I’m inclined to say give it go. I’d happily press The Waterfall Traveler into everybody’s hands if I could, and I know from experience that it’s not the only book that deserves more press than it’s had so far.

If I had to describe it in a word: enchanting.

Kat out!

Poetry, Uncategorized

Pi inches of parchment

Unfurling the scroll, it seems

it will never end,

a list upon a list that is

stuck in my hands

for an eternity I don’t want to face.

Ticked boxes, completed tasks,

I’m winning,

then the scroll is reversed

and instead I see

how much I’m losing.

Losing, or lost? That’s

the question now.

All I need is a chance.

Just one,

and then I’ll feel like me again.

Uncategorized

The River Guards

A gathering of columns,

decorated with bright, orange blooms

that cascade their scent

on the decayed air,

stand bold against the grey river.

To them,

Satan is just a song

that drifts down on the wind,

but for those who sail,

unwillingly,

beyond the columns’ reach,

the song is more

a delighted warning of what awaits,

hellishly reminiscent

of the jaw-jarring scraping

of human fingernails on a blackboard,

drawn so fiercely across

that the nails are ripped away

from the cuticles.

The song instills anxiety into every

body.

What kind of creature

could possibly make such

a sound?

 

Poetry

Who you really are

I want to climb to the stars,

feel the roar

of ovation in my ears.

Let euphoria take over

as my body balances

on the point of a needle

as it sways back and forth across the dial.

Precarious. Rash. Bold.

I am all these things.

As I wake,

I sink my hands

into my jarring heart

and replace the bent, broken cogs

with new ones.