Wendy J. Dunn – Sappho Wept

Wendy Dunn LEP&W Sept-Oct V2 2022

Download PDF Here Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Two Sept-October 2022. 

Sappho Wept, poems by Wendy J. Dunn


Sappho Wept

Sappho wept
sorrowing
for her lost poems,
sorrowing
for all the women
from her time to mine
who dared creating art
for it to be
judged an artefact
worth less
beyond worthless
compared to male
created art.

Countless female poems
tossed aside,
Countless paintings
erased,
canvases painted over.
Female creations
violated into palimpsests
of unspoken pain
by man’s hand.

Words of female writers
read only by them
(and then by those
empowered to destroy)
blazed bonfires
prolonging the night

Still
we wait
for light.

Sappho wept
for the remnants left
of her voice
Sappho wept
for so much
too much
silenced,

Sappho wept.


Centuries Of Bones

They came
from the stars
‘Who lived here?’
they asked.
‘What happened to them?’

They explored
awed by beauty
under a blue, clean sky
Butterflies flittered
by them
as if with
jewelled wings
birds twittered
their dawn songs
welcoming a new day.

The ruins
of countless tall buildings
adorned with green
cast long shadows
but glittered with eyes
of animals
dwelling safe
in their homes

‘To build such things,
they had intelligence.
but whoever they were,
They’re long gone.’

‘Strange.
Their habitant is paradise.
Who lived here,
lacked nothing.’

They walked on
beneath their feet
crumbled centuries
of bones.


Exercise In Spec Fiction.

Last Thursday
I taught on zoom
my Spec fiction class
Speaking of what ifs

Speaking of societal possibilities,
my voice trembled
and I closed my mouth
on fears
I dared not speak.
I averted my eyes
weighed down by tears
I tried to calm myself
by looking at the clouds
outside my study window

I returned my gaze
to my students
scattered in zoom isolation
and thought
our world is an exercise
in Speculative fiction.


Australia Burns

Her blisters appeared
seconds afterward
she did not care
or realised
Or perhaps
knew at all.

The wind roared

Its heat
sucking breath
from the air

Without thought
for her own safety
she became the chalice
(as women
often are)
and saved
the koala’s life.

How brief that time
would be.

The wind roared
a devil’s breath
scorching all before it
To flame

She held the wild animal
against bare skin
wrapped in her top
embers alive in its fur
Trailing red
then singed black
the embers ate away
the wild beast’s skin

Woman and marsupial
united in pain
scarred by fire
scarred by life
and dystopian nightmare.

The wind roared
a devil’s breath of
Brimstone and death.

My country burns.


© Wendy J. Dunn

Wendy J. Dunn is an award-winning Australian author, playwright and poet. Her first Tudor novels were two Anne Boleyn novels: Dear Heart, How Like You This? and The Light in the Labyrinth. Wendy’s most recent publications are two novels inspired by the life of Katherine of Aragon: her Falling Pomegranate Seeds duology: The Duty of Daughters (a finalist in the 2020 Chaucer award) and All Manner of Things (2021), Silver Medallist in the 2021 international Readers’ Favorite Award for historical personage, Silver Medallist in The Coffee Pot Book Club Book of the Year Award (Tudor and Stuart category), a finalist in the 2022 Eric Hoffer Award and a first place win for Tudor fiction in the international 2021 Chaucer Award. Wendy tutors in writing at the Swinburne University of Technology. She’s currently writing a novel set in 2010. Of course, it includes a Tudor story. She is also writing her first full length Tudor biography, commissioned by Pen and Sword.

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