Patricia Sykes – Fidelity on a Rainy Night

Patricia Sykes LEP&W V4 Dec 2022

Download PDF Here 13th Anniversary
Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Four December 2022.

Fidelity on a Rainy Night, poems by Patricia Sykes.

Fidelity on a Rainy Night

In a small room under the stars
Schumann’s Traumerei
floating to join the chirrups
of a rain-blissed frog
solitary and amorous
the frog compelled to stray
no further than the mountain
whose thighs we live between

earlier a nasturtium leaf
tipped rain down my throat
like a cure. Except thirst
is progressive
a pilgrimage through
brain fog, foot slog

and driven by reward
subject to explosions
of destruction or delight
while out in the wet night
the frog sings and sings
driven only by the rhythm
of its pulse

The Undiminished

i.m. John Bird

The powers of a diminishing, their ifs,
their ofs, their witherings, mitherings
a persuasion to lay self down

among petal, leaf, mulch, become
a wetness in the spine, melch of blood
and water table, a lapping at the orifices

an oozing from the pores.
Cleverly you hide among stars.
Your clock heart a stutter of cogs.

Your evanescence, if you were a bird,
would let the light through as you fly.
As with the model planes you build

your pilot soul controls the cockpit
in search of effortless soaring height.
“Look down. Don’t look down!”

Each footprint is ground you’ve loved
patterns of a living, etchings of a mind.
You joke as if there’s nothing to regret.

In the house of glass a chair is puzzled
by where the weight of you has gone.
The hours of palliative sitting

sit now mostly in your mind
like the snow flower
which so recently your breath blew

onto winter-frosted glass
merely to enchant a child
who is yourself of course

‘the end is not the end until the end’
until then we gratify
your final season of quips

anything within reason
that an agony death allows.
Too much indulgence though

would grieve us to excess.
So we love and do not love
your sky-to-ground soft shoe,

its scarecrow totter, sideways,
forwards, mainly backwards, arms
akimbo, ‘living is as living does,’

clowning it to the coffin in red trouser
braces and black mirror shoes. Giving
time’s dance floor the worst of the ride.

More often now your night sorrows recall
your mythic youth. How what mattered
to him was nothing less than everything.

His the voice that beckons, waxing louder
each day than ours ‘Amen’, you say, ‘
amen, but not until I‘m ready to come…’


Blood is origin, vision is everything.
Is it more than you bargained for?
My ventriloqual self is astir, intent
on provoking oblivion. Paris
in snowfall is her new obsession
its hushed allure sensuous as
mouth on mouth, as if the dark layers
I arrived with can unpeel, je t′aime.

Typically she abrupts, this time to
classical maths, why absurdly it
labelled snow a Monster. Because
each flake unique, non-logical?
Do I agree, do I not? I rock to the
rhythm of the Metro with other
window dreamers, even the graffiti
quieted by snow’s white riff.

The ventriloquial goad though
eschews silence. She nudges my
attention to the woman slumped
opposite, who jerks and shudders
before drifting back to sleep:
Was it fear that pierced her
lethe, a wish for a kinder fate
than last night’s platform assault

from which another woman limped
away, alive but spirit-bruised?
The snow falls and falls
in icy shimmers, a silent coup.

© Patricia Sykes

Patricia Sykes is a poet and librettist. Her poems and collections have received various awards, including the Newcastle Poetry Prize, John Shaw Neilson award and the Tom Howard Poetry Prize. She has read her work widely and it has featured on ABC radio programs Poetica and The Spirit of Things. Her collaborations with composer Liza Lim have been performed in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Paris, Germany, Russia, New York and the UK. She was Asialink Writer in Residence, Malaysia, 2006. A selection of her poems was published in an English/Chinese edition by Flying Island Books in 2017. A song cycle composed by Andrew Aronowicz, based on her collection The Abbotsford Mysteries, premiered at The Abbotsford Convent Melbourne — now an arts precinct — in 2019. A podcast of this work is available on various platforms.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.