Poems by Greta Sykes
Poet, writer and artist Greta Sykes has published her work in many anthologies. She is a member of London Voices Poetry Group and also produces art work for them. Her new volume of poetry called ‘The Shipping News and Other Poems’ came out in August 2016. The German translation of her book ‘Under charred skies’ has now been published in Germany under the title ‘Unter verbranntem Himmel’ by Eulenspiegel Verlag. She is the chair of the Socialist History Society and has organised joint poetry events for them at the Poetry Café. She is a trained child psychologist and has taught at the Institute of Education, London University, where she is now an associate researcher. Her Particular focus is now on women’s emancipation and antiquity. Twitter: @g4gaia. Facebook.com/greta.sykes. German Wikipedia: Greta Sykes.
Tips for men
Wear a smile,
Dare to show doubt, even self doubt,
Wear a man bag.
Wear a smile
And a man bag
With a bottle of water,
Lip salve and chocolates
For you loved one.
Wear a smile,
Wear sadness, compassion, when
She feels it, share it.
wear a man bag,
wear a smile,
turn your head to look at her,
when she speaks.
Tell her she’s lovely
And that you love her.
Use your eyes to see beauty, symmetry.
Wear a smile,
Wear a man bag,
Practice saying ‘yes’, lets
And wear a smile.
Practice self doubt.
You might be wrong sometimes,
Rustling along the pavement
dragged by the wind,
The yellow and ochre leaves
Whisper secret messages.
Then they lie still, lost in the big city.
A gust blows them into a pile
And onwards, drifting,
The asphalt is unforgiving,
It berates nature.
Tiny humans, alert and anxious,
Pile up like leaves
At the crossroad.
The lights blink red, then orange, then green.
Green is for bulldozers, tractors
And huge lorries.
Between gigantic buildings,
Architecture and technological toys
For giants, they look blank.
A man, stone-faced, strides across my path,
Plugs in his ears. A frail woman,
Her black garb fluttering like a sail,
Her face hidden in cloth,
The huge yellow pipes outside the British
Museum, a preparation for an escape
to another planet.
This one is used up. A sheet of rain
Passing like a glass wall I can pass through.
I think of nothing.
Before me a giant crane digs
Deep into the intestines of earth
Trying to steal her life
And sell it to a robot.
On the beach
Between the solid back of my lover,
like a rock, and the ocean wave
thunder in a rhythm of breath
the time is right for me to concentrate
on my microbiomes, take shape as drift wood,
seaweed, or a shell, washed up on the shore,
and placed amidst the grains of yellow sand,
a bacteria, an archaea, a eukaryote,
immutable, indefatigable, eternal,
ancient from deep inside the ocean,
I live on, skin on skin, flesh close to flesh,
His back my easel on which I paint
The story of my life.
© Greta Sykes