Poem of the Month: ‘Small Hours’ by Marilyn Humbert

This piece is part of our ongoing series ‘Poem of the Month’. Every month, the Writer’s Edit team selects their favourite submission and provides detailed feedback to the author.

Stay tuned for an interview with Marilyn Humbert, discussing her inspirations and literary influences.

Poem of the Month

Small Hours by Marilyn Humbert

Bronze chains anchoring stars and moon to the dome
break, scattering shiny beads under the bed.
I stumble, scraping my knees in Cimmerian light,
a child learning to walk through obscurity,
drawn to the vastness of this onyx sea.

Wordless, lying drowsy, inhaling stygian breath
Charon ferries me to the other side.
Time and tide are measured by gods
near Lethe’s steep banks
where Hypnos stashed his satchel of sand
for Morpheus to find.

Fireflies beetle through small hours.
Claw and mandible desecrate weft and warp,
rasping the piceous cloak of night,
threads rafting thistledown on the breeze.

My mind whirs, a wind turbine out of control
waiting for the supervisor to push the off-switch.
I struggle to discover gems of sleep,
knee deep in a mullock heap
tossing obsidian chunks over my shoulder,
blistered hands grasping the shovel shaft.

The blue-eyed recorder is demanding attention:
a narrow beam chewing through layers of ebon
until gloom’s malignant heart is reached
and darkness is shattered by sunrise.

Marilyn Humbert

Marilyn Humbert lives in the Northern suburbs of Sydney. She is an enthusiastic writer of poetry. Some of her free verse poems have been published and won prizes in competitions. Marilyn's tanka, haiku appear in Australian and overseas journals and anthologies and online. She is the leader of the Bottlebrush tanka group in Sydney.

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