All My Motherly Duty

I could have died on this road alone

but for the fever of your touch.
You pull crusts off my loneliness

and your hand on my  wrist
lessens this wake I drag
behind me like a stillborn.

Your transmuted voice whispers
my secrets hidden in a bucket of eels

where you mock their twice mirrored mouths

I wrap my prayer shawl of grief
around the boney circumference
of your sloped shoulders.

I don’t die with longing,

I don’t even die for your lips
to press like poppies
onto my white waxen face.

I have saved all my motherly duty for you

singer of hymns and roman candle
endings splashing over my awe.

If you call me precious

don’t then graze my cheeks
with the intent of robbing

my benign forgiveness.

We carry nothing but concrete
and skinned knees down to the river

bruised and broken we do not fall,

we have become a cascade of descending numbers
filling the morning sky with a million ways
to skip over each calculation.

We drift alone and circle the sun with our purpose
each time we are burned,

singed wings drop us like holy stones
on to one another’s stage.

Leave me here on the edge of this knife
not knowing whose cold blood I’ll draw.

A heart cradled once sings anthems
of recognition upon awakening,

a heart trapped twice merely stops dead.

Jude Neale wins SPM Book Prize

for her book Splendid in its Silence
In describing work the jury says "This is brave and bold writing: the technique always rising to meet the demands of the poem’s multifarious and far-reaching concerns." It will be presented this spring in London. Read their full review.

Jude's next poetry collection

Splendid in its Silence

Launches in London on April 8th
The book is being published and launched by Sentinel Poetry Movement publishing. On Bowen Island, BC, books will be available for sale at Phoenix and other independent book stores. Jude will have a big Bowen Island Launch in May 2017.


Jude Reads Her Poetry

Hear Jude’s new poems Wildberry and Places Beyond

Accompanied by composer Thomas Beckman. (See audio player above.)