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     Finding Sanctuary

       Judith Lesley Marshall / Fantasy
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Finding Sanctuary
Finding Sanctuary

Copyright 2017 Judith Lesley Marshall


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In 1809 Charles Darwin dropped anchor off the coast of New Zealand and declared it: ‘a chaos of delight.’ More than two centuries later I fulfilled a lifelong dream and embarked on a motor home tour of ‘Godzona.’
Poems inspired by that journey are woven into this collection which originally evolved from exploring the theme of ‘sanctuary.’ They can be read either as a series of steps or as a single story that can be enjoyed in one sitting.
They are dedicated to dreamers, travellers and explorers everywhere. I hope that you find something to surprise, amuse and delight you within their lines.


Table of Contents

No Entry
Carrion Call
No Exit
In Godzona
Festival Season
Night Walker
Alien Rock
Rainbow Serpent
Fly Away Home
Address Unknown
Into the Pit
In the Stillness
Finding Sanctuary
Porte Disparu
About the Author

No Entry
Sliding home the bolt
I turn to find
a flight of stone steps
descending into darkness,

fumble for the switch,
which flickers with a click
flooding the cellar
with violet light,

inhale the dank dust,
tiptoe to the bottom,
peep around the corner
of the white-washed walls.

I did not intend to trespass
on your private world
but the door was unlocked
and I needed a place to hide.


It was not murder
when you banished me
to my room,
nor manslaughter
when you grounded me
for a month,

Just a slow suicide
until I dissolved
into the shadow
of a spectral self,
which mirrored me
like a twin.

Nails bitten to the quick
I scratched nadia
into the frost
frozen on the inside
of the leaded glass –
aidan appeared in the pane.


You were the first
to see me for what I was,
a canary in a cage.

You would take me out,
but a bird with broken wings
cannot learn to fly,

Even in the arms of a lover
with enough free spirit for two.

You were my light,
my air, my insight
to the world outside.

The day you ceased to call
I fretted, lost my singing voice.

(First published in Masquerade: 2013)


Carrion Call
It all changed when the raptors moved in.

Not that I could see them,
but I could smell their stench,
could feel their blood red eyes
itching for the chance
to strip flesh from bone.

Pegged out by breed
and country of birth,
their eldritch screech lased
my mind, rattled my teeth,
shredded my walk
through the pine tree trail.

There was no more peace
in the old walled garden,
by the lily pad lake
or waterfall steps,
saturated by their carrion call.

It all changed when the raptors moved in.


No Exit
An echo of footsteps
betrays each tread
as dust motes spiral
like a cloud of midges
in the musty air.

From the top stair
torchlight reveals
a tumble of boxes
matted with cobwebs
and mouse droppings.

Floorboards bend and bow
as I press a path
through the spill;
clothes, shoes, records,
bags and books.

Strips of wallpaper
peel from the wall
like the bark of a birch,
fail to conceal
a forgotten door.

I fit the last key
into the lock,
turn the knob,
knock ‘rat a tat tat’…
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