The Greatest Sorrows

The greatest sorrows- poems by Roslin Steeple

The greatest sorrows

always peek into the greatest truths.

A wisp, a sliver, a keyhole glimpse.

Like June air thick with rain spraying,

tempting with the promise of drenching.

Lambent as sunlight filtering

through the clouds’ foreboding,

ever conscious of its ability to blind.

Intoxicating, as mornings heavy

with the fervour of a dream lived,

yet grasping to remember,

the few rare fragments that linger.

-Roslin Steeple


Freedom’s child

Poem by Roslin Steeple

Beyond the hills that stretch afar
where nameless  magic stills the hour,
she sings a lilting happy strain.
Distant sometimes, sometimes so near.
Yet who could sketch her visage dear
but unite in her sweet refrain?

“A new day beckons all of life
to don the veil, to be his wife.
So cast away the past’s mistakes,
let this morn sleeping dreams ignite.
Unfurl your wings come take a flight,
come soar with me,  ye freedom’s child.”

“The sky has wiped its slate off clean
and time has never looked so keen;
upon its warp your tale compile.
Your heart will tell you what is right.
Unfurl your wings come take a flight,
come soar with me,  ye freedom’s child.”

Melody lingered on the breeze
yet when the voice happened to cease,
I am afraid I cannot say.
But should you ever feel unjust,
remember that the song is just
a whim  away, a whim away.

-Roslin Steeple

Sweet Burning

Poems by Roslin Steeple

Sweet, how shall I of my soul keep abreast?
Awakened by your thrill, it weaves and wends
across the room to where you stand, and lest
memory lift and notions falter, rends
itself from me and dissolves in yours just
like shadows that meld when the dusk descends.
Emotions feed on life till they crest
and all but crash on surfeit’s dicey ends.

It is guilty of treason, my spirit;
Ignoring my decrees of caution so!
While I strive in vain to judge, doubt, work out
algorithms to calculate love, it,
eluding my mind’s attempt to lasso,
like suppressed laughter, swells and spills without.

-Roslin Steeple


I write as if from a bottomless well

I struggle to hold myself back sometimes;

to restrain my mind from flooding the paper.

If I write a lot, I’m afraid my poetry would run dry.

What then would comfort me in my retirement years?

I must not spend my words so- like heedless youth spent.

So I hoard my poetry and thoughts

like I used to hoard fossils of dried leaves

or broken pieces of coloured bangles.

But nothing I grab hold of plugs my urge

and I write as if from a bottomless well,

shamelessly drilling deeper and deeper.

-Roslin Steeple

Fran Jane Manor

Poem - Fran Jane Manor

It was hardly a manor to look at, except if you counted its years and reckoned

its rickety frames burdened by creaking eaves; permanent refuge for termites and despair.

Its proud verandah of white-washed fretwork lied of green and blue beneath its chipping film.

An Areca palm battled with life in one corner, its clay pot dark and swollen with too much water;

and the other corner had a doddering woman hunched-over on a stool.

Her faded linen dress matched the fading tapestry and the amber of her drooping eyes matched the dankness within.

Only a bright floral kerchief stood out, knotted and flapping on her head. Bygone.

A chance trespasser would never have guessed her presence. I, myself, noticed her three weeks late.

So perfectly did she blend in her perch there, well-balanced and thought out like props for a play,

that I subconsciously slowed my steps, swayed my hips and blushed a smile like a belle

every time I passed her house, no doubt, looking comical in my stiff untrained body.

Fran Jane I called her, with the kind of instinct and conviction women named total strangers with.

Her fingers inched over the series of knots and beads in her hand, her lips vacillated in ceaseless prayer.

Did she pray for her children, now grown up and gone to make their luck in the world?

Or for her husband, who had long since died, and for whom she prayed nevertheless out of habit?

She’d call me naïve if she knew my thoughts.

Not for her the courteous smiles of good old neighbours.

I made no more difference to her than the abandoned car across our street.

But like on its windscreen, Fran lay spread over my imagination. I frequently pictured her –

young and radiant, before creases laid siege to her eyes, before arthritis bound her legs,

long before the ends outnumbered the beginnings –

those carefree days of love and health, sun and sounds of children’s laughter.

Some of her smile still remained on the begonias around the wall.

-Roslin Steeple