Hush little baby,
A hundred times,
Serenade to the ocean of sleep
mother and the deep.

The hat’s on the sun
Shining loud as church bells
Skipping street-free
In bright season of green.

Curse the comparison
Of public choir
And sweet-voiced solos
That pops private bubbles of bliss.

A voice the size of a whale
Squeezed into a matchbox,
Pocketed and taken to the stands
Drawn out in weekly unison.

One night only carol service gusto,
Eager, throat sore,
Sweat prickling with audacity.
In the deafening bliss of brass.

Clip-clip, how silent the street;
The prison locks,
Song held hostage,
Manacled and gagged.

Keep the matchbox safe,
Not just for loud crowds,
Keep it safe for it holds
Your songs to heal and bless and mourn.

Gabrielle Barnby
May, 2018, Orkney


Thought I’d just share this wee poem, cobbled together at Stromness Writing Group. The exercise was simply to make lists of verbs, nouns, adverbs, adjectives around any subject to get the imagination working from a cold start. My subject was singing…

Gabrielle Barnby