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Two Poems by S.J. Frideswide

Sarah Frideswide is a lifelong writer who was first published at age seventeen and is currently studying for her MA in creative writing at Oxford Brookes University, specialising in short fiction and poetry. She is a book reviewer for Foreword Reviews and a regular contributor to the Publishing Post


It is abandoned in a wood, forgotten, left to the trees and foliage and the birds, not used for many years. Empty. Deemed worthless. A testament to what was, except that no one can remember. Its stones are rough-hewn, uneven, each one has its own face where rain has softened it and wind has beaten it into shapes. Moss is creeping over the stones’ surfaces now. The moss shines in the light coming from between the trees. The red tile roof is covered in bird droppings. It is slowly becoming cream and green to match the stone. There is an empty window at the top with some remains of rotting wood still in its frame, damp and crumbly. But inside, the tower is dry and sheltered from the wind. It is a still place in an ever-moving woodland. Some dry fronds of hay still lurk in its corners. It was a functional building, but now it only shelters birds. No human goes there except for me in my quiet moments. I visit and sit on the floor, which is now being invaded by layers of decomposing leaves. I sit and I absorb the sadness of the building’s wasted years. It used to store hay for the winter. The hay kept mice and other creatures warm. Now insects hibernate in its walls, but that’s all. Apart from that it subsides into silence and obscurity, disintegrating from lack of care or use, until eventually only the foundations will be left, a square in the ground buried under leaf mould, nature’s building of the earth.



The building of my pain is from glass with a steel frame. Wavy in shape, like the sea. Glass because I can see out of it, but can’t touch the world outside and the world outside sees no reason to come in. It is a beautiful structure like the library in Helsinki. Beautiful to look at from the outside, so people don’t think of it as pain. They say “Oh what a beautiful building” and move on. But no one will ever unlock the doors, come in and show me the way out. I am trapped inside. It has four floors and gives me a tremendous view into other people's lives. It lets me see them hurrying along on the ground, heads bowed, looking only at the floor and not at each other or their environment. But it doesn’t let me out to join in with them. It is filled with books that no one ever reads except me, occasionally. Each book is a memory. Some are broken, burnt, dusty. Some are in pieces. Some are pristine in their un-read state. No one has ever learnt the language these books are written in. No one wants to. The reception desk is empty because visitors are no longer expected. People sometimes pause to look through the windows and admire the shine on the wooden floors, or the way the light makes rainbows when it catches just right on the glass. But no one pauses to think about the heat the sand grains were subjected to to make them so clear and smooth and hard that they could be built with. the foundations of this building are buried in deep. Reinforced concrete poured into channels drilled into rock. The building isn’t going anywhere.


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