The Caged Quill

Words: Rosie Howe

Embracing solitude for warmth

Cold winters bite my lonely soul

Which lies susceptible and vulnerable

Without a protector or comfort.

My nib scratches the surface of silence,

Tearing away all society.

Am I alone? Guarded by none but a pen

for a kukri and ink for venom?


Open are the wounds of my words,

The wounds of my heart? Stagnant.

My happy dagger crimson with blood

And love and tears and conviction.

Companionless my quill lies lonely

In her frosted cage where once flew

Two others, now lost. Their songs

Echo in the lone survivor’s ear, burning

Her heart, an everlasting whisper of envy.


The quill responds, distinct but shrill

Without the harmony of her kin.

The warmth of their company

Soon becomes extinct like ink

That dries too quickly on unfinished words.


Alone I scratch restless ghosts into the bureau,

Such melancholy, wintry words

That beg endlessly for the warm feathers

Of those long departed;

Sisters lost to the merciless sky.


The cage door ajar, my quill flies

Over heather lush hills and sings

Its last song to that summer breeze

As parhelion inkblots shine

On the white sheets of heaven.

Stand atop the Dale’s bronze hills,

You’ll hear on the western wind

Three celestial voices

Coiled in eternal harmony. Listen.