asked I
to the pencil graphite tip
that fell under my desk
rolled off the top of my bare foot
and lodged its complaint in the plush carpet under my toes
as I plucked it out
between my thumb and pointed finger
just before I flicked it into my garbage bin
like a dry crumb
“Did I press too hard?”
“Did I poke through the page?”
I hear my English professor’s stale echo:
“Writer’s should show
each word carefully chosen.”
that poison-arrow dart
broken, but still sharp,
left me a tip
before its trash landing:
charcoal smudges on my hand fit for fingerprint blotting
“Guilty!” it said. “Sentenced to life!”
the witness has formally testified
for there on the pages before me
poured out from my beating heart
my written words


Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse. Bookmark the permalink.

67 thoughts on “Sentenced

      1. I lived in Sugar Loaf Key for 11 years, I have grown to hate the sun shinning bright. I love a good old fashioned thunder/rain storm. In Florida, you could sit on your lani/pool and watch the storms roll in during rainy season. Every day at 2 PM…. 😎 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Enjoy the weather, one day when you have time, explain your writing process to me, I’d love to know how you accomplish what you do.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I will…busy bleeding words! I’m actually adapting my fantasy novel. It’s a complete re-write with new chapters. I’m breaking it into small books. The first will be a free eBook up soon on Amazon. It’s keeping me busy!😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you! I’m planning the next “Ken” video as well. That one is going to end with a bit of a surprise…(no hints, other than it is FUNNY)
        The adaptation is a huge leap past the first book. I’m excited about it.😊

        Liked by 1 person

      1. well I haven’t seen you for a while so I was suspecting that you were kidnapped by small people who try to pass themselves off as kids when they’re really space aliens sent here to take over our world.

        or something like that.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh my, Tanya. This just serves to prove you can take almost any thought and turn it into good reading material! What an imagination you have, my friend! And I did have an English professor like the one you mentioned in your poem!

    Another gentle day today, mid to upper 70’s…


    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes they do break often. My problem was not breaking them as much as having the points go dull or soft. I must have a sharp pencil lead or I can’t think!

        Lol 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. And when I drank hot coffee, I liked it very hot! That’s why I only poured half a cup at a time. A full cup would get too cold for my taste…just sharing trivial information! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Lol…I like trivial information. I take a full cup, but I drink it slowly. My coffee is always getting cold. I warm the cup up in the microwave and forget I put it there. It’s a running joke in the house to locate my coffee in the microwave…cold again…😊

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Now that is interesting and funny trivia! I used to drink my coffee slowly too, but couldn’t swallow it when it was the least bit cold. And I was usually at work and not close to the lunch room to use the microwave. No chance to forget it! I just got a new half cup…


        Liked by 1 person

  2. It takes a long time to throw off the yoke of that life sentence. I still read my school reports, jealousy guarded, and I am amazed by the negativity that surrounded me in school. I wonder how much of that would have followed me, had I remained in the UK. Certainly emigration gave me a new start, a new life, and I never looked back. The shadows that were cast upon me were just that: shadows. They lacked all reality. Your poem brings back the falsehood of those memories. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Roger! For me it was a reminder to just keep pouring the words out from my heart. That’s when I am at my best! I think that’s when we all are. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Backcatablogging: Tanya Cliff and Siren Whispers and a response poem “In the Deep” | sailorpoet

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