Tuesday Poem: ‘Just another sketch’ by Bryony Campbell

Just another sketch

I’ve written another letter
this time its form traced
on an old newsletter found discarded in the recycling bin.
In charcoal feathered pencil, I hastily sketched an outline
then folded the words into each other,
so that they held each other in with no room for escape. I

squirreled it into my jacket pocket and
zipped it away from
the prying eyes of the world, perhaps
for a rainy day
when the droplets are fat
with memories and dust. I intended to

let it breathe, or see the sun’s rays,
to let it hide forever in the shadows and collect
my ill-timed reminiscences,
but I was tempted by who knows what,
to read it once more. It’s by no means

a magnum opus, shining in clever wit. It’s
just a mere draft, just as this
is a mere draft
that I won’t dare to read or touch
again. I’m not even sure you could call it a letter
– just a collection of thoughts that stumble

and trip over each other; a clutter
of musings and broodings.
A jigsaw puzzle
with pieces missing, and unwanted pieces that
I tell you, though, there really is something

about committing your spilling thoughts to white virgin paper,
to let the blankness soak up your feelings
and make them belong to someone who is
irrevocably distant from plain old

You can blacken the paper with ink
screw it up, tear it to furry pieces,
if you don’t like what you have written,
wring it out like a towel
and empty the burning mind
of distracting thoughts.

Bryony Campbell is a 16 year old writer studying at Wellington East Girls’ College. Her poem ‘Just another sketch’ was a runner up in the 2013 National Schools Poetry Award, although I thought that the poem should have won. What I enjoy is the way the poem, which on the surface is about a letter, is actually also about poetry: “just a mere draft, just as this / is a mere draft” the poet says. Campbell states that she was intrigued by how quickly this poem unfolded, given there was no particular, conscious, inspiration for it.

Campbell’s other writing highlights include winning the Senior Category in the 2010 NZ Puffin Short Story Awards with her story ‘Bric-a-Brac’, and placing second in the Middle Division of the Scenario Writing Competition at the International Future Problem Solving Conference held in Wisconsin, USA in 2010. She currently writes interest pieces for her school’s blog ‘Define East’ and articles for the school’s annual magazine.

For other Tuesday Poems check out the hub.

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