Dawn broke – I dropped it on the floor.
I didn’t mean to let it go.
It launched as fumbling fingers failed –
Hung suspended for a heartbeat,
Sailed and sank, into pieces irretrievably small.
I swore those tiles would be the death
of me, and not to mention cold to boot,
But you persisted. Look what’s happened:
Feathers everywhere, and twisted splints
Of rose-streaked sky stuck to the grout.
You’ll sigh, and say that floors don’t break things
People do, and I may throw a spiteful handful
Of spilled seconds at your back
And then feel bad, and find it hard
To see to clear them up again
Under the dim and fading bulb,
While outside darkness sniggers, swaggers,
Tucks the corners in too tight and creaks
The squeaky wardrobe door.
Along with Spare, The Break of Dawn was one of two poems I wrote which were included in the 2013 Poetic Republic Competition’s e-book, Poems to Talk About.
I love the feedback you get from the Poetic Republic process – so much more interesting than simply sending poems off into the void of a professionally judged competition, never to be heard of again. A lot of the comments on this poem mentioned the play on words of the title. This, in fact, was what got me started on this particular poem – the idea that the break of dawn could be literal. It began as an amusing pun but, as I wrote, something darker emerged. It ended up surprising me and, it would seem from the comments, some of the Poetic Republic readers, too.