reading by winter seas

there is a quiet storm
that gathers inside
when the words don’t come

when the mess
refuses to be made right

when the entire history
of a civilisation from Socrates

the inner life of a species

is drowned
beneath its own inevitable
questioning tide

what does it mean
to be alive?

except this moment
and the next

the pleasures of the text
or the relative worth
of a green light blinking
in the dark

as the cloudy night
reaches its fingers over
the bluff

and into the sea

pulling it up, pulling it

This is a reprint of work originally published in A Synonym for Sobriety.

Ben Adams is a writer from Adelaide, South Australia, who has studied literature and history, clerked at video stores and petrol stations, been paid to wrangle cash at beer-soaked music festivals, and worked in academia. Many of his poems have found publication both online and in print over the last decade. His first complete collection of poetry, A Synonym for Sobriety, won the Single Poet series award from Friendly Street Poets and was published in 2019. Find him on Instagram (@bts.adams) or Twitter (@badbadams) and, finally, on Facebook at

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