beneath her scarf, her honour—
everything lowers to its haunches, puffs out its cheeks
vulnerable to reality even hope sinks.
I would blow my hope alive with my last breath
but what pulls us and holds us together
is neither cement, nor clay, nor consoling comfort—
when her father and brothers come knocking
even the scarf will not protect her.
Note: the first line of the poem, ‘beneath her scarf her honour’, comes from p.119 of I Am The Beggar Of The World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan,translated by Eliza Grimwold (Farrar Straus and Giroux, New York, 2014).
Sandra Renew’s poetry expresses her opinions on the state of the world. She wonders who sleeps at night? Who is lucky enough to live in safety and peace? Her poetry is informed by her many years working in war zones, in Indigenous communities and on the fringes of heterosexuality.
Her poetry comments on contemporary issues and questions: war, language, environment, climate and the planet’s health, translation, dislocation, migration, terrorism, border crossings, dissent, gender, protest, human rights and freedoms.
Sandra has published several books including Projected on the Wall (Ginninderra Press, Pocket Poets series, 2015); Flood, Fire and Drought, an anthology exploring the effect of weather events on the Australian Landscape (ed. by Suzanne Edgar, Kathleen Kituai, Sandra Renew and Hazel Hall, Ginninderra Press, 2015); and One Last Border: Poems for refugees by Hazel Hall, Moya Pacey and Sandra Renew (Ginninderra Press, 2015). Who sleeps at night is forthcoming with Ginninderra in December 2016.
Sandra’s tanka and tanka prose have also been published in journals internationally, and her poetry has appeared in journals such as Eureka Street, Right Now, Burley and Scum. You can learn more about Sandra at her website, Guerilla Poet.