Abaddon, a SF Poem


Earlier this week, the Winter 2019 issue of Illumen magazine was published and made available for purchase. In this issue is my first poetry sale (!). The poem in question is titled Abaddon. My poem is published alongside fellow writer and poet, Jasmine Arch, who is also a friend and in my critique group, INK-ubator.

Illumen is a SFF poetry magazine published by Alban Lake Publishing, an indie publishing company.

Back to the poem. What is it about, why the title, and why would you read it?

Abaddon explores the final moments before a star implodes and a human on the planet orbiting it, one of those few who have survived until that point, before inevitable demise. Along with her are the last of the plant life, slowly withering. They only have a few minutes and it’s spent in silent reflection.

The poem was the result of poetry challenge given by Damian Jay Clay, a friend and fellow member of INK-ubator. His challenge was to decide on a consonant and find 50 words ending on the same phonetic letter. With those words, construct a poem where each line ends on one of the words, never repeating. And as an extra challenge, prevent any lines from rhyming. I chose the letter “N” as phonetic in “sun”. And “abaddon”. The title needed to be the same as the last words of the lines.

So why “Abaddon“? It means “destroyer” and I found it fitting to write about. What’s more destructive than a star? And the dichotomy of its nature was what made the concept of a dying star more tantalising. The idea struck from inspiration due to Unleash The Archers‘ song titled Time Stands Still, specifically the chorus. Further influence for the poem came from the character Abaddon the Despoiler from Warhammer 40k and his Black Crusades (which I find relevant to today’s socio-political climate, though the poem is removed from this).

What to know more? The issue can be found right here: Illumen Winter 2019 print and Illumen Winter 2019 ebook.

But why should you check it out? Hey, I’m not going to tell you why you should or should not, I’m highly in favour of leaving decisions to the individual to make. Though, I will make an argument for it. Illumen is indie backed, and Alban Lake does a lot for emerging writers and established authors in a market otherwise difficult to break into. Illumen is also focused on the SFF in poetry, which is relatively new and as yet has little support on the overall. Not to mention the importance and significance of speculative fiction in our history and our future, which your support will help keep relevant and thriving. Your support would also support me, as well as other writers in SFF.

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On Characters and Identity

Poetry, Unintended Poetry

An Unintended Poem

with how the face of society
is changing

more tolerant
breaking gender personality attributions

it may become essential
to make characters
more fluid
in the overall

exceptions will exist

but more and more

people are embracing
just being


Words by Anike Kirsten, Formatting by Jasmine Arch.

Seen Horrors of War


This is a poem about war, and the horrors and casualties resulting from it. One inspired by the melody of the song Sarajevo by Savatage—telling of perspectives and critique around the Bosnian War with their album Dead Winter Dead—and written for a rhyme contest of the Steem blockchain.

“Syria may appear to be a small country, but it is just the type of entangled conflict that can lead to a world catastrophe. It does not take much imagination to see Syria as the Sarajevo of the 21st century, leading to world war.”
~Ahmed Zewail


In a town far away from borders, somewhere in its square,
a fiery combat thunders between mankind and airfare.
It’s been about four years since the war suddenly began,
and its life was its people, but its stones now red from rain.

The blood now stains those stones and it has been like this for years
and watchers and wanderers share no laughter, only tears.
And they’ll never find the answers as they see mortars fly.
But they’ll watch and they will wonder as they try to survive.

As the stars fall from the heavens and cast their lives aflame—
as they try with might to guard their children from all the pain—
an army soon arrives to their salvation and their cries,
but hope is soon forgotten when helmets of milk spill lies.

They force their way through the town and spare no lives at all
with their numbers and their weapons aimed for living soul.
Leaving destruction in their wake for all the town to see—
some bodies over the stones, parts scattered with the debris.

While the people of the town tend to wounds and bury dead
the milk helmets press into neighbour towns where they will spread
all the cruelty they will unleash—the death their weapons yield.
Then call upon the others to come join the battlefield.

All the world turns a blind eye as the news reports a win
of the invading forces for their economic sin.
And the leaders praise and worship for thousand coins or more—
anything to see them through to Syria’s battered door.


“It is not the horror of war that troubles me but the unseen horrors of peace.”
Warhammer 40,000 4th Edition Rulebook, page 16

Spring in Spring


As the equinox of summer approaches and that of spring fades in the Northern Hemisphere, life resumes its cycle. Flora and fauna alike bustle as they emerge from the frost and chill of winter not so long gone. Mood improve with the change of season to complement the atmosphere. What wonders and challenges await?


Through meadows—
blossoms in bloom—
a girl giggles.


This was the hokku I entered for the second Haikai-no-Renga which was published as a fantasy tale called The One Within, edited by Damian Jay Clay and David LaSpina. The first Renga was one where my hokku won, and it was published as a science-fiction tale called In Search of Fresh Worlds.

I’ve learned a lot about poetry in general and especially about the Japanese form that became known as the ‘haiku’, learning a bit of the history of how the haiku came to be and how the term was created.

With thanks to David LaSpina for the information and his lessons on haiku history and theory. I’m entranced by the short poetry and the various forms it can take, like a tanka, double haiku, and mini-renga (which is not the same as a tanka, interestingly).

To Colour, or Not to Colour

Poetry, Unintended Poetry

An Unintended Poem

I think photography works
the same in black and white
as art work, which is that
the piece should seem complete
without colour, but as though
the mind can be tricked
to think that there is.

If that makes sense?

The various shades of grey
and the contrasting
should make it look
like it has colour.


Words by Anike Kirsten, Formatting by Damian Jay Clay.

Earth’s Tears

Poetry, Unintended Poetry

An Unintended Haiku

The Earth rotates—always—bringing about constant change. As it follows its elliptical orbit around the sun, the Northern hemisphere warms. After months of cold, frost, and snow, the Earth weeps tears of joy. Flora and fauna rise from their fights to survive, and come to rest. The Earth’s tears provide for them the precious matter needed for life.


I be well,
and I be pond,

and other sorts
of water bodies.


Words by Anike Kirsten, Formatting by Jasmine Arch.

I Got the Matrix Feeling

Poetry, Unintended Poetry

An Unintended Poem

I had a weird dream
based on your story
last night.

I kept waking up inside
a dream, to wake in a dream,
of different scenes.

I can’t quite remember
the details but the feeling
was that I was trying
to get back to reality.

I’m still feeling
like I’m about to wake
any moment.


Word by Anike Kirsten, Formatting by Damian Jay Clay.

Of Man and Machine


This was my entry into a poetry contest held on the Steem blockchain, where the prompt was to write a poem with two segments—each segment being different from the other—while the title reconciles both. A juxtaposition.

I chose the concept of man and machine—biological versus artificial—as my theme. Another difference formed out of it as well: emotion versus logic—irrational and rational.

Numbers and lights make up your mind.
No tears nor smile show in those eyes.
“Will you ever know me—truly know me?”

I work my hands bare, the sores show.
You stare and run your programs.
“Can I ever teach you—truly teach you?”

Your body, silicon and alloy,
stays motionless; curved perfectly.
“Will I ever have you—truly have you?”

A soft touch, my skin meets yours–
artificial and biological.
“Will you ever feel this—truly feel this?”

Stepping back, smooth limbs twitch.
Neon green eyes glow, staring.
“Will you ever see me—truly see me?”


Processing sensory input:
appendages one through five.
Zero, one, one, zero, zero…

Analysing data fragments
of contaminated area.
Compiling information sets/

Optics detect subject’s structure,
Applying Pi—non-symmetric
formation of facial features.

Source identified: Dr Ohm—
Relationship: creator.
Human; flawed, emotional.

Gesture received. Location: arm.
Calibrating expectation…
Error 404: Not Found.

Food, Glorious Food

Poetry, Unintended Poetry

An Unintended Poem

I like vegetables
like pork and chicken
as well.

Aged rump with blue
cheese sauce is the best
meal I ever had.

I’ve no idea about Stilton
or Roquefort.

My cheese knowledge
is limited to blue,
cheddar, camembert,
and brie.

For everyday eating,
I never grow tired
of a strong cheddar,
especially with hot
English mustard.

Hugs, BigBadBear,
we don’t mean to tempt.


Words by Anike Kirsten, Formatting by Damian Jay Clay