Kendra Reynolds

Beauty or Knowledge

Kendra Reynolds

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I hear you as I awake that morning

Pages of a book flicking over too quickly

A small heart pounding inside the ribcage

Of the wicker lampshade that hangs nearby.


Your species only lives for days

So much of your precious life’s been stolen

Hung like an ornament from the ceiling

It’s perhaps the only life you’ve known.


Red butterfly tinged with black sorrow

Dusty wings raining glitter and cobwebs

Over a graveyard of flies that lie

In a desert at the base.


Over my eyes you cast this spell

As my world shrinks to size

Joining you in your Wonderland

I too hover above the tiles.


I climb onto the sink and pray

You won’t burn your precious wings

Or feel them sizzle, crumple like charred paper

Snap! A small corner chips like a cup.


But somehow it makes you more alive

Frantically flapping a song of survival

Against the wicker’s woven bars

Flaunting the wisdom of your battle scars.


And then I recognise your existential strife

And realise this has been your life

For the globe that encircles you and the

Burning bulb of a sun, is a planet all your own.


I admire you flying so close to your sun

But I seek to pour you out

To usher you through the window

Into an unknown world beyond.


Then it strikes me if I’ve done right

To reveal such great expanse

To fill you with longing yet offer little time

For you to grow and understand?


Is it better to remain in ignorance

Or feel the stinging pain of wisdom?

I weigh up the value: Beauty or Knowledge?

And I remember your chipped wing and smile. 


Kendra Reynolds


Kendra Reynolds completed a PhD study in feminist anti-tales (radical fairy tale revisions) at Ulster University in 2018 and is now pursuing her love of creative writing alongside her academic work. She has won awards for her academic writing, including being placed 3rd in the competitive Feminist and Women’s Studies Association annualessay competition in 2014. Kendra has published essays in academic journals, including the Journal of International Women’s Studies, and is currently working on a forthcoming research monograph. Her research interests in gender studies, environmentalist literature, fairy tales, magical realism, and concepts of space, time and bodies, often influence and shape her creative work. She is currently working in the mediums of short stories and poetry and is passionate about writing’s ability to inspire change.