‘Cinder’ – a poem by Janielle Browne
Janielle Browne, writer and poet
December 29, 2021
‘Cinder’ – a poem by Janielle Browne

by-: Janielle Browne

Third place winner in the 2021 Ellsworth “Shake” Keane / UWI Open Campus Poetry Competition




I wish I could say something cliche

Like I am the Phoenix rising from the ashes

But it’s never been that simple.

I am the volcanic ash—

I am everywhere.

I am the fist in your chest,

The crack in your voice

The speck in your eye

The burn in your lungs.


I am layered

Way more depth than you can imagine

One false move and I will sink you

You will slip and slide and fall for me

And I will consume you.

The more you try to drive me out

The more I stick around

I will sit in your thoughts

and prayers

Your conversations—

Your children will tell stories about me.


Not only do I conquer

I  create new lands

I am creator.

I strengthen that which was planted

That which you thought was stifled

Because I play by my own rules.

I don’t need your approval

Because I will outlast you all.


When the flames die out

And the Phoenix is yet to be rebirthed

The one thing that remains is the ashes.

Without me, there is no Phoenix

No narrative of hope or rising

And so I am the ashes

And I will outlast you all.



About Janielle Browne

Vincentian writer and poet, Janielle Browne is a 24-year-old who is passionate about her faith and the creative arts. She enjoys dancing, singing, theatre, painting, spoken word and literature as well as being involved in community work. After being awarded the UWI Open Scholarship, she completed a BA in Literatures in English with History at UWI Cave Hill Barbados Campus. She then went on to complete a Diploma in Education with the University of the West Indies.

Janielle started writing poetry at the age of 11 at which time she finished her first unpublished poetry collection. She has been published in the Antiguan magazine, IntersectAnu and has also edited academic and fictional works for regional as well as local clients. Known as the Weaver of Words, Janielle has been a finalist in multiple writing prizes such as the Nigel H. Thomas Fiction Prize, 2021 BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Prize for Writers in the Caribbean as well as for the Rhodes scholarship. 

However, in 2019 she was named the winner in the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Independence Poetry Competition Open Category. Now a teacher at the Bishop’s College Kingstown Secondary School for over 2 years, she is dedicated to highlighting pertinent and unspoken issues in her work such as injustice, gender, and racial issues as well as abuse.