“Sisterectomy”: a new poem from Scottish poet Carole Bone

In the late 1990s Carole Bone turned up in my daytime astrology class: red hair, big eyes, bright mind, very eager to learn, fast talker, very hard to keep her quiet. Irrepressible. A great student to teach. Ten years on, and I was at last emerging  from my 2001-8 retreat. Carole had just left my house, staggering under the weight of a bag full of poetry books…. T.S.Eliot, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Dylan Thomas, Archy and Mehitabel, e e cummings, Anne Stevenson, Tom Leonard, Liz Lochhead.….she had kept in touch throughout my time out, sending messages of support, sending me her poems to read. She is a born writer. I remember thinking that day  “She’ll be getting published before long.”

Here is her second published poem,“Sisterectomy”, which appeared in May 2010 in the Poetry Anthology 2010 published by United Press Ltd.



I’ve had a sisterectomy
There’s no wound
or scar to show

No empty sleeve
to neatly fold and pin
in badge of loss

Elusive sibling ache
I carry it somewhere still
In head, in heart or gut

No scale can weigh its pain
No gauge can measure
The depth of its careless cut

Unhealed sorrow
flows through blood
that once ran thick

Its devastation hidden
In fractured bonds
Of severed root and tribe


(Carole’s submission for the Poetry Anthology 2011 has been shortlisted. Our fingers are crossed, Carole!)

Carole Bone
Carole Bone


Carole’s Biog : “…. mother of two magic boys – wife for thirty three years to a Capricorn who is without doubt my rock.  Would be astrologer; this subject has kept me (relatively) sane by helping me to understand the contradictory pulls existing in my nature between the home-loving dreamer and the restless seeker after knowledge. And – a shy Virgo Rising…


ps….I am delighted to report that ‘Lilith and the Devil’ – the first of Carole’s poems to be published on “Writing from the Twelfth House” in February 2010, was re-published on 16.3.10 on the Write Anything site as part of a fine reflective piece by Carole, offering advice to would-be poets. To read it, and some more comments on Carole’s work, check out



350 words copyright Carole Bone/ Anne Whitaker 2010

10 thoughts on ““Sisterectomy”: a new poem from Scottish poet Carole Bone

  1. Carole, I was so moved by this poem. My sister died in 2008, and it fits a dual loss. Not only did I lose her “for good” when she passed, but we had lost the closeness we shared in childhood bit by bit over the years. We were wired very differently, and our bond was by adoption not birth, although our family ties probably even stronger because of our histories of “tribal loss.” It took me a very long time to come to terms with that ache, which never went away, and I don’t think I understood till she died some of the real cause. I was talking casually with her husband when he mentioned what a “wallflower” she was. I finally saw that her minimal contacts were more a product of her introversion than not caring. He mentioned in passing how much she really really loved me.

    Whatever the circumstances, these sibling losses are incredibly painful. After all, brothers and sisters are our first “friends” growing up and perhaps the only people who can truly understand our childhood issues because they were there.

    Blessings and healing!

  2. Hi Joyce – so delighted you enjoyed the poem and I have to agree with Anne on the sensitivity, openess and wisdom in your comment for which I thank you for sharing. Loss of any kind is such a poignant bittersweet thing at times and can bond and open us to understanding others pain. I must thank you too for you comment on how siblings truly understand us due to shared upbringing – very wise indeed and one I hadn’t quite thought of in that way.

    Many thanks once again and blessings and healing to you too CarolexXx

  3. When I saw the title of this poem I had no idea how open it would be. It’s highly moving. They say the loss of a sibling is worse than any other. This poem is beautiful in its devastation. I only hope any voids can be filled.

  4. Hi Peacelover

    Thank you so much for your comments they are very much appreciated. In many ways some voids can never be filled but as nature abhors a vacuum so that void in my life has been filled by the many wonderful women who have entered my life. In astrology Chiron in the chart shows something that pains us – a wound that cannot be healed but one we learn to bear and in doing so it brings us healing and wisdom this too is something that has helped me. Many thanks once again.


  5. Hi Carole, a wonderful resonating poem. And now that you have shared the pain of separation back comes the affirmation that you have touched many a soul. Look forward to more, much more, there is a wealth of deep imagination within you. With love, Pam

  6. Hi Pam – thank you for your comment. Delighted you enjoyed it and thank you too for being one of those wonderful women who entered my life at that point bringing with them an extravaganza of wisdom, humour, love and friendship.

    Oh and the odd glass of wine too 😛

    love Carole xXx

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