Tag Archives: poem

Poem by Scott Elder

Recital

 
The sound of her name rings in the air.  It’s always been there.

Alice is waiting.  An aisle flutters under her footsteps.

At the end of the aisle a piano is waiting.  It’s ever been there.

Instants flicker and merge to a hum. She stills her breath

to breathe in the silence, closes her eyes and envisions a field.

The field is empty and covered with snow.  A lady is standing

dead in the centre.  Alice, she whispers, it’s time to go.

A blackbird starts, wings a line through snowflakes falling.

The notes begin to bubble and purr.

 
Scott Elder lives in France with his three young children. Since winter 2013 his poems have appeared numerous magazines in the UK, Ireland, Canada and the USA. A first pamphlet was published by Poetry Salzburg in July 2015.  He was a runner-up in the 2016 Troubadour International Poetry Prize and his work has been respectively highly commended and commended in the Segora Poetry Competition 2015 and the Wild Atlantic Words Competition 2015, and long listed in The Plough Prize 2015 and the 2016 Cinnamon Pamphlet Competition.

Poem by Byron Beynon

Leaving this Place

We are leaving this place
for the last time.
It is autumn,
the radio is turned on
at this hour for the news.
Outside the bay
continues to draw the eye,
a sharing of tides
with the air carried aloft
touching the names of stars.
The door sounds
the same as it closes
behind us, and for a moment
our steps are simple and quiet,
as uprooted shadows
recede across the front.

 

 
Byron Beynon lives in Wales. His work has appeared in several publications including the Sentinel Annual Literature Anthology, London Magazine, Wasafiri, Cyphers, Poetry Wales, Stony Thursday Book and the human rights anthology In Protest (University of London and Keats House Poets).  Recent collections include The Echoing Coastline (Agenda Editions) and Through Ilston Wood (Lapwing Publications, Belfast).”

A Wind Scraithe. Poem by Colin Honnor

A Wind Scraithe

A wind scratches, a silty loess
wind ghost plait ropes, rammels
wind liass freights its effortful
abrasion
the ant soul formically exudates
scatter nests its cargo fine ghosts

to freight diaspora, compose anabasis
the fluke reflects saltire vanishes
farewell, disappearing the silent chorus
termite calm

erosion revenant splay chrism dried kelp
kilned barnacle loch
soon cell whispers calx particle
splits to lodge in its house of moon
the red tide of aphasia.

a different sea landlocks idea
pure arch of blue,
salts lake to its sour ice
inflame tree re
peon crouch hunched under the pui hee
a different bohemia
known unknown chokes, silty labials

forked ridges ride ammonite bay
ice haar unrecords the floe secret histories
at the cobwebs drackle dew point
between flame bush

centaury dews hooves freight
droop from thorn to berry sun
this vouches to separate leaf
shatters so twist the affect of plumb fall of nothing

reflects hue silence the winter thought of you

how you would stop amazed bemused
perhaps amused at some perception

doubt had interfused with caertainty
a cogitate white perplexity

fled in the sun‘s heat, evaporates
the white stones

melting the transient filigree
fable of the dissolving tree

to gather in one silent space
filling this plaited coronel

and the far off approaching roar
is not rain nor ocean

II
No we shall not go
to the ashphalt of extinction
where knees need not heal
Look out over the field of flax
the fields of gold, corn wheat and barley
there you will go though you return
to sifted sand, shunted gravels
where hearts cannot heal
look out over the fields of gorse
the fields of thistle, heather
THE HOOKED BEAM, THE COUNT, HIS ONE EYE
proleptially monocled treats oaths
binding justicially unstitches the wolf
from the lions skin
Kaspar ist todt der frei Germanium
no you will not return to Dumpton Cliff among yellow furze
good too for these pale cold days
stumps of chain radar metal bruise in sea gorse
the grass of parnassus, the ladies mantle
where bones of metal stork bury to trip the enigma.

 

 

After the University (Wales, and Leeds, where he edited the internationally acclaimed journal Poetry and Audience)  Colin Honnor has worked in publishing, the OU and the law. He is a literary scholar and a translator of modern European poetry, and also runs a fine arts press in the Cotswolds.

The Wretchules. Poem by James Finan

The Wretchules  (Little Hells)

The Wretchules slip into our lives, daily, nightly, often on the small scale. Disrupting teamaking, burning quiche, popping tyres, glitching technology. Things like that. Little hells which cause our brows to furrow, wrinkles to deepen, mouths to blurt curses, before we move to calmer waters. Pests which – being neither cute or welcome – are fleeting and soon cast aside. Remembered naught.

It’s when the Wretchules rampage that we sit up and scribble notes. For they can be vicious in encouraging misery. Most of their pincered meanderings are shades of smaller problem-causings – but writ large. Fluffy with crustacean form, and slitted black eyes, and mouthfuls of broken crockery, and skinny horned tails: they’ve been spotted about plane aisles, doing cartwheels as panicked passengers wail, their vessel darting a doomed trajectory. Snapping padlocks off hen coops to let ravenous wolves enter. Flitting visibility as they encourage electrical fires; slash bungee cord wires; work underwater to collapse sea defences.

The Wretchules promote nightmares. Their catalogue of accidents and catastrophes are only physical manipulations. Matters of the mind are a major concern, too: they visit us at night, as rain lashes the windows and we fret in dreamscapes turned sour. The Wretchules crawl about that post-midnight bed to fuck depression and gloom via the victim’s ear; a direct injection to the brain. Banging away, the darkness spreads from their curious sex like ink, roiling across the mind, engulfing it with worry, helplessness, stark nerves, futility, the feeling that nothing will ever get better. Oftentimes, a repeated Wretchule attack can lead to suicide, or worse: psychotic blowouts.

Knowing worst fears and amplifying them to insane heights, the Wretchules crawl over life like hungry disease. Spreading dry rot amongst ancient forestry or dysentery through farmyards, these creatures present complications to all organics where possible. Bacterial mutations? Their micro-level works, unleashed when most ferocious.

Akin to life, the Wretchules are flawed – chinks can be spotted in their soft-furred armour. What widens those weak points, opening until the Wretchule becomes nothing but empty space, is energy. Not the spurious kind; that only spins them to greater climes. But proactive, lemon zest energy, elevating the user to lofty pursuits, happy engagements, healthy thoughts. This magic acts as antidote, given the right circumstance, to quash the obnoxious nitrous they expel.

However, beware. The most vicious and desperate Wretchule rituals are inescapable webs, for the unlucky handful caught in tumult. There’s more of them than us. As they prod and push in an unending quest to discover what makes life tick (and expire), the Wretchules are a constant havoc. They slobber on.

 

 

Born in sparsely-populated Lincolnshire, James Finan worked in the London publishing industry for many years, and is the author of Red Gods (2013); a novel dealing with monsters, snow, and high-tech mercenaries. Currently he is working on a poetry collection entitled Deadworld – A Horror Potpourri.

Poem by Ian Fitzgerald

The Courtyard

They’re not allowed to smoke inside
so they come here, and I watch and listen.
‘Professor Martin is a jerk,’ she says.
Milburn overhears and laughs.

They sit down. I start to feel her body heat. I like it.
Heat and cold are all the same to me; I was made
for both. But body heat is all I know of feeling.
The wind, rain, sleet, snow are mere vibrations.

‘I hate Ode, the fever and the fret,
his obsession with dying. Die with dignity, I say.
Go quietly. Man that is born of a woman is of few days.
Days full of trouble, and full of you if I’m lucky.’

 
‘Or unlucky! I like Ode, the fruit tree wild,
fast-fading violets, and yes, the fever and fret.
He’s not obsessed with dying; he’s dying.
He describes suffering
and the beauty of his garden so vividly
that we’re forced to confront a paradox:
the world is so beautiful, yet the world is so cruel.
Keats is heavy. You’re heavy.’

 
She stubs out, trying not to smile.
Milburn, half watching, shuts his book and holds it
for a moment as if in prayer…..They leave quietly.

 
When no-one comes I talk to myself or to the slabs
that are near me. We are as one, slabs and benches,
born to watch and listen. We were made to be still.
You were made to come and go, according to the rules.

 
Ian Fitzgerald was born in Birmingham, where he works as a tutor in English. He has travelled widely in North America and is a graduate of Dartmouth. His poetry has been published in The Warwick Review.

 

Poem by John Sweet

twilight in the city of empty fables

and you stand there doing
nothing while the house
falls down around you and you
talk about the meaning of truth while
ashes and broken glass spill
 ……………from your mouth

we crawl from the
palaces to the factories

we drink from the river
despite what we’ve been told

debate the existence of poverty

who among us could ever eat
more than their share knowing the
world around us is filled with
……………starving children?

 

 
John Sweet has been writing for almost 30 years with a Writing as Catharsis approach to things.  His most recent collections are THE CENTURY OF DREAMING MONSTERS (2014 Lummox Prize winner) and  A NATION OF ASSHOLES W/ GUNS (2015 Scars Publications)

 

Poem by Saloni Kaul

 

On The Alert

Ah, what a lot of strange little people are we
Sleeping through hurricanes and wildest sound,
Like newborn that likes three four hours stretch lengthily
Of sound sleep before he’s ready for next round ;
Yet in all our most sound sleep silent dream,
Silent but peopled with visual and talk,
At that crucial point when there’s a thud, scream,
Crash, bang, shout, moan, we wake up white as chalk.
So also in the long run we’re immune
Taking trauma and tragedy in our stride,
It’s sudden ‘unexpecteds’ that jerks us, like wind sand dune,
Out of dream worlds, set us on jostling haycart rides.
Sleep like a babe to make most of your time awake,
Once shaken in life or dream, be alert for your own sake.

 

 

Saloni Kaul, author and poet, was first published at the age of ten and has been in print since. As critic and columnist Saloni has enjoyed thirty seven years of being published. Saloni Kaul’s first volume, a fifty poem collection was published in the USA in 2009. Subsequent volumes include Universal One and Essentials All.

Poem by Alok Mishra

You, Me and Poetry

Every time I see you,
………………..poetry happens.
Every time I know you,
………………..poetry happens.
Every time I touch you,
………………..poetry happens.
Every time I remember you,
………………..poetry happens.

……….You are poetry
……………and so,
………………..I am a poet;
sans your love,

I am museless!

 

 

Alok Mishra, from New Delhi, India, is a poet, author of Being in Love (a book on honour killings) and Editor-in-Chief of Ashvamegh Journal. An MA in English Literature from Nalanda College, Alok has also interviewed many notable poets and authors. His is awaiting his maiden anthology to appear in 2016.

‘Landmarks’ – a poem by Ted Mc Carthy

Landmarks

There is first a calm, yet a sense too
of the glacier only lately having moved,
of being somehow at lake’s edge
instead of the edge of wood and mountain.
Lovely, yes; green, pastoral, the very frailty
of wooden churches stronger
than an act of faith. A calm of having
stepped forever out of the primeval,
looking across and down
into the richness of tilth and history.

How this land yields up its stories!
One by one, like the dreams of a child
leaving him until there remains
no more than a handful, worn, distorted,
one grown like the fact of a shadow –

a two-roomed school, grim as the wire
that sets it apart; it admits no light,
neither through glass nor in the mind
of one who would lead, ambition
shrivelled to a paper grid –
words, more words! A figure sick,
frightened, calling for a taper, believing only
in her image on a wall,
grasping the substance of delusion,
young minds scattering like mice
from corner to corner of a box

and the church it faces: barn-shaped,
it gathers in what little harvest
encroaching age provides.

Nowhere here is far from Jung’s country
and the breadth of green is the measure
of snow-skies past and to come.

II

Skirting the woods, the paths move in and out of shadow
and no view is true to memory,
even the signposts are a suggestion – something
may have happened here, an intake of breath,
a line of pollen along the body
and a longing then – for, sure, now –
for the unconsciousness of trees, stock-still,
their leaf and spread outliving names,
the change of language swirling about them like the wind
or the noise of far-off battle:

to be a cell in that great animal, the forest,
and not an ant crawling through the maze of our absences.
An hour’s trek to a well that isn’t here,
on no map now. You feel again
under your outstretched hand, cool air
rising from its depths – but where?
and you fight with the certainty that it wasn’t
a dream last time, and envy the wide-winged bird
circling its distant field. The Roman Well:

always some word will trigger a search,
pick at a scab of loss deep in the psyche
where no art can truly heal; years alone
may soothe it to a pilgrim’s itch, storied, timeless,
and never wholly futile.
The rows of corn, so improbably green
in the baked clay, seem to converge on a point
hidden in a dip. What chance has the mind,
torn between wilderness and order –
and the sky’s relentless, level blue?

III

The air is full of its own strangeness, loaded
with the power to startle – like that ringing
of a bell across a meadow where there is no bell,
where the small yellow flowers have no secret
stretching as they do as far as the neatness of a long road.
Midday, so bright the eyelids fill with a red-gold darkness
and it seems that this breadth, green, yellow, blue, is its own closed room,
and that sound in the air is a knocking on the wall
to be let in or out: or a summoning,
for the snake to slough back into its cast-off skin
and trees to spear their way through the miles of fields
like soldiers, like fathers. Three thousand years
of clearances are a holding at bay; those scattered
houses are small boats ready at any moment to sink.
The  grasses, fattened on water, rustle nonetheless
like paper. The sun passing from shadow to shadow
is taking all to itself. Only the forest is spared,
deep-rooted, grown beyond the gift of light.

IV

The stream is a trickle in summer,
last year’s flotsam beginning to bleach,
branches becoming bones.
Flowers like pale blue stars
are forming among the shingle
and a lizard warms its belly on another stone.

A step across and into the flat hectares
where drainage keeps the ground
as it should be, and cars, hidden,
are a steady hum.

Over the meadow missionaries rest.
What would they make of this
enormous neatness: no bears, no wolves,
an element of held breath in our coming and going?
Dizzy on stomach-churning waters,
navigating by breaks in the cloud
and then by mosses and the call of birds
their clearances were an act of acceptance,
that they worked, ate and healed
at the sufferance of the wilderness:
that there was no holding together,
only a holding back, a planting
between one harvest and another,
a prayer between peace and tumult.

Against great pagan fires they pitted their damp bones,
against dawn they tested the entranced mind,
the body in the cell of its own cold.
Some slept in stone; others the bears had
or roots claimed, their tendrils like a child’s fingers
and round their traces boxes grew,
walls, fences, advance and retreat.
But how triangulate the mind?
Only in the clearing haze of chaos
when truth settles like a chill, and fields
yield sustenance and unexpected bone.

V

Bones in the dry bed of dreams,
pinned to a page, sucked dry of life
as air sucks the curve of ink
and no letter illuminated, the room
silent but for the clock chanting
the running down of its own wheels
and the pennants outside, still, breathless,
the train a gliding, yellow dot, its carriages
a pencil-line drawn along foothills.
White is the only colour; the knight
the scholar, fade into it as memory
bleeds into the necessities of day.
Down the corridor, mobile phones
are held like scapulars before an altar,

they range along windows like birds
greedy for flies; the snapped to be buried
in piles, world wide: rubble without matter,
the triumph of the immaterial world.
But is it any different from the firing
of a monk’s imagination, his desire
for an unearthly city on a hill?

VI

Evening and an empty platform. The sun
is a haze on the tips of the hills,
the hills themselves like a blanket
ready to be unrolled. And distant, a lake, bottlenecked,
feeding a river, funnelling last winter’s snow
toward the ocean. The last pleasure-steamer
has put in, and that urban sound, quieter than silence,
a settling, a hundred thousand sighs,
falls like a landing of dust.
And more than silence, the emptiness
of waiting for a train, the knowledge of being a dot
on that unending rectangle, the railway cutting,
that time itself is invalid, will only resume
with the first sound, faint, almost beyond hearing,
of an approaching engine. Others come out,
shrouded now; their speech, low, unintelligible,
is all of the setting off, a hope that nothing
has been left undone. One pair of soft hands flutter
too soon, too soon! Too late, and like a bird,
they settle. Then the light, always stronger than daylight,
that is power an inevitability, glides
over the heat of the tracks. The engine
comes into shape behind it. When the doors
slide open, all this will be over; again
no more than names. But since the names
themselves – stations, churches, wells – were given
in turn to a story, when did it all start, this dash
along a strip of light between two shades?

And yet not done; moving backwards, across
a cleft in the hills, the sun’s rim
a mere gold wire now, picks like a lighthouse beam
an abandoned shepherd’s hut, squalid, ramshackle,
suspended in a clearing. Its fall will be gentle,
its stones will tell no hurt.

 

Ted Mc Carthy lives and teaches in Clones, Ireland. His work has appeared in magazines in Ireland, UK, USA, Canada Austraia and Germany. He has had two collections published,’November Wedding’, and ‘Beverly Downs’. He is currently working on a third collection, as well as a series of translations.

Vision – poem by David Subacchi

Vision

If you look closely at the aging plaster above the altar
A face slowly appears, head turned upwards.
You would meet the eyes if possible, but it’s not,
For they are invisible, there is no gaze.
Some say it is the face of salvation.

Others say it is the forsaken saviour
Crying out in anguish at his abandonment.
But there is no certainty in such matters.
Even within this stone built temple
There is no guaranteed reassurance.

I asked the priest, whether he had seen the face.
He seemed unwilling to answer.
‘There are so many faces’ he said
‘Both real and imagined.
It is difficult to tell one from another.’

‘And there is enough mystery
Surrounding what we believe.
Why complicate matters further
With visions and matters surreal’

So now I avert my eyes
And try hard not to focus
On the area concerned,
Remembering the holy man’s words
Shunning controversy and confusion.

 
David Subacchi lives in Wales where he was born in 1955 of Italian roots. He studied at the University of Liverpool and is well published internationally especially in the UK and USA. His poetry collection First Cut (2012) and Hiding in Shadows (2014) are with Cestrian Press.You can find out more about David and his work at http://www.writeoutloud.net/profiles/davidsubacchi