Friday, 25 August 2006

epic by Steven Schroeder

Most every time the world ends, it ends
in some imbroglio over noise, too
much, not enough, silent gods fed up
with the clamor downstairs, histrionic
bullies shouting where were you from whirlwinds,
somebody who doesn't like the music,
and forgetting. A bang, a whimper,
the terrible silence of a man
who does not recall his other son,
who makes promises when lightning strikes
or wars begin, who gives up children
because he cannot hold his tongue, because
he will not hold his tongue, because he does
not hold his tongue, because he does. Curses
enough for everyone in this epic,
those who remember, those who forget,
those who will die, those who wish they could.
Steven Schroeder, Chicago, USA

The Amnesia of the Cosmos by Steven Schroeder

She has come in time
to these moments of forgetfulness. Only
yesterday, the whole thing burned
red hot. Now it is cold.
That white chalk feathered
on a background of ice looks so familiar,
and the rattling in the tree, something
stirring that might have been
extinct. She can see her sighs
now, cirrus wisps that grow
heavy, roll into cumulus, cumulonimbus
piled high; and, for the life of her,
she cannot remember how to stop the rain.

Steven Schroeder, Chicago, USA

Tuesday, 22 August 2006

Landscape with Rocks and Trees by Taylor Graham

[Cezanne, 1895]

I think I know this scene.
Boulders clutched by roots,
and the smooth trunks bent
around granite contours
by weather and the immeasurable
growth of rock.

Long green brush-strokes
convey a season’s yield of grasses.
If I looked away – say,
out the window
at my parceled acres
and the newly fallen pine –

and then if I looked back,
how much longer
would those brush-strokes be?
What new shadows,
what graceful bending tree
might have fallen?

Would someone
dreaming a different landscape
have come to drive the first
Would the barb-wire
already be strung?

Taylor Graham, California, USA

Sunday, 20 August 2006

e Equals.... by Gary Beck

Adrift in the chaotic universe,
I urgently need to maintain control
of some elements of existence
that challenge my trivial power.
As my planet speeds through its orbit,
I barely cling to the surface,
pressured by every kind of force,
especially that of gravity.
I fear eco-disaster everywhere,
see man's best creations wasted in war,
yet precisely align my dresser drawers,
in a mostly futile effort
to establish a sense of order.

Gary Beck, New York, USA.

Thursday, 17 August 2006

What Happens to Dead Penguins? by Sally Evans

From living colonies
a path to higher ground,
a worn trail winds.

Here the old and frail
ascend to a pool
of fresh melt-waters.

Deep layers of corpses lie
in wet ancestral vaults,
depth of clarity.

Those few, who age
and do not die too soon,
take penguin stance.

This twice described
at South Georgian stations
by curious, thirsting men.

We face in from the rim,
towards the riddle
of our last parade.

Sally Evans, Callander, Scotland

Sunday, 13 August 2006

Heatwave by Steven Schroeder

Cricketsong smells of rain
on the far side of heat this
evening, but it has not broken.

A shadow of a promise,
a kiss of shade diverts us,
takes our minds off sun.

Steven Schroeder, Chicago, USA

Thursday, 10 August 2006

Low Tide by Bondbloke

Fishing boats lie stranded impotent in the mud,
Having been sitting proud, bobbing sensuously,
In the bustling, water filled harbour.
Trapped by forces of nature without chance of escape,
Until the tide returns again to restore their freedom.

Ropes and chains once unseen beneath the water
Lie now draped with slimy brown and green seaweeds,
Like so many stranded eels writhing in viscous mud.
Resting now in their ineffectiveness, their redundancy,
Their strength to be tested once more at high tide.

Fishermen mill around in groups, hands in pockets,
Waiting for the tide, discussing the weather,
Talking about past glories when fish were plentiful.
Others still are busy preparing for the next tide,
Mending nets, cleaning down boats, simply waiting.

Seagulls scavenge for any titbits they might find,
And people eating ice-creams, fish and chips etc.
Are prime targets for their terror tactics.
Despite all the warnings, DON'T FEED THE GULLS!
People feed them anyway, and deservedly get pecked.

Bondbloke, Leith, Scotland

Sunday, 6 August 2006

Just Waiting by Bondbloke

Little houses by the harbour,
Watch fishing boats at the tide line,
Awaiting its return whilst also
Waiting for a southerly breeze.
Fishermen stand around and talk,
About earth shattering events,
Like whose turn it is to
Buy the next round at lunchtime.

Bondbloke, Leith, Scotland

Friday, 4 August 2006

Dawn by Bondbloke

The rosy fingers of the goddess of the dawn
Slide like the crafty hands of a cat burglar,
Over the window ledge of the horizon,
And begin to jemmy the lock of the day.

Sunrise comes as the visual music of the cosmos;
The soft light of dawn flowing passionately,
Like the lethargic caress of a gentle lover
Over the sleepy, undulating body of the sea.

The sea sucks noisily at the sandy shore,
Like an old man drinking tea from a saucer.
The seagulls plaintive cry greets the day,
Before other birds have even brushed their teeth.

The most precious time of day is dawn.
Aurora comes to the world anew each day.
Stripping off her cloak of spangled darkness
And flaunting her red and gold-flecked body.

Bondbloke , Leith, Scotland

Wednesday, 2 August 2006

Underwater or Plunder by Alan Dunnett

Green bones of cheek and jaw, of shin and thigh
Fall and rise, to silt or sky, while adventurers tilt
Slightly and return in their cabins, trying plans

In argument for doubloons and dead men's eyes.
It is still hot at midnight, even the ponderous blades
Of the fan are sweating. Still talk is breathed

Out, there is as much uncertainty as the sea shifts.
Now the moon blindly searchlights the water, then the wind
Falls from the rigging. They will cast their die

Where incestuous currents twist against each other
And the fish are hunting with poisonous mouths.
That greed-worn map... written with a mixing

Of gunpowder and rum, pestled together
In longitude and latitude in a cave beneath a tavern
In Old Jamaica ! Will you go down

Where X marks the spot and search
Among the moving bones ? This is a chance
Like a fallen angel, and all the jaws work in a whisper
Against seaweed and shin for the taking.

Alan Dunnett

First published in Hurt Under Your Arm (Envoi)