Sunday, 15 December 2013

Ponderance by Chris Crittenden

comes that late exhale of day
which marks the sun’s ritual loss.

effusions tint the Earth fiery
even as she shuns the sky dome’s paling.

trees reach from intent shadow,
audacious as wicker calyxes,

entrancing the scleral moon.

in conjugal aeries, wind-combed clouds
march in rolling dresses,

or equally drawn-out suits.

if, now, a winter rabbit
ghosted from a pod of shorn birch,

with fur so wise it married
a humble snowdrift,

who would see?

Chris Crittenden, Maine, USA

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Replanting the Great Caldonian Forest by Simon Kewin

In those days, Scots Pines lawned the Highlands
The Mesolithic Marten that ran through the branches
Could see both seas and never leave the touching leaves
Of giant cathedralling trees, shepherding their green,
Endless, restless hush, that rustled with death and life
With only island peaks visible above the flood
The Cairngorm Archipelago, the Cuillin Ridge Atoll
Until, in that first great clearance of the land,
By axe and ovine tooth, numberless trees fell one by one
Strewn like jackstraws, the devil playing at dominoes
Not that the mountains noticed the denudation
To them all living things are just fluff and dust
Titanic, elemental, their minds on bigger matters,
They grind each other's gradients, clash with the clouds,
Try to overtower the moon and pierce the sun
But sitting here on Sgurr an Airgid
It seems a shame all those trees are gone
And time that something was done
So I finish my apple and hurl the core,
Packed with its seeds, onto some fertile ground
And think to myself
That at least it's begun.

Simon Kewin, UK 

Friday, 22 November 2013

Brotecito / Little Seedling by Amelia Modrak


Crece, mi brotecito, crece,
Antes de que cambie el clima,
Antes de que lo hayamos alterado
De una forma irreversible.
Conviértete en fronde joven,
Y luego en bosques frondosos,
Inunda la Tierra de verde
Y absorbe todo el carbón;
Ese carbón tóxico que respiro,
Esa nube caliente, hija del egoísmo,
Ese veneno invisible
Que asesina nuestro destino.
Crece, mi brotecito, crece,
Antes de que cambie el clima,
Antes de que lo hayamos alterado
De una forma irreversible.


Little seedling

Grow, my little seedling, grow,
Before the climate changes,
Before we have altered it
In an irreversible way.
Become young foliage,
And then luxuriant woods,
Cover The Earth with green
and absorb all of the carbon;
That toxic carbon I breathe,
That hot cloud, daughter of egotism,
That invisible poison
which assassinates our fate.
Grow, my little seedling, grow,
Before the climate changes,
Before we have altered it
In an irreversible way.

Amelia Modrak, Edinburgh, UK

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Japan Washes Ashore in Oregon by Catherine McGuire

Two years later, debris scuttles onto the shingle:
fishing boats, brass bowl, a temple gate,
scrap wood, a window frame, shop sign –
there's no closure to some wounds.
Buried in black and beige sand drifts:
someone's smashed mirror, holding
fractured clouds, broken sky.
Unseen, uninvited, radiation floats
then burrows.  The vast currents
that trawl the sea
leave long, invisible streamers.
The truth leaks more slowly
than cesium, plutonium, tritium.
Data, well buried. Don't connect
neighbor's cancer,
the slowly dying trees, those shriveled,
Cerebrus-headed sunflowers.
Don't think about hungry ghosts
devouring flesh and leaf
in the night.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Letting Go of the Conceit by Holly Day

Imparting tiny grains of colored sand with intricate thoughts
One giant flower covering the ground. It was so beautiful
I wanted take it home with me.

After it was done, he smeared great swaths of color against itself until
It was nothing but white sand.
It should have changed my life. I should have taken it away with me
Let his day disappear in the pursuit of beauty, but just the beauty of the moment.

I fully intended to go home and erase everything I had ever written
With the artist’s apparent satisfaction at the act of creation
Should be enough for me, too. 

Holly Day, Minnesota, USA 

Sunday, 6 October 2013

The Black Button by Richard King Perkins II

It could become
part of a teddy bear or snowman
but it’s held the portion of my coat
nearest my heart together for three years
and there’s no reason
for major alterations at this time.
In the still darkness of morning,
I stand in front of her
as she sews the button back in place.
She grimaces when she sees
that the thread she thought
was black is instead brown.
She worries that the contrasting
blossom of thread will spoil
the polished elegance of my coat.
I kiss the top of her head
and remind her it’s not
the color of the string that matters,
it’s only the attachment that counts.
Richard King Perkins II, IL, USA

Sunday, 29 September 2013

haiku by J D Nelson

the computer hums —
the black moth on the ceiling
has been there for hours

J D Nelson, Colorado, USA

Sunday, 22 September 2013

The Corner by Holly Day

the beetle in the
web clicks soft
in time to the spinning of its
body in the long arms of the spider
that has made its home in
the dark corner of
my office. it clicks
so regular I turn off my computer, my
desk clock to make sure it's
really him

the clicks speed up
when the spider
reaches out
with one long, pale
leg to spin
the trapped insect
another turn, they slow down
fade to near
silence whenever
the spider
pulls away

Holly Day, Minnesota, USA

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Ladybird, Ladybird by Alison Lock

I stop the sh sh across my page
to watch a squirrel nuzzle the ground
all auburn fuzz,  nose down
re- checking the co-ordinates
on a mental map for a nut called X
the shrubs wear their prettiest bonnets
of permed seed heads, legs
black stockinged from stalking
the late summer rains
the lawn has had its last trim of the year
concentric, whorled
shaved into an Italianate maze.
A four spotted ladybird comes to my sill
I lend her my pen for a bridge
I am curious
now there are six spots
two on the edge of her shell
as if about to fall off, and they do
with a shiver, she splits
into a pair of dash away wings
taking her back to her home.
I carry on with the sh sh across my page.

Alison Lock, UK

This poem is from Alison's collection  'A Slither of Air', published by Indigo Dreams Publishing

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Samara by Joseph Harker

Where did we
learn about gravity?
The playground--
but not from
Newton's apocryphal apple
plummeting to earth.

Our source was
September maple
gone slow gold,
the sunlight
preening the paper wings of
its whirligig seeds.

And since then,
the verb to fall is
less fearsome.
We learned it
as slow rotation; we don't
believe in impact.

Joseph Harker, USA

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Space Station Blues by Les Merton

in an interplanetary space station
with bustling pedestrian zones

he sits on his own in a buzz bar
drinking a glass of cloud nine nectar

it is an orange sky day
with smile impregnated air

he doesn’t respond
to the feel good waves

he’s thinks he is the loneliest man
in the universe and he’s feeling down

wondering will he ever hear
a language he can understand again

Les Merton, Cornwall, UK

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Cassini Vision by Lark Beltran

This blue-dot world,
far outshone by the surreal ringspan
of big-brother Saturn,
is of so little consequence, any might say,
who was not of Earth.

Countless such dots
evolve then thrive,
their cultures and cataclysms
utterly remote
to a kaleidoscope of far-flung peers.

To be or not to be:
a synchronicity
of force and Deity?

The void is neutral:
no up and down
no left and right
or right and wrong ...
no sound!

Seeing our world so like a jewel
in minuscule under Saturn´s rings -
it rings of magic.

Lark Beltran, Lima, Peru

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Superdense by Josephine Shaw

In quantum theory the inconceivably small
can give rise to the unimaginably large.
And that means that somewhere there exists
a diamond the size of a planet

made from a cold, corroded star.
And also that the more precisely you know
where something is, the less you know
about where it’s going.

Or how fast. We reach for little hopes,
craneflies skating on the skin of life.
Hoping, each sunset, that where we are says 
nothing about the dark matter of our own journey.

Josephine Shaw, London, UK

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Watch Swallows by Matthew Friday

To watch swallows flying over water,
weaving in and out and around
each other, lacing the air,
skating the corners, cutting
the finest lines between air and liquid,
a cloud of flick-bodies photons,
fantastically quick. Such agility is
the luckiest accident of evolution;
an acrobatic show for no one.

Matthew Friday, UK

Sunday, 4 August 2013

A Shrug in Time by Diane Webster

The bird clicks across the metal roof
in hoppy, hoppy steps to start,
stop, look, start, stop, look
only present in silence
like an almost memory
scratching against my mind
suddenly startled by a fraction of noise
like someone calling my name
but seeing no one.
A shrug in time
forgotten four steps further
down life’s progress.

Diane Webster, CO, USA

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Gull Watching by Colin Will

The pitter-patter of little feet
is a gull paddling on the grass
to raise a worm from its deep tunnel
through the threat of rain.

The stare of a gull, unable to blink,
unwilling to turn the head away,
outfaces you every time. The yellow eye,
black pupil, silver eye-ring, challenges.

Red spot on the lower bill
a chick’s target to peck at,
to make the parent throw up
its last catch – fish, chip, pizza crust.

The aggressive wing-joint’s thrust forward,
and I don’t know if in human arms it would be
elbow, wrist or fist. It doesn’t work on us;
we don’t know gull’s language of gestures.

Head down, neck stretched out, the keening call
a yearling makes to beg for food
from a more successful adult,
that’s something we understand.

They’ll watch the eiders dive
then dive on them as they surface,
keen to snatch a morsel of mollusc
before it can be swallowed.

It’s no surprise Hitchcock chose you
for the attack: the strength, sharpness of beak,
all-out and in your face, breaking through glass,
confronting us, from somewhere alien.

Colin Will, Scotland

Sunday, 21 July 2013

(at falling tide on Islay) by Louise Bankhead

You can't come from a land
That talks of Soul
Without believing in it
You can't leave dust grey skies
Without missing the bird's trail

It seems to be a light burning under my skin
... It seems to leave me
Every time I open my eyes

But I can't sleep now
Can't erase this taste of life

If the salt on my feet
Won't offer me roots
You'll be my breath

It seems your sun is rising under my skin
I can't renounce it
Even deaf
I hear your music's beat in me

But I can't sleep now
Can't forget what I feel
What I live for...

Let me see heather
Fading with our seasons
And follow the wind
To be free

I know it's there
And it won't release me
That blue fancy
Laid fallow
Like a bold deer
Watching over the sea...

Louise Bankhead, Edinburgh, Scotland 

Sunday, 14 July 2013

The Cure by Lenny DellaRocca

There were many birds in my tree,
scarlet and indigo verbs
whose lyric spilled like iodine
into wounds of heat.
Yes, I took them down,
brought them into my car,
into a room for an hour
where they murdered everything
I thought I knew about escape or falling.
Sometimes I imagined us a theater
where I’d watch them
in the floodlights of anxiety and purpose.
Sometimes they just burned
leaving red wing marks on the soft
misplacement of my hands.
There would always be the delicate
removal of names,
replaced with a dainty narcotic
and the rough memory of sky.
They never lived in that tree,
but came to it for reasons
only known by them
and their green wisdom,
the smoke curling from their lavender mouths
like the last thoughts of a man who died
in the middle of his desire.

Lenny DellaRocca,USA

Sunday, 7 July 2013

The Death of Trees by Josephine Shaw

When we woke the wind had dropped,
but power out, clock stopped, six huge elms
lay splayed all around the village pond -
two hundred years of swagger drained away.

And we pronounced them dead,
impressed the death of trees seemed
so much bigger than ours could be.
The earth keeps moving.

So memories of heavy horses, brasses shining,
a momentary vogue for Dutch barn building
(sandstone brick, pale Georgian paint),
or Shelley’s local popularity,

the coming and going of damp smoke,
the hug of village life, or young men
mustering for drill beneath the shade
(imagining Kipling, finding Arras),

were all left hanging in a point in space,
soft voices dead, in the unaccustomed sound of quiet.

Josephine Shaw, London, UK

Sunday, 30 June 2013

In Between the In-between Moments by Martin Willitts

“Yo no naka” means “the world of betweeness”in Japanese
Nothing has decided to Become. The lack of wind
wants to be heard. Before your heart blinks out, it must
shed cherry petals. It hesitates. It plunges
into the unknown where we all must go. It goes
expectantly. What does it know that we don’t?
The sky closes shutters, but some light comes through.
There is the smell of Always. A mountain laments —
fog. A hand tugs at leaving birds.
Before you left, you were here; and nothing listened —
the nothing was a pond of light. Light though pinfeathers.
A rustle of air against air.
Many moons were in many raindrops.
What is it that casts shadows in between the in-betweeness?
The impermanence flinches and falls.
Everything is attentive to the transient movement between.
There are words we must carry beyond what we know.
Before before there is nothing in the absence
loudly proclaiming in its silence.

Martin Willitts, USA

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Chopin at Nohant by Askold Skalsky

Guests chat and smoke, pacing their day
with masterpieces until October.
They stroll or read, play billiards,
sprawl on sofas, hearing some chords
maunder through the keys
like the breath of watered roses
from his room.

It’s sunny and opens on the best purview,
a circle pond ringed with smooth stones
and two great oaks guarding white shutters
with tendrils of green vine curling 
around the recessed door.

You enter it—
the clock behind the escritoire floats
on its moon-phase calendar under a chandelier
with flaming finials where the summer sostenutos 
come to rest.

And in the evening, like a glimmery star,
the first uncertain version
of a melody. 

Askold Skalsky, Maryland, USA

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

St Jane by Elaine Pomeransky

Auschwitz, the kiss you didn't have to take, lips eagerly pursed,
Inviting the Nazi tongue to lick
You with gas.
Amongst the mass of strangers you died,
Name almost forgotten, because of your gender.
Left .....................................................Right
Left Dumfries to end up on your knees for a race forgotten.
'I have found my life's work' your tune, but the world didn't dance.
No rest in Budapest as you sewed stars of yellow
Onto your chosen children.
Light of Scotland, rejected the Church offering of safe return
Held tightly the hands of those who yearned
Your protection,
Affection enough to lay down your life.
'Even here on the road to Heaven there is a mountain range to climb'
You whispered,
As you were gassed
With a mass of Hungarian women
Such a German chore.
Left.................................................. Right
Left the world on August 16th, 1944.
The only Scot to be slain...martyred Jane.
Remembered only by a sliver of Glasgow glass and plaque,
Yad Vashem, men declared you 'Righteous' 55 years
After you'd died.
No libraries, films, memorials, tutorials
Lest we forget St. Jane
And the day you were crucified.

Elaine Pomeransky, Edinburgh, Scotland

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Refugees by Ray Sharp

We carry our sorrows
in tin cups
and leather-bound journals.

Ink tracks the yellowed pages
like foot steps
on a barren plain.

At night
we stir the red coals
of dying fires.

This is what stars
would look like
fallen at our feet.

Ray Sharp, Michigan, USA

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Air Defense by Jenny Ward Angyal

Saint Francis’ Satyr—
so rare its cocoa-powder wings
flutter only across a few wet meadows
on a single military base, where fire bombs
lobbed into canebrake make a scuttle of  flames,
open patches of sun where the sedges grow
and the Satyr, guarded only by eyespots,
lays one by one her tiny eggs
the color of new grass. 
The meadow over the way
turned white with daisies the summer I was six,
and we wandered for weeks, the dog and I,
linked by garlands and lost
in an ocean of white.  
A man with a camera came,
and then a full-page photograph
in Time magazine—the daisies, the laughing dog,
and me—important reasons for effective air defense
in black and white. The year was 1956 but the war
was the one war always being fought
somewhere beyond the edge
of the field of daisies. 
Yet somewhere
among the leaves of grass
perhaps a chrysalis—

Sunday, 26 May 2013

weave of the web by Anna Sykora

if a butterfly
had not shaken her wings
if the air had not wafted
a seed of wheat
if the grain had not grown
where soil lay moist
if a woman hadn’t bent
and seen the seedling
if she didn’t cultivate
more like them
and learn to grind
kernels into flour
if she died with her knowledge
in a drought or flood
or failed to teach her young ones
what she learned
you and I might still be
pent in the heart
of a distant star

Anna Sykora, Hanover, Germany 

Sunday, 12 May 2013

the critic by Ed Higgins

a house fly mildly attentive 
in winged black spandex

lands on the bookcase
above my desk, preening

cleaning the red compound 
mirrors of its eyes

she leans toward
my computer screen

reading this poem about her
wondering what metaphors

a random curious fly
might possibly contain.
Ed Higgins, Oregon, USA

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Resignation #1 by Len Carber

When I was younger,
I dreamt of writing like Camus,
thinking like Sartre,
living like Hemingway,
and all in God's constant grace.

I thought I suffered India's hunger
And America's affluence,
but actually,
I was carefree-- and careless.

Now, though still a young man
(31 is an odd age, but safe)
I want less, much less:
fame, fortune, knowledge, passion,
even hope....

If the world is indeed doomed,
I will love it till its last day--
and if the world is blessed,
I will still love it till its last day.

If I cannot create like a giant,
then I will write with a smaller hand
and utter noises in a lower tone.

Len Carber

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Radio Universe by Josephine Shaw

What if we could see radio waves, a radio sky?
Lighthouse pulsars, a web of egg white floss
from that first explosive micro moment?

These days we believe in rivers, in their sources
and in how they melt into sea. In ageing trees,
and we cry when they fall. Or in a tumble of birdsong,

or the key in a door and in warmth beyond.
Or in Jesus on Sunday. But this is really
to believe a fairy tale, seeing our beginning,

seeing our fourteen billionth year, seeing 
no Moon, no Sun, seeing supernova remnants.
Seeing it over and over and no dark left.

And what if I saw you out there, as radio?
Show me your brilliant pulse, your rhythm.
Is that you inside a splash of stars?

Or are you fainter, a blinking grain of sand,
dancing away from me, away to a new Galaxy,
fusing into the clouds of white noise?

Josephine Shaw, London, UK 

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Creek by Taylor Graham

What's more joyful
than running water? After rain,
our little creek leaps 
and giggles, blows bubbles, chatters
over rocks whose moss opens
all its green mouths to sing
the river song. 
And the old willow leans over the bank 
to see his own reflection 
wrinkled and riffled
with moving, ageless water.

What's more joyous?
A backyard puppy 
who's never seen a natural flow - 
only stainless bowls and faucet, hose, 
and pipes.
Here's free water 
on its great adventure toward the sea. 
What's more joyous
than a puppy tentatively wading out 
then drenching herself 
in that journey, 
splashing as each droplet leaps 
the stairstep falls; finally 
dashing back out
to shake
creekwater all over us
sparkling, joyous in April sun.

Taylor Graham, California, USA

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Mirrors by Darrell Petska

The stream through the trees
weaved and pooled about
my boyish reflection: you there,
what shall you become?

A half-lifetime passing
I return to find in place of
arching shade and water's flow
a plant distilling ethanol.

I'm alright with that, I guess.
What are mirrors for, although
once my face in the stream
wore a speckled brown trout.
Darrell Petska, Wisconsin, USA

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Recycled by David Chorlton

Bottles are all equal here, whether they contained
the Haut Brion from eighty-nine
or something cheap to swallow quickly
for the buzz. A written declaration of love
means no more than a shopping list,
and science fiction is a match for the complete
works of Shakespeare. Once the caviar is gone
the can is no better than the one opened up
to feed a stray cat. There it all goes
with the pop of a cork, a sigh, a purr
a kingdom for a horse, before it returns
newly labeled with a twist
in the plot that brings the dead back to life.
David Chorlton, Arizona, USA

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Animals by Kevin Cadwallender

Animals don’t do heaven,
That’s just us frightened apes,
Building the persistent myth
Of continuation which means nothing
And haunts us all of our beleaguered

Animals don’t do heaven
And it suits them,
Honestly breathing in and out
Over their allotted existence.
A philosophy that brooks
No philosophy other than
Being, and they are content.

Animals don’t do heaven,
But we do, in denial, in fear,
In case it’s there, in situ, indecisively.
Look at the T.V., it’s all there,
Our pettiness, our terror of being alone,
Of not being alone. It makes no difference.

Mourning the loss of the intangible,
The animal that died inside of us
And made us this stricken, bone-bag
Riddled with guilt and excuses.

Kevin Cadwallender, Scotland

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Elegy for Piper by Taylor Graham

In the last days she was leaving
into the place old dogs go,

when love of master's hand and the daily
joys of walk and dinner bowl

become forgetful; 
when without wishing the ears

muffle over master's voice,
and curtains silver-glaze the eyes against 

daylight - painless 
but wandering from her life

into a new one without us. Solitary
unless every cell 

of fading body feels at its walls
the tremor - the soft pad 

of others on the far side, their heads 
lifted to an unworldly 

breeze that already 
bears to them her approaching, 

her remembered scent. 

Taylor Graham, California, USA

Sunday, 17 March 2013

the naturalist by Micah Cavaleri

(for Anne Gorrick)

I have finally come around
to write this book
of yellow and red illustrations
of green palms
only centuries late
How have I forgotten what I discovered
on a ship as if I was on a ship I forgot

Fried (green) plantains taste like (yellow) honey
although I did not
sit down to write
a cook book. These
illustrations are
illuminations of
a voyage I never
expected to make
until I saw the boards
of the hull. Now
I am lost at sea.

Micah Cavaleri, USA 

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Die Back by Gram Davies

Over ale, he tells me, 
Ash burns wet. Downpour. 
Trains in disarray, villages 
silenced. The English seem 
forever unprepared. To reach 
a bus stop needed waders. 

A website showed you 
how to spot the rot: patches 
in bark like porter soaking
shirtsleeves; twigs’
black fingernails bared
above canopies. 

We fought flash floods
on roads which closed like zips 
behind us, to this inn fire 
under these ceiling beams. 
Some things appear changeless;
we have no tales of tomorrow.

But in lanes, overhung by ashes’
banana-bunch branches...
a creeping flame. Another ale –
he tells me there were fewer
floods, back in his day.

Gram Davies, England

Sunday, 3 March 2013

When the Sun Rises by Doug Draime

I want to hear
the bird’s song, that’s all. The
meadowlark in the dense dark oaks,
or the whippoorwill crooning
to and fro in the sun
of the sycamores. I grow so damn
weary of the human sound,
flashing on with its artificial light

and the rat-tat-tat sound
of the collective Ego,
spinning on its
perpetually bloodied,
nowhere wheels. I want to hear
the blue jay high up
in the maple tree, squawking
a shrill celebration. A thrush singing
to me from the birch tree.

Doug Draime, Oregon, USA

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Merlin by Gary Every

The snow is piled deep in the narrow canyon.
            No footsteps precede mine
            and I enjoy the solitude as snowflakes fall.
            The wind races ahead
            carrying whispers of the chill frost.
            Suddenly a pine tree stirs
            white powder sliding off the green branches
            as a small blue raptor launches.
            This hunter flies low and swift,
            straight towards me
            and so close that he passes through
            my breath vapor clouds
            parting the fog like a misty shroud,
            slicing my breath with his wings. 
            For just a brief instant we stare eye to eye
            he fierce, proud, merciless, and curious;
            me amazed and surprised,
            too slow with my camera,
            and glad that I am not a mouse or rabbit,
            wondering if a bird named after a wizard
            ever goes hunting for souls.

Gary Every, Arizona, USA

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Birdwatchers by Chris Crittenden

we freeze as one into scarecrows,
enduring a brisk woolen day.
a char of juncos
in an orange copse taunts us.
soon we are blurry again,
cautious within Van Gogh fields,
hunkering like sandhill cranes
over snaky ground.

our clothes strive
to unleash themselves
in a muddle of fibrous fits;
but we slog with gusto, ankles
sucked by muddy mouths,
our binoculars leading us on
with the flair of rumors.

Dunson glasses an owl
scrunched in a crook like a forest gnome.
whatever it dreams,
our rude surprise will not cater.
we chatter at the jpeg moment
as it glares back at us with feline gall,
contemplating our apish ruckus
and the threat of crows.

later, through a swale
of gusty hisses, dead grass
shunts around our flappy gait.
wind seems to have scooped up all the birds,
cast them from our meander.
we watch precious wings
disperse with the aplomb of peppercorns
into a sunset roan.

Chris Crittenden, Maine, USA

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Sunset and Sand

                   the walk of the herd.
Elephants on parade
for the picturesque view.  Panorama
and paranoia rule
this range, ruined by drought
and time.
                  To display emotion is
beneath them.  Their losses
are their own.  To remember,
they march . . . days . . . weeks . . . months
pass in silent . . . meditation?
Prayer?  Maybe
                          their movement
is the ideal.  Commemoration
through continuity.
What a thought to settle.  On
into night!

A J Huffman, Florida, USA

Sunday, 3 February 2013

No later than tomorrow by Jan Harris

Persephone will place her hand on the ewe’s side
and feel the lamb quicken
snowdrops and alium will light the ground where she walks
her footsteps awakening snails, snakes,
a multitude of microbes
all stirring the earth-smell of spring.
As she slips through tomorrow and tomorrow
apple trees will shower Persephone’s hair with blossom
silken petals will barely-kiss soft skin
her hand will slice the lake’s reflection
as surely as salmon glide and leap
but the past leans over and casts its seeds.

No later than tomorrow
the lamb will become the ewe
snakes will slumber and snails burrow deep
before earth and water turn to stone
and in the darkness, swaddled in sorrow,
Persephone will close her eyes and sleep.

Jan Harris, UK

Sunday, 27 January 2013

A Valley Fable by Kyle Hemmings

When I grow tired of the city's chalk downs & clay people
 who have disowned rock, I visit the girl melting in the tunnel valley,
her fragile fjord walls and her flat bottom ships. With a violent
avalanche of our pasts, our shoulders shudder, we hang ourselves
 over brooks, become reborn in a cirque. So high over a divide,
we chance standing on a terraced floor on one foot. She borrows
 a bridal veil from a mis-spent cloud. We blossom near a vast alluvial fan.
 We erode into the lips of a river that whispers hollow, that seeps
our sentiment into the hands of a woman longing for her children,
drowning in her reflection.

Kyle Hemmings, New Jersey, USA

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Pelham Parkway on a Tuesday Night by Joseph Harker

March 28, 2011: an adolescent female Egyptian cobra escapes from the Bronx Zoo.

You might see her sliding along, painfully thin and supple,
keeping to where the ceramic wall adheres to the cement platform
in the semi-darkness. You might see her lift her head to look up

and down the tracks, sighing and flicking her forked tongue while
she waits: for this is her jailbreak, her Great Escape to see (at last!)
the sarcophagi at the Met and the cold monkeybar trees of Central Park,

to go to Times Square, and Broadway to finally see Aida, after waiting
so long. She's anxious to catch the downtown 5, and she asks you
(you, who are sitting terrified on the bench, afraid even to blink)

if you have the time, in that silky and slightly disaffected whisper.
A hint of an accent; an unspoken dare to be impolite. You check
your watch and tell her, and she just nods, wiggles her hood.

You might see her perk up as the telltale rumble quivers the girders.
You might see her sway her neck forward and suddenly
snap at something to her right, and you might catch a glimpse of

tail disappearing between her chapped lips, her throat curiously
swollen. And you think, well, that's one way to keep the rats down:
but you still creep onto a different car and hope she's not offended.