Sunday 29 July 2012

Less is More by Geralyn Pinto

Less is more, of course                                                                       
That’s why we’ve shown them how 
Bright, bounded bamboo thickets
Are better than sprawling, untidy rain forests.
The zoo workers have even crafted a salt lick
Painstakingly patting sodium chloride
Onto the side of a gash in the earth
Which has municipal water flowing through it
And pretends to be a forest stream.
(The real river that loitered around
Splendid, aimless and occasionally wild
Was long ago domesticated to factory use
So that a distant CEO with greasy charm
Could declare dividends to a grateful public).
Rock surfaces were carefully constructed,
Neat little dens built for delicate young cubs
And a deep ravine dug all around. Just so.
The only thing they did, which you probably
Never saw in raw tiger country,
Was to erect a bright red board
Warning Homo sapien visitors to the park
That this was the lair of Panthera tigris,
Ruthless, lone hunter with a predilection, (sometimes)
For human blood.
Whoever did it hadn’t reckoned that two legs
Are better than four;
Two hands cleverer, faster than paws
Furnished with pads and claws;
One well-organized brain superior to
Brute muscle, olfactory sense and night vision.
So there’s no real need to worry
Because in ourselves we’ve proved, haven’t we,
Beyond a niggle of doubt that
Less is more?

Geralyn Pinto, India

Sunday 22 July 2012

Seals by Byron Beynon

This morning you telephoned
that two seals were swimming
in the Tawe,
they brought with them
innumerable seagrams,
navigable rhapsodies
gleaming with motion,
a lustre of sea-eyes
that floated in fields
where tides registered
global warmth, changeable seasons;
for a moment
they held your breath,
sensed their need to escape
at one with their tidings
delivered across the miracle of unchained waters.

Byron Beynon, Wales, UK

Sunday 15 July 2012

On Things Lost by Nadya Avila Chant

I must not dip my fingers
In the ashes of my sacrifice.
I must not gaze at summer skies
In search of balloons I let go
Long ago
Or beg the wind to return my whispers
As it often does my screams.


And neither must you linger at this dusty altar,
Singing dirges to your lamb,
For I am only borrowed carbon:
I too, am a gift to be returned.

Monday 9 July 2012

Desert Walk by David Chorlton

Our presence leaves no footprints
on desert slopes
built on long spells
without rain,
where we turn over stones,
snag on a waist-high
branch that snaps,
or tread down a clump of grass
as we maneuver to a place
with a better view
of the green-tailed towhee
that flew from a mesquite
and dipped out of sight.
For a person to disappear here
on a bright day like this
would be the natural thing,
leaving nothing but a scent
after passing through
his own mirror without
causing so much as a crack.

Thursday 5 July 2012

The Female by Lori Lipsky

Demure she sits
light on the branch
poised with confidence

Drab in olive dress she rests
with orange beak
with miniature crest

Demure she perches
waits for him
to approach in brilliant red

Lori Lipsky, Wisconsin, USA

Sunday 1 July 2012

On the Origin of Black Birds by Khara House

It takes hundreds of millions of years to find her
but the dark ones discover their Eve in the fossilized
shallows of a lagoon. They call her Rosetta Stone, Mother
Bird, trace their talons through the delicate impression
of feathers in the limestone, her fine-grained imprint
of bone. Witness her forearms, her fingers, her gentle
curving claws, come as close to a caress as a lover.

She is excavated, brushed clean with warm black
feathers, chipped out bill by bill bit by bit until
her form is fresh, withdrawn from the earth, untombed,
flown to the free birds of the world. It is decided
that she belongs to all. The work begins,
dividing her bones, the hollow stamps of her plumes
pecked into relics, sold for seeds to the cardinals
who tuck them away in reliquaries, avail them
as blessings on the laybirds.

In time the relics fade, the bones decay. All
that is left of the avian eve is her memory, her myth.
An ancient soul that once had a tail, shed to touch
the night sky, spread her wings so deep into the night
that the inky ether wrapped her in its sheen,
set her glory in the morning, rival to the sun,
calls her clandestine, carbon, kohl, lastly crow, after lover.

Khara House, Pennsylvania, USA