The Boy and the Mountain
Did you ever think what those sleepers are that underlie the railroad?
Each one is a man, an Irishman, or a Yankee man. The rails are laid on them
[…]. They are sound sleepers, I assure you.
―Henry David Thoreau
Tissack, the soles of my shoes are worn,
day is turning to night and I am cold
as reptile eyes. I watch the sky crack
the moon apart over the plates in your skull,
gauze them in Tule fog. The sun has drawn
its glow down the blue skin of your neck
and on past your gold-rush homes, each one
a snail to your mighty foothills
where my father sleeps among the track-ties,
under the slack and snap of the narrow gauge,
his bones echoing like pipes: their hollow, hollow sound.
Elisabeth Sennitt Clough lives in Norfolk with her husband and three children. In 2014 she won first prize in the Portico Brotherton Competition and third prize in the PENfro Competition. She has just written her first pamphlet.Read More
The Shoemaker Writes at his Window
Today I write to tell you I saw Sarah again
her neck curved, each move of ballet grace
I took her calfskin shoe and placed a warm,
innocent foot on plain paper to trace
Then, as now, she is moved to speak of the patterns,
and shapes of signs that make us die or live
She laughed and mentioned that when six, Karsula,
the cow chased her down the neighbours field
so she learned not to cry out loud when running
We smiled and told stories of weddings – mine
clean fresh water and a simple soup, hers, herrings,
apples, and a plain sponge cake
We kissed cheeks and said, ‘Let’s meet again’
for we have become scratchy voices on tapes
a pair of weekend monuments for bored picnics
while out of sight, the shoes stack again
John Alwyine-Mosely is a poet from Bristol, England who is new to published poetry. Recent work has also appeared in Stare’s Nest, York Mix, Clear Poetry, Nutshells and Nuggets. Three drops from a cauldron, Street Cake, Screech Owl, The Ground, Aphelion, Uneven Floor,The Lake, Morphrog and Yellow Chair Review. Website: https://publishedpoems.wordpress.comRead More
i will never be as innocent
as i was then. as ripe
as this root, as sound
as a lock of mistletoe to its tree.
i will never be as thirsty.
i will never again be as near
when i walk back into my
phantasies, shoes shed,
my palms sweetly pleased
with the stain of groundwater
shorn away from your body;
when i slip into the fatty
memory of it, the two of me;
when i count the many
days i have lost at your ream,
courting the threads
like a wet, blossoming moth,
my world shrinks. the drought
of an obstructive moon
flourishing in my triad
lights at the dividends of bones
better left behind.
i offered my youth. those unmarked
moments of lust stargazers refuse
to divulge, and the chance to lie
with my arm across your back,
the two of us shackled together
by the melancholy of hope.
marcelle olivier is a poet and archaeologist. Her translations of contemporary South African poetry appear in the recent edited collection In a burning sea (Protea, 2015), and you can read more of her writing in, amongst others, Oxford Poetry, New Contrast, Carapace, and The Mays.Read More
She doesn’t bleed now.
The chemicals put paid to that –
staunched the flow, tracking
down those cells, their waving
feelers tearing out her hair,
their bird-claw trail flattening
her veins. She’s mummified –
the outer shell’s the same:
head, shoulders, hips, thighs
but underneath all’s changed.
She limpets on, though, wound
crusted over, iron-oxide old.
Ann Cuthbert writes poetry and short stories. She has had several pieces published, on line and in print. She is one of Darlington’s Bennett House Writers and, with the Tees Women Poets group, enjoys performing her poems for live audiences.Read More
Flail and Crook
For all of you who has ever said
You loved me then broke my heart
May you succumb to the most?
Awful Egyptian curse
May Hathor cause you great pain?
And shame from this day forward
Until the Pyramids turn to dust and
The Nile River runs backwards well
May it be recorded now and forever?
In the book of the dead in prolific
Detail by the seal of Osiris I’m not
Singling any one person out but
You know who you are and so does
Isis as the all seeing eye of the
Falcon is upon you in the shadow
Of Horus call me bitter if you want
But all I ever did was love you!
Go on now and laugh at what I say
But I will have the last laugh just
Wait and see ‘cuz you are no better
Than me…don’t you know I come?
From the ancient Khnum Dynasty
And so when Ma’am weighs your
Heart against a feather I hope you
Suffer the worse Egyptian curse
Until the Nile river runs backwards
Until all the Pyramids crumble and
Turn to dust, until I toss away my
Flail And Crook out to sea…
So mote it be!
Bo Lanier is from Chattanooga, Tennessee and has become an established poet with five books to his credit that were published in Canada. He received several achievement awards in creative writing through poetry.com and has recently published two eBooks and one paperback book through Lulu.com After a nine year hiatus, Bo returned to publishing his poems with a new outlook and fresh ideas. His other talents include singing and songwriting.Read More
Going through Healing Waters Floating Lamps, a selection of poems by Kiriti Sengupta made me remember few lines of Tocqueville (1835):
“In democracies it is by no means the case that all who cultivate literature have received a literary education, and most of those who have some belles-lettres are engaged in professions that only allow them to taste occasionally and by stealth the pleasures of the mind. Accustomed to the struggle, the crosses, and the monotony of practical life, poets require strong and rapid emotions, startling passages, truths or errors brilliant enough to rouse them up and to plunge them at once, as if by violence, into the midst of the subject.”
Why have I entertained these sentences is because the poet is a doctor by profession and going through his poems there is a feeling of well balanced liberation from the clutches of the laws of poetry. What emerges are encounters with the self, prodding the self to respond and contemplate.
This sleek volume with small poems are double-layered. First there is the observation with the five senses, the reality, we are comfortable with and then a second reading leads to another reality beyond words and sounds, smell and touch, where the ‘I’ withers to be at one with all.
The first poem in the volume “Beyond The Eyes” (mark the title) prepares the reader for other words, other lines on next pages of the book. It prepares us for an unknown universe, a space of different representations where the smell of infinity lingers.
I reach the sky
While I draw a circle in the water
Looking at the image
I take a dip
These lines invite the reader to take a dip in the water to create a world of their own. Water flows and so each pattern is replaced by another circle or oblong. In fact, transient. So is our material world.
As the poems progress the feeling of awareness snowballs into an all pervasive consciousness, an inner knowledge, attaining harmony with the outer world. Kiriti pushes us, prods us in each of his poems to listen, observe and be attentive to ourselves. The poet believes in living here and now in enjoying the world that encircles us and participating in the experience of the present. This is very much reflected in his poem titled “Celluloid.”
…I was hesitant, you know,
I never said goodbye
Signs are private, and I keep my eyes open.
Round the clock.
As the collection winds its way down the path of aloneness, a journey with the self, a certain certitude emerge – like putting faith in ordinary things and not accepting old mental program and rejecting external manipulation.
…The word “denser” does not
Necessarily mean thicker… (“Secure A River”)
Also in “Color Code”:
They said you were black
They knew they were white
And I said
This has been the Nelson Mandela patch.
The poems in Healing Waters Floating Lamps are to be read slowly, to ponder and think. Take for instance the poem on Varanasi. The title is the key. Here the poet does not name the poem Evening in Varanasi. He writes “Evening Varanasi”. As if Varanasi is a being, a symbol of spirituality. The mystic soul of India. Its body the meditating ground for those in search of oneness.
Have you seen the floating lamps in the river?
Water here is not the fire-extinguisher, but
The flames ascend through water
Prayers reach the meditating Lord
Both Bhagirath and Prometheus bought down river Ganga and Fire, respectively, from the heavens to bless mankind. So they are both images of life and all that is divine in the human. They are life-givers and mind-openers. The floating lamps are a reminder of this ephemeral world, which is floating and changing. Only mindfulness is real and that opens the door of super consciousness or God (Prayers reach the meditating Lord).
Again the poet very subtly plays with the theme of eternity in his poem “Memorandum Of Understanding”. Age is a human perception and we cannot bottle air in ancient and medieval, modern and post-modern bottles.
Air and age are linked
Kiriti’s poems are a montage of responses to the everyday philosophy that runs subterranean in the orient. These experiences are common to all men. But the poet remembers them and give them form through words without frills. The poems are short and deeply suggestive, unlocking hidden areas of the self and not simply illustrating an object or an event. What is interesting that there are many ways of reading his poems. They are not restricted. They are like one long abstract painting, inviting the readers to come up with their own meaning, thereby making them participate in the poem. So as readers they are also writing. Perhaps, after reading Kiriti’s poetry the reader would turn to love and compassion in these days of online shopping, virtual friends and emotions in the shapes of smilies.
Sharmila Ray went to Presidency College and Calcutta University where she majored in History, did her Ph.D. on Durga and governance and subsequently joined City College, Kolkata under Calcutta University where she is now an Associate Professor and Head of the Department of History. She writes in English and has authored six books of poetry, most recently With Salt And Brine (Yeti Publishers, Calicut 2013). She has experimented her poems with Sarod (Indian string instrument) and the result is a CD— Journey Through Poetry And Music. Her poems are available in a CD- Hello. Her poems, short stories and non fictional essays have appeared in various national and international magazines and journals.
Note: this review first appeared in print and online in the Lost Coast Review, published by Avignon Press, California: http://www.lostcoastreview.com/healing-waters-floating-lampsRead More
I Live with Ghosts
The whole house tips upside down
like a cat it comes when it will.
Corpuscle-like black shapes
a chill across my skin,
the obscenity of objects
secret in their throats,
the house like a broken limb.
A coiled snake unwinding clockwise
the old house that waits.
Sally Long is a PhD student at Exeter. She has had poems published in magazines including Agenda, London Grip, Snakeskin and has work forthcoming in Poetry Salzburg Review. Sally edits Allegro Poetry Magazine and is a member of Ver Poets.Read More