Thomas Ország-Land

 

     

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Images of the 1956 Hungarian revolution

 

 

Instead of a Tombstone

 

He shyly closed the lids of darkened eyes,

a small red flower blossomed on his breast.

A smile still lingered on his mouth’s surprise

as if at home he slept and loved his rest…

 

The little hero in the filth is laid

(around him fall his bread-loaves in the mud)

just as but now he paced the barricade –

in vain let fall his bomb, and shed his blood…

 

He shyly closed the lids of darkened eyes,

a small red flower blossomed on his breast.

Beside his corpse a steaming gutter lies.

The world sings victory, but signs a jest.

 

 

Thomas Ország-Land’s next book will be THE SURVIVORS: Holocaust Poetry for Our Time, to be published by Smokestack Press, England, in  2014.

 

 

Note:  This poem was translated from the Hungarian & Edited by Watson Kirkconnell

The Author of this poem is an award-winning foreign correspondent who gained his first experience in war reporting on the streets of his native Budapest during the anti-Soviet revolution of October/November, 1956. The poem was first published by the revolutionary newspaper The Hungarian Independent that employed him as a cab reporter. It is still performed from time to time at celebrations marking the doomed revolution, and it has been just published in an anthology – Magyar ünnepepek, Közlönty & Lapkiadó, Budapest, 2013 – intended mostly for school children. The present translation is by the late-great Watson Kirkconnell, doyen of translators of Hungarian literature into English, who was president of Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada, when Ország-Land read philosophy there in the years following the revolution.

 


 

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Jadine Eagle

 

 

 

Bluebottles

 

“I’m earning my keep”

fussing over teapots

plates of biscuits, iced

with pointed remarks

 

No one asked you to

 

I open a door in my chest

coax out the jackdaw, who sleeps

in my left ventricle

hops onto my palm and coughs

up the shiny, quivering

with each new breath

Damp and sticky with blood

like a newborn

 

You stamp on every one of them

“Can’t have dreams around here

Can’t feel anything

you’ll enjoy it too much”

Stood behind me you utter diamonds

set in tombstones, unmovable

in your perfection

Each word embedded like barbs

 

My mind buzzing, resurrecting

memories like persistent, fat

bluebottles, spiralling

as I bat them away

scared to squash them entirely

in fear of the mess they might make

 

Biting my tongue leaves it bloody

and shredded, no birds to sing my truth

the nest bare, dead and leaden

“You can talk to me” you say, wanting

another chance to proffer advice

I crumble away your offerings

having barely touched my eyes

 

 

 

Jadine Eagle eats way too much cake and recently won the Sarah Smith Poetry Competition.

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Steve Komarnyckyj

 

 

 

There are mirrors

Which reflect not only our image
But other mirrors, where we are also reflected, so
it seems we walk among a collection of ourselves, each identical
But subtly different in some way
We can’t quite catch and each
with the same smile or bemused look. In Prague
I walked among a maze

With you and felt your hand,
Small and intimate as an anemone
With the sea in mine,
Fingers, pale fronds sifting the light. From
Behind walls of mirrors and balsa wood
We heard
Human voices
A dog barking and the city itself
A long sibilant hiss,
The wind among birches

I thought
I held the key in my hand
The keys that chimed
That day in Wenceslas Square,
As people rang
For freedom to come,
Or at least the choice
To be a partial slave and see
The reflection of your voice
As liberty,

But it was nothing in the end
Except daylight
Stringent as redemption
Recesses
Of birch and bracken
Where your tongue
Is mine.

 

 

Steve Komarnyckyj is a British Ukrainian poet whose work has appeared in Acumen, Envoi, Poetry Salzburg Review, and Modern Poetry in Translation. His book of translations from Ukrainian poet Pavlo Tychyna was published by Poetry Salzburg in 2012.

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Jill Sharp

 

 

 

Proserpina opens his fridge

Her soft tug releases
an odour. The light flicks on…

Along the top rack lies
a tube of puree, twisted, missing
its lid. A streaky rasher dangles
between the rails. What
was once lettuce drips
onto a ripped-open empty package
and a bruised wedge of cheese.
Stuck in the bars, dried halves
of onion, rings shrunk apart, lose
their skins over a closed container holding
nothing but sprouting spuds and an egg-box,
its sole sticky occupant cracked…

She’s already eaten his meal, but now pulls free
the Eiffel Tower souvenir magnet and leaves
beneath it a brief note in lipstick
on a white unfolded serviette.

 

 

 

Jill Sharp‘s  poems have recently appeared in the final edition of Fourteen, Mslexia, Poems in the Waiting Room and The Listening Walk, an anthology from Bath Cafe Poets. She teaches for the OU and lives in Swindon.

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Thomas Stewart

 

 

 

Another Poem About Love

Sigh, because this is another poem about love
about the disaster
the vague essence of hope
the meet, the end, the bits in-between.

Tell me I didn’t hate him when we first met
– hello, Elizabeth and Darcy –
tell me we didn’t have a great passion
– how are you, Cathy and Heathcliff ?–
and tell me we didn’t try not to be together but always fail
– so long, Jane and Edward –

Let’s hear it, the unoriginal truth
because maybe that’s just how it goes
however we want to write or see it
it is just that simple.

 

 

 

Thomas Stewart is an English graduate from the University of Glamorgan soon to go on to do his Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Warwick. He is cursed with the act of overthinking which funnels his writing about broken relationships, magic, and all the things in-between. He enjoys folk music, horror films, suburban literature and has an obsession with the human psyche.  This is his blog.

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Sarah James

 

 

 

After the Party

Someone stuffed the downed bottle
with screwed wrappers, sweets twisted
from their casings: a fish scale mosaic,
silvered skins scrunched. The gaps
– still lakes of air and glass distortion
around dead-gilled traces of party, fun,
life… All contorted to fill the shape
of emptiness; its gagged mouth,
throat, neck…space enough, just,
for the thin wax of one lit candle.

 

 

 

Sarah James‘s first poetry collection, Into the Yell (Circaidy Gregory Press, 2010), won third prize in the International Rubery Book Awards 2011 and her second, Be[yond], is published by Knives, Forks and Spoons Press (July 2013).Her website is at www.sarah-james.co.uk

After the Party appears in (from Be[yond], Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, 2013)

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Carissa Callison

 

 

 

Parting Out

The body is like a car, and if you don’t use it, it dies.
I spent too much time in my head, body puttered out,
became just parts to be junked out

My 3rd grade teacher pickles my brain like blue ribbon cucumbers
carefully planted and nurtured.

The first riding instructor I had carefully separates
heels from feet, mounts them like the trophies in my childhood room.

In a dirty paper sack writhe my newly found vocal cords
carried by the man who also ripped out my first set.

My right hand clutches a pen in a lavender filled glass jar,
and is spirited away by fairies, or maybe the English professor
who taught that hand to write; I never could tell them apart.

Atop crystals in a wine glass perch my eyes,
my father claiming the part of me that undoubtedly came from him.

My crooked middle finger is plucked by the dear friend
who endured many drunken fuck you’s, shot glass
and Everclear waiting to preserve those moments forever.

As each part of me disappears like wedding cake I’ll never taste,
my quivering heart sits alone, unclaimed.
Maybe it’s what I’ve always wanted and never realized;
a heart and consciousness free of that awkward shell.

 

 

Carissa Callison was born and raised on the wet side of Washington. She attended the University of Montana Western and received a BA in biology. While in college, she rediscovered a passion for words and hasn’t looked back.

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