To Celebrate ‘Light’ for National Poetry Day: Susan Castillo Street, Jane Lovell, Jessamine O Connor, Jessica Mookherjee

 

 

Lucy

 

In the painting, she’s a young girl

with flowing chestnut hair.  Her tunic

veils the swell of adolescent breasts.

Around her shoulders lies a russet velvet cloak.

In her hands she holds a plate

on which lie two eyes.  Two fried eggs,

they gaze up at us mournfully.

 

When she said no the suitor

chosen by her father, she was sentenced

to be ravished.  Divine forces put a stop to that,

stopped ravening wolves straight in their tracks.

They tried to burn her then, gouged out her eyes. The flames went out,

leaving pale wisps of smoke.  Finallly, they pierced her heart,

killed her with a silver sword.

 

But she ended up with the last laugh.

This valiant girl, face pocked with empty sockets,

is known as Lucy, deliverer of maidens,

patron saint of light.

 

 

 

Susan Castillo Street is a Louisiana expatriate and academic who lives in the Sussex countryside. She is Harriet Beecher Stowe Professor Emeritus, King’s College, University of London, and has published two collections of poems, The Candlewoman’s Trade (Diehard Press, 2003) and Abiding Chemistry, (Aldrich Press, 2015). Her poems have appeared in The Missing Slate, The Stare’s Nest, Ink Sweat & Tears, Nutshells and Nuggets, I Am Not a Silent Poet, Snakeskin, Literature Today, The Yellow Chair Review,York Mix and other reviews. She is a member of three poetry groups: 52, Goat, and High Wealden Poets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palestine Sunbird

 

He has a quiet belief in angels,

sees them carry souls into the ether

their great wings barely ruffled by the air.

 

Each dawn, he watches them approach across

the sands, hovering on iridescent wing

as they shimmer in the heat, their brilliance

reflected in his eye.

 

Evenings, he suspends his tiny body from a vine

while beetles measure out their battlefields below

in clicks and spars.

 

He dreams he’s not alone

but flies great tree-scapes in the sky with others like him,

funnelling the long salt wind, its rush of phosphorescence,

through his hollow bones.

 

But he is old, knows that one night as he sleeps,

the angels will embrace him, lift him from his brittle form

and steal him, float him far into the ether,

 

each neat, green feather tucked

into a final jolt of light.

 

 

Jane Lovell lives in Rugby, Warwickshire. Her poems, which have been published in a range of journals including Agenda, Poetry Wales and Mslexia, focus on our relationship with nature, from a flea wearing tiny jewelled boots created by a Russian miniaturist to a circus elephant butchered during food shortages in post-war Vienna. Threads of folklore and science run through her work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scan

Alien inside, spooky grey on the screen

All squirming bones and hollow eyes

Growing in the dark

Stamping out a space for itself

In the warm igloo of my insides

 

As my neck lies twisted towards the monitor

It rolls away, turns a bony back to us

The scan lady laughs, freezes the moment

The cold shoulder

I recognise instantly the child of my lover

 

 

 

Jessamine O Connor is a poet, and facilitator of ‘The Wrong Side of the Tracks Writers’ and ‘The Hermit Collective’. Award winning and widely published, she is judge of the ‘New Roscommon Writing Award 2015’ and soon to be ‘Featured Poet International’ for Muse-Pie Press.

 

 

 

 

Dawn Chorus

 

He saw me in a late night shop

buying Marlbro Lights.

I only remember his beard – nothing else,

I didn’t think about how he looked

at me.

He asked me out for dinner –

what went through my mind was did I look

like I needed feeding

or just like someone who’d say yes

to a chicken dinner.

I didn’t know then, that to all men

a seventeen year old girl is beautiful –

even with ample flesh, spiked purple hair

and art school clothes.

I can’t remember a single thing about him,

just the taste of the chicken fricassee,

the cushions of the limousine and the dawn chorus,

before light

as he drove me home.

 

 

Jessica Mookherjee was raised in Wales to Indian parents, lived most of her adult life in London and has recently moved to Kent. She studied biological anthropology and now works as a consultant in public health. She has recently had poems accepted by Agenda and Antiphon.

 

 

 

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Jessamine O Connor

 

 

 

Hellsteeth

His house is sinking
The tin roof crumbling
He was springtime
Up on rotten ladders
Painting it red
A balancing act
Juggling brush, can, and glass
I used to sit on cushions outside
Looking up squinting
Pouring the drinks, laughing
Cautioning him on the treachery of ladders

Now a hedge eats the front of the house
I try not to see it
Flying past on the road
Because I can’t stop
He isn’t belly-deep in rushes
Or chasing pigs
His dog doesn’t hear my car coming
There’s nothing out-of-date to drink
No one there
Since he’s been gone
Every day of the last ten years

 

 

Jessamine O Connor lives in south Sligo, facilitates The Wrong Side of the Tracks Writers group, and The Hermit Collective art/music/poetry performance ensemble, The Hermit Collective

Note: Hellsteeth (winner of the Iyeats award 2011, on-line and installed in The Hawkswell Theatre etc)

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