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Are you there, Mum? – Steve Smart

I have a poem in Atrium today…

Are you there, Mum?

She could not fathom why he’d ask
his foolish question at three in the morning,
croaked but clear over no-man’s carpet.

She wanted to sleep, and she had a right,
stroked or not he was a grown man,  and
she was the children’s mum, not his.

Yes, I’m here. Then storytold in afterthought,
before he was gone and her stories broken,
What a funny thing – where else would I be? 

Odd to find it odd that he should signal,
passing dark but nearest, another navigator
on those uncertain ferries of long late nights.

Steve Smart is a poet and artist living in Scotland. His poems have been published in Poet’s Corner, Fat Damsel, and Ink, Sweat and Tears. Recent work includes ‘interstitial woodland’ poetry in collaboration with visual artist Tansy Lee Moir.
blog: https://stevedsmart.wordpress.com/
twitter: https://twitter.com/steveDsmart
web: http://www.artsci.co.uk/sds/

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Fragments of Istria: an Assemblage

A remarkable assemblage of verse, prose image and visit from ‘Hill to Sea’ !

From Hill to Sea

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We could eat this sky.

Stretch up, scoop out

handfuls; smear our faces

and taste the fanfare

of sunset.

II

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Out of red earth

lines of olive trees, vines

and quarried stone.

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Centuries of building,

dwelling, tending

the land, goats

and cattle.

Another cyprus tree – rooted

in tangled narratives

of departure

vivid light

and shadow play.

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No neatly packaged hay bales in the uncanny rural. Creatures of twilight, sit hunched in the corner of smallholdings, backs turned. In fading light, walking past these halo-skewered field dwellers: was that a lengthening shadow? a sigh? a suggestion of movement?

IV

They would appear in the adjoining field at around 7.00pm each evening. A symphony of bells heralding their arrival. We never did see where they came from. They would feast in the field for around half an hour, a clanking cacophony of movement. Occasionally, one would come over to eye us up, usually the smallest with the highest pitched bell. Curious young eyes…

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John Grey

A fine poem by John Grey…

The Open Mouse

WATCHING THE MONARCHS

On a meadow at wood’s edge,
June floats in on black and orange wings,
completes Spring’s promise,
fuels Summer’s largesse.

My eyes have their wish –
the monarchs have arrived.
Such a will to live.
Scraps of creature
cheating the wrecking ball of weather
from far down south
all the way to my doorstep.

What is sadness compared to this?
Deft as a ballerina’s toes
or a deaf man’s fingers,
they find, in air, a secret language,
writ from buttonbush to aster.

Beyond prevailing platitudes,
delicate purpose becomes beauty.
Instinct rivals even love.

Copyright © John Grey 2016

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Cape Rock and Spoon River Poetry Review.

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“Warbler” by Jim Harrison

A marvellous poem, and a valuable post.

Words for the Year

This year we have two gorgeous
yellow warblers nesting in the honeysuckle bush.
The other day I stuck my head in the bush.
The nestlings weigh one-twentieth of an ounce,
about the size of a honeybee. We stared at
each other, startled by our existence.
In a month or so, when they reach the size
of bumblebees they’ll fly to Costa Rica without a map.

“Warbler” by Jim Harrison from Dead Man’s Float. © Copper Canyon Press, 2016.

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* With a wave to kind reader Usha who, during the Spring, offered this as one of her favorite poems, shortly after Jim Harrison passed away (March 26, 2016). 

Usha’s suggestion led me to learn more about Harrison. Reading more, I learned that Linda King Harrison, his wife of 55 years, had passed away less than six months earlier (October 2, 2015) and that Mr. Harrison had “died a poet’s death…

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June – Andrew Fentham

I really liked this fantastic set of very varied verse from Andrew Fentham in The Fat Damsel’s June post

 

Source: June – Andrew Fentham

 

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A Poetry of Elephants

An excellent project by Rebecca Gethin.
Very pleased to have one of my poems (The End of an Elephant’s Tail) included.

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If you press this – A Poetry of Elephants –  you will find our anthology of elephant poems. So here’s huge thanks and grateful hugs to all the many contributors: I never envisaged so many lovely poems would  respond to my call-out!  Twenty four poets have sent twenty nine poems in about a fortnight. Please feel free to share this with anyone and everyone.

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When I went to Saba Douglas-Hamilton’s inspiring talk about her organisation ‘Save the Elephants’ she said that we should all do what we can and that made me think of putting together a collection of elephant poems to explore ways in which elephants are a vital part of our culture even though we are not living in elephant habitat. A week ago Kenya set fire to 11 pyres of elephant tusks which I read represents 30 miles of elephant, standing trunk to tail.  I desperately hope that…

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52. The book.

Something for Christmas for the poet in your life (whether that’s somebody else, or yourself) ?

52

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The 52 project originated as a life-changing year of poetry prompts, published on this site by Jo Bell in the 52 weeks between January 1st 2014 and January 1st 2015.

Now Jo’s prompts – together with ten written by guest poets including Helen Mort, Philip Gross and Neil Rollinson – are available in a single chunky book from Nine Arches Press. It’s an anthology too, with each prompt supported by poems ranging from John Donne and Edward Thomas to contemporary poets like Kei Miller and Sharon Olds.

Who is the book for? Anyone who writes poetry, at any level. Beginners will find a rich wealth of advice and illustrative poems; experienced poets will find material to refresh their practice; and all will find heart-stopping new poems to show how poetry can move, shock and touch us. The first blog (and now, the first chapter in our book) has been re-published here

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