Firsthand

by Annette Snyckers

Eyes can lie,
but hands reveal
through skin and sinew
veins and nails
grip and grasp
stroke and strike
how young, how old
how careful, how fearful
how kind, how cold
how tense
how tender.

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The Poet Gardener

by Lise Day

It’s spring time in the garden
so much to be done, words
are blooming, phrases unfurling.
First I rake the little ands, buts, ors,
that have fallen in the night.
Then I plant some new words
filemot, succus, petrichor.
Sow tiny seeds of up, to and be,
Forage for misplaced apostrophes.
I fiercely prune the adjectives
awesome, breathtaking, miraculous,
weed the beds of azure, bliss and hue,
cut back the blossoms of ethereal,
trim the quiescent underfoot.
I graft me and up to pick
to cultivate a pick-me-up,
splice free and sugar to grow
the ever popular sugar-free.
In the hothouse exotic buds
Of hygge, kummerspeck, tartle
are bursting into bloom.
Finally I mulch a layer
of accord, commit and utter.
I anticipate a copious harvest
of ripe and ready words
which I will gather in and store
to sustain me in the winter.

(After Temenos September 2016)

A farm story

by Elizabeth Trew

All carefully kept on the sisters’ dairy farm:
two giant eucalypts – beloved and long dead
stand by the old house, now a Bed and Breakfast.
I arrive at dusk. Bees are busy
making honey inside a dead trunk,
Kei apples have fallen, lie under their trees,
guineafowl have flown into the pines to sleep
while calves in the herd gambol in the field.
All so very beautiful, one sister says to me
as she takes me through the house
of many ageing things all kept with care.
An old white wedding dress
hangs inside my room. I open a tin of hairpins
belonging to the bride.
I lie awake and feel the wind-mill turn and creak,
the bone-white trees and wedding dress
loom inside the night.
Between the living and the dead loveliness is there.

Aftermath

                      by Pamela Newham

She sends a text:
An update.
My attacker has plea-bargained.
Eighteen years.
I am happy with that.

One after the other we reply:
Good news.
You must be relieved.
You have been so strong.
We are here.

And I think of all those others
who have never found their voices,
years upon years of unheard voices.