4 a.m.

by Pamela Newham

Who is she the sleeping me?
I, the conscious one,
covet her oblivious state
where residue of the day
translates into fantasy
where visions swirl and shift
while my obstinate brain
is tormented by the ordinary
and I keep my eyes from
the relentless clock
sole witness to the awake me.

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Life Outside

by Angela Prew

Now we live on the Main Road
where, passing beneath our window,
we have a constant parade.
two busy periods occur week-daily;
early traffic starts at dawn,
a queue of lorries, vans and cars,
and a steady stream of trailers from the bottling plant
bustle into town.
Occasional bursts of hooting or sirens
draw us to the windows or wake us from our rest
and, from time to time, sounds of collisions
and wails as ambulances, rescue vans, police cars
speed up to clear the road of battered people,
animals and goods no longer fit for sale.
The traffic thins out after nine
as the workers line up, slowly, to return home.
Matches enliven the quiet weekends,
cricket and rugby, both played at our rear.
We know at once which side has won
by the time and volume of noise.
For us, the old, whose limbs have stiffened,
there is constant amusement outside.

Krishna’s Mercy

A Fibonacci

by Cornelia Rohde

Down
holes
among
the pipul roots
great hooded snake gods
live in rich underground cities
built of precious gems
whose brilliance
lights up
the
world.

Some
like
dreaded
Kaliya
with his hundred hoods,
vomit poison, destroying all
near the sacred river
Jumna’s banks
that flow
deep,
broad.

Heads
rise
fearsome
from the depths
engulfing Krishna
when he dives to retrieve his ball.
He becomes so huge
the demon
is forced
to
yield.

Released
child
now dances
on those heads,
but he spares the brute
when his lovely Nagini wives
beg for his pardon.
Playful Lord
forgives
vile
rage.

Appropriation

by Annette Snyckers

What I really wanted
was the forest,
that fecund place –
it smelled of damp decay –
where spots of sunlight sifted
through the green of spring.

I took it for myself,
let suspicion fall
where it may –
after all,
they left it in the shed,
perhaps they didn’t
even care.

Just before I fall
asleep, I can almost hear
the wind in the trees,
the rustling leaves –

the painting hangs
above my bed.

 

One Precious Thing, from Rohingya Refugees

by Elizabeth Trew

Found poem

I bring from across the water
my make-up box – eyeliners and powder –
I love to make up my face.
I bring this bag of puffed rice –
my best thing to eat.
I bring this bottle of oil for my mother’s headaches –
I rub a little on her temples for relief.

I leave behind my cattle – bloated, dead on the shore.
They were like my children.
I am drawing all of them on this paper.
I am drawing my favourite yellow dress, burnt
in my burning village – draw it exactly
as it was – bright colour with belt and sequins.
I leave behind my father’s photo – handsome, strong man.
I am drawing his face to remember.

Poem for Glenn and Wendy on the Occasion of their Marriage

by Elaine Edwards

Soon Glenn and Wendy will exchange their vows.
Here in this glade, beneath these leafy boughs,
we are assembled now to celebrate
their union, and pray that fickle fate
will treat them kindly and allow them space
both for themselves and one another.
Let them be true, each to the other
in every circumstance, in every place.

Let our beloved children find ahead
a love that’s singular but widely spread.
May the strong bond that’s formed today
enable them to meet all obstacles and stay
their loving course, together not apart.
Let Glenn’s quick wit and strength of mind,
his decency and faithfulness combined
join Wendy’s gentle soul and loving heart.

And in this forest may the verdant trees
be images of love rooted with success
and may their spreading branches show the way
to Glenn and Wendy’s future happiness.

The Heart of the Matter

by Lise Day

Today I cooked an artichoke
which is really a bitter thing
needing garlic for sweetness,
oil for softness, lemon for zing.

I eat it in the evening hush
after a day of swirling wind
from each petal
scrape the good
discard the tip of gall.
I think it’s like my life –
outer leaves leathery
resilient as my youth,
the inner segments
mushy middle-age.
Then, suddenly the choke,
a hairy knob of awfulness
I incise it carefully
discard it chop chop.

Now relish the succulent
sweet heart of maturity,
and the best part
of an artichoke is,
all that comes after
tastes even better.

dance the more glory

by Elizabeth Trew

gentle strong dancer dancing into the world
dance again solo on the red hill

swirl the tails of your animal dress
with laughter in sun-wind

dance to the earth and its bones beneath
your arms open raised to the sky

rhythm feet turning the centre of you
letting arms flow to the voice of your body

turning the more deeply to its music
gentle strong dancer, astonish me again

Rift

by Annette Snyckers

I could attempt
the journey
to your world,
but it seems so far,
so difficult,
and even if
arrival was possible,
you might stop me
at passport control,
have me searched
for ulterior motives,
refuse entry.

Then,
on barren soil
delusions would bloom,
disputes flourish,
wounds bleed seeds.

In the end
the harvest
bitter,
and we,
the reapers —
the losers.