Tag Archives: Cinnamon Press

Sally Douglas’s Candling the Eggs

  
 
Sally Douglas was born in Cornwall in 1962. She read English and European Literature at Warwick University, a course which involved a fair bit of Latin and Middle English poetry, but nothing more contemporary than Yeats. More recently, she has been awarded a Diploma in Literature and Creative Writing with Distinction from the Open University. She lives in Devon.
 
Sally has been widely published in magazines including The Rialto, Smith’s Knoll, Envoi, Orbis, The Interpreter’s House, Iota, Acumen and South. She was a prize-winner in the Challenging Poverty Competition and was awarded joint first prize in the Cinnamon Press Poetry Awards.
 
She will be reading (with Anne Caldwell) at Lumen, Tavistock Place, London, WC1 on 15 March 2011 and will be featured poet at Uncut Poets, Phoenix Arts Centre, Exeter, Devon on 28 April 2011.
 
 
 

  
 
Candling the Eggs (Cinnamon Press, 2011) explores the ways in which we both hide and reveal our experiences and perceptions of life, the ways in which we are able or unable to speak. Images of water, birds, paper and dolls, and allusions to myth and history, thread their way through the collection illustrating fragmented stories in a landscape of light and dark, of silence and sound.
 
The poems in this collection are precise, lyrical and beautiful, sometimes disquieting and strange, often pushing at the boundaries of language and into silence. This is a mesmerising and accomplished collection.
 
“Sally Douglas’s poems are disturbing and beautiful; broken, elliptical narratives, monologues from subtle, unpredictable perspectives. There’s a sense they are written from a place of loss, or damage. She’s a poet who can evoke, and conjure, who understands the power of what is left unsaid. At the same time her poems sing, and it is precisely this pervasive, darkly lyrical tone that allows them to be heard, and felt, with such emotional and dramatic force.” 
 
– Greta Stoddart
 
 
 
 
Mute
 
If you had done what you say you have done
you would have scars.
 
If this had happened as you say,
someone would have noticed.
 
If he had done this thing you say he has done,
you would have spoken then.
 
If what you say is true, there would be records,
not poems.
 
We have looked for records.
There are none.
 
If what you say is true, the dark would be spooling out
behind you.
 
But all you have done is create these things,
opaque as swans.
 
 
 
 
Path
 
There is a silent line
under her skin.
Trace its route from earlobe, neck,
down to the margin of breast,
skimming the border between front and back
where she is always cold.
 
Sweeping, silver, to the groin,
and down like a pungent trickle
that dried many years ago,
then kissing the braided cavity of knee
and the ankle’s egg-like bone.
 
It’s all that’s left from when
he stitched her with harebells
culled from the verges of the Wissenweg –
the thread so fine
it hardly hurt at all.
 
 
 
 
Abdication
 
Adam’s task was the invention of language,
to name each thing.
 
 
Because they do not dazzle her,
she gets to name the white things.
Teeth, feathers, bandages, the old man’s beard, bones.
Plaster casts, the face in the river, the sand.
 
She can feel their shapes with her tongue.
Ointment, ghosts, marble, snow, paper, kaolin, milk.
Tissues, tampons, sanitary towels, lies,
the small round pills, the sheets, the suds.
 
 
 
 
The Robe
 
She threads her warp on a strange loom:
weaves red symbols through the white.
               Ovid: Metamorphoses
 
 
You swaddled me with furious proofs,
wrapped me in cloths bleached brightly with rage.
And as I grew, I joined you at the loom:
wove shadows of the things I’d never seen.
 
Now I prowl the riverbank,
dragging the robe like broken wings.
I can’t unpick this history you’ve stitched to me.
 
 
 
 
Candling the Eggs
 
Carefully as a jeweller – fore-finger to apex,
thumb to base – she holds each one close
to the forty watt bulb set up in the corner of the barn.
 
Leans forward, as if to an airless bell-jar
in an eighteenth century study, assaying
futures as the egg inhales light.
 
There are three possible conclusions:
fertilised, edible, bad.
 
She thinks of how these dark trawls
are cloaked in words of light.
 
Last night, for instance, lamping in the fields –
rabbits, frozen in the rapture of the beam;
the shotgun’s long pragmatic aim.
 
Tomorrow, it won’t be light that candles
her, but slender waves of sound.
 
Carefully she holds each one, as if it were
a tiny skull: thumb to occipital crest,
fore-finger to unclosing fontanelle.
 
 
 
 
Role Play: Therapy in Three Parts
 
 
Patient
 
When you’ve left home,
they said.
So he left home.
 
When you’ve got children of your own,
they said.
So he built a house on salt-drenched sand.
 
When they’re both dead,
they said.
 
So he waited till they died.
But it all still flickers like a broken film
strobing at the corner of his eye.
 
 
Actor
 
He starts like this:
Leichner 5 and 9, slick as butter,
skating the planes of his face.
28 for the shadows.
Black around the eyes.
The flick of a match:
lit, spent.
 
Then to brighten himself
in that bleached bowl of light:
he takes a cocktail stick
to gouge out carmine, white;
stabs careful dots
tight in the eye’s soft angles.
 
 
Fossil Hunter
 
He stumps over the shale beds
which slump from the undercliff,
that brink where land falters,
loses balance.
 
He picks over spoils
like a crow at road-kill.
Places the shapes of the dead
in a red plastic bucket.
 
When he gets home, he’ll grind them to powder
trying to find their hearts.
 
 
 
 
from Candling the Eggs (Cinnamon Press, 2011).
 
Order Candling the Eggs.
 
Visit Sally’s poetry-themed blog.

Abegail Morley’s How to Pour Madness into a Teacup

Abegail Morley

  
Abegail Morley is a Kent-based poet. She has an MA from Sussex University and a postgraduate diploma in publishing from Exeter Art College. After working in publishing she’s now a librarian/archivist, guest Poetry Editor at The New Writer and a member of the Kent and Sussex Poetry Society.
 
Her collection How to Pour Madness into a Teacup (Cinnamon Press, 2009) is shortlisted for the Forward Prize Best First Collection (2010); the title poem was previously nominated for the Forward Prize Best Single Poem.
 
Her work appears in several anthologies and a wide range of magazines including: Anon, Assent, the Financial Times, The Interpreter’s House, Iota, Other Poetry and The Spectator.
 
 

  
“It has fallen to Abegail Morley to draw aside the veil suspended between the world we know and the unholy of unholies that lies beyond. We are shown the painted veil of everyday life, only to have it slashed with a knife before our eyes, allowing us to glimpse the horror that lies within, sometimes frightening but always lit with a strange visionary beauty. Morley’s poems are daredevil ambassadors to a savage place.”
 
– Hugo Williams
 
 
“These poems are moving, sensitively written, compelling and well worth a read.”
 
– Sophie Hannah
 
 
“It is rare to find a collection that is so hypnotically filled with trapped desire. It is like being inside the head of Munch’s The Scream. It is like nothing else around: the poetry of rejection. That’s what marks it out and makes it so special… This is a brilliantly uncomfortable sequence and you won’t get it out of your head – no matter how hard you wash.”
 
– Bill Greenwell
 
 
 
How to Pour Madness into a Teacup
 
She hangs her tears at the front of the house
cuts the rain in half and puts time
in the hot black kettle. She sits in the kitchen
reading the teacup full of small dark tears;
 
it’s foretold the man in the wood
hovers in the dark rain above the winding path.
The man is talking to her in moons,
she is laughing to hide her tears
 
and with little time, she secretly
plants the moons in the dark brown bed.
She shivers, thinks the man is watching
as the jokes of the child dance
 
on the roof of the house. Tidying,
she carefully puts hot rain in the teacup,
sings as she hangs her tears on a string
and watching the dance, thinks herself mad.
 
 
Previously published in Orbis #142 (Winter 2007)
and The Spectator (November 2008).
 
 
 
Schedule
 
She dances through
the middle of days,
blends memories with oil of lavender, keeps
conversations in scrapbooks.
 
She papers the walls with anecdotes,
pinches her lips to hoard her thoughts,
and when asked for her opinions
plucks on her mouth like a harpist
playing on gut strings.
 
 
 
Passenger
 
She packs her past in a red suitcase,
out of style, gaudy:
“Look at me,” it shouts,
a merchant of insanity.
  
It circles the terminus
round and round on the conveyor belt
like some terminal illness
waiting to begin.
 
She didn’t move fast enough,
lost herself to its motion
and the inconsolable past,
unresolved, moves on too.
 
 
 
from How to Pour Madness into a Teacup (Cinnamon Press, 2009).
 
Order How to Pour Madness into a Teacup.
 
Visit Abegail’s website.
 
Read more of Abegail’s poems at poetry p f.
 
Visit the Kent and Sussex Poetry Society’s website.

Ann Drysdale’s Quaintness and Other Offences

Ann Drysdale

  
Ann Drysdale is a British poet, born near Manchester, raised in London, married in Birmingham, ran a smallholding and brought up three children on the North York Moors and now lives in South Wales. She was a journalist for many years, writing, among other things, the longest-running by-line column in the Yorkshire Evening Post, which she later made into a series of books. Her recent publications have included two memoirs, Three-three, Two-two, Five-six and Discussing Wittgenstein, both from Cinnamon Press, and a quirky guidebook in the Real Wales series – Real Newport, from Seren. Of her four volumes of poetry from Peterloo, the most recent, Between Dryden and Duffy, appeared in 2005. A fifth collection, Quaintness and Other Offences, was recently published by Cinnamon Press. She is also the current holder of the Dylan Thomas prize for Poetry in Performance.
 
 

 
Ann Drysdale’s fifth collection of poetry displays all the familiar skills of this witty, assured and deeply humane writer. Her handling of poignant subjects is informed by her astute intelligence and sharp eye; her feeling for form is matched by the precision and dexterity with which she uses language. Varied, immediate and accomplished, her work speaks to a wide audience.
 
 
“Ann Drysdale has a way of adding wit to form that turns the poem on the page from a squib to an arc-welder.”
 
– Peter Finch
 
 
“The thing about Ann’s poetry is the thing with all poets worth a damn. It’s the way she says something you couldn’t say in any other way. The poem skewers the meaning, just like that.”
 
– John Whitworth
 
 
“Ann Drysdale is one of the poets whose work has become part of my life.”
 
– U A Fanthorpe
 
 
“This is poetry that speaks to you personally, touches, makes human contact, a rare and crucial virtue that transforms good poetry into essential poetry. The direct, authentic voice shines through. It’s like talking to a sensible, straight-talking (but eloquent) person after spending an evening with a room full of delirious ranting bullshitters.”
 
– Paul Stevens
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
Let’s do Lunch …
 
Oh, where is it heading and where will it end?
Liaison of lovers or food with a friend?
I answered yes, please but my heart said no, thanks
As I suddenly saw myself swelling the ranks
Of the ladies who lunch with their Afternoon Men
Again and again and again and again
With rillettes of rabbit, or moules marinière
As the only connection between any pair.
 
Lunch isn’t dinner, which ends up in bed;
We part on a pavement with everything said
And you ring me up later but don’t talk for long
And I feel in my water it’s all going wrong.
There used to be music but not any more
So I know where I am and I’ve been here before,
A little bit tipsy, a little bit high
On the scent of the cheek that I’m kissing goodbye…
Old Spice…  AramisEau SauvageVetiver
First wind of the end of another affair.
 
 
 
I am becoming my grandmother…
 
Sooner or later, in the great scheme of things,
Women are ambushed by their transformation
Into their own mothers. Mirrors tell them,
Or echoes of some little tetchiness
That still itches under skin that has thinned
To let it out again.
 
Not I;
I have skipped a generation and will soon
Become my grandmother. It has begun.
No longer can I pass a crying child
Without wiping its nose on my pinny
Or any dog without extending my hand.
 
I find all kinds of treasures in the street
And take them home with me in a string bag.
I touch flowers, move snails out of the way
Of passing traffic. All these things I do
Regardless of the present company.
 
The transformation has not gone unnoticed;
Somebody left a hurt newt in a bowl
Outside my door, convinced that I could help it.
 
And now at last I am the world’s Aunt Jessie;
Old, fat and ugly, but – hurrah! God loves me!
Daily I hit the road in shapeless lace-ups
Dap-slapping my way across East Anglia,
Now and then turning my face up to heaven
Like a tanned leather bottle full of questions
To diagnose the illness of the wind
And look for little ways to make it better.
 
 
 
To Camelot
 
Yobs untie the cabin cruiser
Left to rot beside the river,
Drag her down and turn her over,
Push her out onto the water
     Just to see if she will float.
Big boots crushing frosty sedges
All along the water’s edges,
Hurling missiles from the bridges
     At the dented, dying boat.
 
First she proudly breasts the current,
Rides the river, heir apparent
To the beauty of the torrent,
Off to face her final moment
     Elemental and alone.
But the yobs continue throwing,
Conscious of their power, knowing
They can still control her going –
     One more curse and one more stone.
 
Laughing with the joy of wrecking;
Shattered screen and splintered decking.
Listing, lurching, bobbing, jinking,
Now she founders, now she’s sinking –
     Yeah! Titanic! Gissa shot!
Little bits of broken mirror
Catch the sunset on the river
Where the song goes on forever
     All the way to Camelot.
 
 
 
The Red Mud of Lydney
 
On a field trip to Gloucestershire, not long before he died,
The tired leaves of autumn were committing suicide
To the threnody of drizzle that was clearly in cahoots
With the red mud of Lydney that was sucking at my boots.
 
We were following our colleagues to the villa on the hill
With Philip in the wheelchair, doing splendidly until
We heard a noise behind us such as speedy people make
And turned and saw a four-by-four that wished to overtake.
 
The cure for our predicament was well within his gift;
His flat bed trailer might have offered us a lift,
But he gave the horn an irritated toot as if to say
That he was heading up the hill and we were in the way.
 
The man in the Land Rover didn’t try to pass,
He made me lug the wheelchair through the lateral morass.
He watched me as I struggled but he wouldn’t meet my eye,
Just raised his own to heaven with a hissy little sigh.
 
It took me every ounce of strength to haul it off the track
And I knew as I was doing it I’d never haul it back.
He found a gear and roared away and left us helpless there.
Oh, I would’ve pulled my forelock if I’d had a hand to spare.
 
Each time I see the wheelchair standing empty in the shed
Still muddily encrusted in that special shade of red
It galls me and appalls and transports me back again
To the loneliness and hopelessness of Lydney in the rain.
 
 
 
Acid Trip
 
     Willow bark, willow bite
     First drug I’ve done tonight
     Wish I may, wish I might
     Muddle through another night
 
Ye tiny clots, cumulative contusions
That block the pathways and create confusions
Become as dust dispersing in a river
My willow wand shall banish thee forever.
 
     Strip the willow, set it going
     Hold the rhythm, keep it flowing
    Ease the valves that stop and start
     The secret chambers of my heart
 
Sing a song of sunshine
Boozy bottoms up
Five and seventy milligrams
Swirling in a cup
When the stuff is swallowed
The traffic starts to flow
And all the little corpuscles
Go marching in a row!
 
     Acid trip, acid trip
     Take another little nip
     Wish I may, wish I might
     Wish again tomorrow night.
 
 
Note: the acid involved here is not Lysergic acid diethylamide
but Acetylsalicylic acid. Sorry.
 
 
 
The Bingo Bus
 
The ladies of Winchestown are going south for the ’Ousey.
Flashing their passes, they accrue on the sideways seats
At the front of the trundling bus as it growls down the valley.
 
The twitter is constant; a narrow, high range, like bats,
Unmoderated in its content, for who can overhear them
Other than dogs and peculiarly sharp-eared children?
 
They all chew gum. In their youth it was thought unseemly
So they chew very fast to make up for so much lost time,
Redeploying the involuntary motions of old mouths.
 
They take on their gum like ballast before boarding.
They work it as they talk, quick-flicking it like the shuttles
Of the flannel weavers in days even they don’t remember.
 
Tongues toss the soft pellets like small boys in blankets;
Teeth, false and furious, catch them and roll them ready
For another somersault as the tongues move in again.
 
And so it goes – allez-oop!à bas!encore!
A non-stop pantomime of death and resurrection
All the way down to the ’Stute in Abertillery.
 
 
Note: ’Stute – the Miners’ Institute. Once every South Wales mining town had one.
 
 
 
from Quaintness and Other Offences (Cinnamon Press, 2009)
 
Order Quaintness and Other Offences here or here.
 
Visit Ann’s poetry pf page.

Arlene Ang’s Seeing Birds in Church is a Kind of Adieu

Arlene Ang

  
Arlene Ang is the author of The Desecration of Doves (2005), Secret Love Poems (Rubicon Press, 2007), and a collaborative book with Valerie Fox, Bundles of Letters Including A, V and Epsilon (Texture Press, 2008). She lives in Spinea, Italy where she serves as staff editor for The Pedestal Magazine and Press 1. Seeing Birds in Church is a Kind of Adieu, published by Cinnamon Press in 2010, is her third full-length collection.
 
 

  
 
Seeing Birds in Church is a Kind of Adieu is concerned with images and perception; the intricacies and strangeness of human relationships. Her language, sometimes surreal, challenges expectations. Always sensual and inventive, this is poetry that surprises; poetry with a rapid heartbeat that demands the reader responds. Ang deploys sharp crafting and a unique voice.
 
 
“This is a fresh and remarkable work that explores relationships and perceptions with great imagination and finesse. Sometimes bold and always graceful, Ang’s poems demonstrate her true mastery of the surreal.”
 
– Jayne Pupek
 
 
 
*
 
 
Dream Experiments Involving Polaroids
 
Before my mother goes to bed
bearing the extraction of her breast, she has
to walk away from me.
She keeps slipping on the floor.
She is halfway to saying
goodbye. Instead she turns around
and takes a snapshot
of my face looking in on her
from the French window. She slips again.
The nightdress climbs her hip
and shows the moon
all the veins where the blood went
wrong. She is weeping now.
The picture in her hand has captured
only the wedge of my red shoe.
In the next five hundred dream states,
she will explain to everyone
this is how much she loves me,
that I will always remain a living person to her.
The soundtrack is that of a body crossing
itself over and over. She has
no notion of how little they understand
what she says. It’s been like this
every time: we meet, we fail
in our attempts to take photos of each other,
we don’t talk, we don’t go into details—
like which one of us is dead. Or isn’t. 
 
 
 
Dead Girl Found Curled Up in Snow
 
She is an ear.
She is a sea shell
 
taken—like a taste
for destruction—
 
from the sea.
Her body
 
conforms
to the beauty
 
inherent in snow.
The needle
 
splitting the vein
on her arm
 
has fallen into
a trance.
 
Her fingers curve
gracefully—
 
as if halfway
into the interpretation
 
of Clair de Lune.
It is time
 
for her to leave.
She is nameless.
 
The ice holds
her blue lips together.
 
She doesn’t wake up,
doesn’t know
 
the hollowed womb
she’s left
 
on the ground,
or later
 
how more snow fell
and erased all
 
trace of where
she didn’t belong.
  
  
 
Ant trails
 
lead to the peach on the counter. It is overripe,
and your nail has left an open wound. Streetlight bathes
 
the kitchen into a shipwreck. A plate—chipped
in several parts—awaits the fruit, like proof of civilization.
 
With age, the tendency to live birthdays alone
ingrains itself in bone. Candles are stowed under the sink
 
for black outs. It is customary to collide against
the fridge in the absence of light. The dreamt-of pain
 
rubs against your knee, picking up on reality.
What is sleep, if not a finger pressing unconsciousness
 
upon the body? Something always drips out:
blood, juice, tears. The counter doesn’t distinguish
 
your reflection from the fruit rot. After ten years,
it’s still shining and—for the granite—it’s enough to go on.
 
Once you’ve killed an ant, more arrive because
it is in the nature of workers to take the dead away.
  
 
 
The Bearded Lady
sonnenizio on a line from Ros Barber
 
On a morning like any other, she wakes to find
a slit in the curtains unsheathing the sun
across the bed. She calls her cat, a summons
that reverts back to silence. As she rises,
 
she leaves her hair behind—dark brown
and curling on the dishevelled sheets.
She undresses. The half-light gives itself
to inspecting her body. She has lost her beard
 
and a chunk of left breast. She has only
just begun. She turns her head to the pillow
where she had laid to sleep a husband
and two dogs. And there, she finds
 
what she was made to find: the dead mouse,
a sheen of blood ripening its half-closed mouth.
 
 
 
from Seeing Birds in Church is a Kind of Adieu
(Cinnamon Press, 2010)
 
Order Seeing Birds in Church is a Kind of Adieu.
 
Sarah Sloat reviews Seeing Birds in Church is a Kind of Adieu on Goodreads.
  
Visit Arlene’s website.

Some Favourite Poetry Collections of 2009: Part Three


 
Liz Gallagher
 
The Missing by Siân Hughes (Salt Modern Poets)
Tolstoy in Love by Ray Givans (Dedalus Press)
In the Voice of a Minor Saint by Sarah J. Sloat (Tilt Press)
 
 
Pamela Mordecai
 
Naming the Mannequins by Nic Labriola (Insomniac Press)
Fierce Departures: The Poetry of Dionne Brand, with
an introduction by L. C.  Sanders (Wilfred Laurie University Press)
Hope’s Hospice and Other Poems by Kwame Dawes
(Peepal Tree Press)
 
 
Andrea Porter
 
The Burning of the Books by George Szirtes (Bloodaxe Books)
The Ambulance Box by Andrew Philip (Salt Modern Poets)
Faber New Poets: Fiona Benson (Faber & Faber)
 
 
Carrie Etter
 
Elsa Cross: Selected Poems, edited by Tony Frazer
(Shearsman Books)
Assorted Poems by Susan Wheeler (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
The Clockwork Gift by Claire Crowther (Shearsman Books)
  
  
Ann Drysdale
 
Darwin’s Microscope by Kelley Swain (Flambard Press)
No Panic Here by Mark Halliday (HappenStance)
Missing the Eclipse by Joan Hewitt (Cinnamon Press)
 
 
Sascha Aurora Aktar
 
Bird Head Son by Anthony Joseph (Salt Modern Poets)
Poetry State Forest by Bernadette Mayer (New Directions)
Orphaned Latitudes by Gérard Rudolf (Red Squirrel Press)
 
 
Giles Goodland
 
Darwin by Tony Lopez (Acts of Language)
The Summer of Agios Dimitrios by Peter Hughes
(Shearsman Books)
Undraining Sea by Vahni Capildeo (Egg Box Publishing)
 
 
Catherine Daly
 
luce a cavallo by Therese Bachand (Green Integer Press)
The Last 4 Things by Kate Greenstreet (Ahsahta Press)
Where Shadows Will: Selected Poems 1988 – 2008 by Norma Cole
(City Lights Books)
 
 
Tim Wells
 
Caligula on Ice and Other Poems by Tim Turnbull (Donut Press)
Poemland by Chelsey Minnis (Wave Books)
City State: New London Poetry, edited by Tom Chivers
(Penned in the Margins)
 
 
Jacqueline Saphra
 
West End Final by Hugo Williams (Faber & Faber)
Rain by Don Paterson (Faber & Faber)
Farewell My Lovely by Polly Clark (Bloodaxe Books)
 
 
Sophie Mayer
 
Undraining Sea by Vahni Capildeo (Egg Box Publishing)
The Son by Carrie Etter (Oystercatcher)
The ms of m y kin by Janet Holmes (Shearsman Books)
Cold Spring in Winter by Valérie Rouzeau, translated
by Susan Wicks (Arc Publications)
The Joshua Tales by Andra Simons (Treehouse Press)
 
 
Katy Lederer
 
Free Cell by Anselm Berrigan (City Lights Books)
Delivered by Sarah Gambito (Persea Books)
The King by Rebecca Wolff (W.W. Norton & Co.)

Louisa Adjoa Parker’s Salt-sweat & Tears

If I spin around and jump and shout
Louisa Adjoa Parker
 
for Rosina
  
if i spin around quickly
enough will i catch sight of you,
my ghost-sister, smiling behind me
before you fade like cotton in the sun?
if i jump, keep on jumping,
until my head just peeps
over the top of this world, will i
find myself staring into brown eyes
like mine? if i close my eyes and train
my ears to wring out miniuscule pieces
of forgotten sound from the past,
like splinters of glass, will i hear you
cry? if i shout your name, keep on shouting
will you hear, will you know
                           of my sorrow?
 
 
 
‘If I spin around and jump and shout’ is included in Salt-sweat & Tears (Cinnamon Press, 2007).
 
Purchase Salt-sweat & Tears from Cinnamon Press.
 
Read flash fiction from Catherine Smith, Hattie Ellis, Ros Barber and Louisa Adjoa Parker here.

Susan Richardson’s ‘Waiting at the Breathing Hole’

Waiting at the Breathing Hole
Susan Richardson
 
The white of this screen burns
my eyes. Its unswerving glare
might well make me snow-blind. 
  
There was a time when words would fly
across the screen, like a dog-team speeding,
each at its peak and pulling
equally and all I’d have to do was leap
aboard the sledge, guide it
in the right direction, then
relish the ride.

But suddenly,
                    we hit uneven ice.
          Bumped over ridges.
I fell from the sledge.          The dogs fled.
The instructions I yelled
                    had no meaning.
 
So now, with tender eyes,
I must hunt for a hole in the white
 
and wait
 
patient
 
at the rim
for the whiskered nose of inspiration,
for a flippered urge to surge to the surface.
 
And when it comes, I won’t shoot it,
harpoon it     skin it     rip its liver out and eat it raw
leave banners of blood on the snow.
 
No. I’ll feed it all the saffron cod and shrimp it needs,
teach it to move with the ease it knows beneath
the ice
 
but first, I’ll take a few steps back
and just let it
 
breathe
 
 
First published in Creatures of the Intertidal Zone
(Cinnamon Press, 2007).
 
Visit Susan’s website and blog.

Hazel Frankel’s ‘Revelations’

Revelations
Hazel Frankel
   
In the beginning we created
bone, blood, skin, breath,
as we surged, rose, touched, kissed,
and it was morning
and it was evening,
our first days,
and together we saw that it was good.
  
In the beginning were our words,
and they were yes, now, tomorrow, joy,
and it was green and golden,
it was wind and fire,
it was man and woman,
and together we thought we would last forever,
for we knew that it was good.
  
In the beginning
we were sand and ocean and heaven on earth.
Our light carved out the darkness
with the stars’ brightness
and the moon shone forever
as we were born over and over,
and the sun in your eyes told me it was good.
  
But as our love filled the darkness of our deep,
the waters of the firmament filled with our tears.
In the beginning we feared no end.
In the beginning
was our end.
  
  
from Drawing from Memory (Cinnamon Press, 2007)

Copies of Drawing from Memory may be purchased through the Cinnamon Press website, Amazon (UK) or directly from Hazel (franks@iafrica.com).
 
Drawing from Memory’s cover artwork is Hazel Frankel’s Red Painting.