Poetry

Wasp on the Prayer Flag

Maeve O’Sullivan is a Dublin-based member of Bodhicharya Ireland. In Wasp on the Prayer Flag, O’Sullivan’s fifth collection with Alba Publishing, the years 2018-2021 are chroniced in the forms of haiku and senryu verse.  The three sections, Seasons, Sequences and Senryu, bring to the reader Maeve’s lucid observations of life in Ireland and abroad.  This latest edition is both an insightful and a rich addition to her previous publicatons.

From the back page of Wasp on the Prayer Flag

Maeve O’Sullivan has an unerring gift for rendering momentary experience – outdoors among weather, flora and fauna, or just pottering at home – into memorable, often beautiful haiku or amusing senryu.
Matthew Paul

These meditative haiku discover magnificence in the everyday. Alert to how birds, plants and insects revel in weather and the seasons, they connect our human world with the cosmos, and the natural world with the timeless.
Catherine Phil MacCarthy

 Wasp on the Prayer Flag is an excellent poetic guidebook for Maeve O’Sullivan’s native Ireland and places beyond.
Julie Warther

The final senryu ends in a consummate and optimistic note.  Here is Pandemic, the last Senryu sequence in the book.  Some of the senryu were previously published in Many Roads for Bodhicharya.

empty city street
they walk hand in gloved hand
two young men

in separate trees
a pair of magpies
a pair of collared doves

bored with lockdown
I wear sandals in which
I travelled the world

a doubling of deaths    the clematis buds fatter

my friend tells me more
about his cousin’s passing –
wasp on the prayer flag

no human hugs
for seven weeks –
this silver birch will do

lifting of lockdown    first glimpse of Dublin Bay

The easiest way for anyone to get a copy of the book is to visit O’Sullivan’s website. 30% of all profits from sales go to charity partners Asral Mongolia, an NGO whose aim is to eradicate poverty and to support children and their mothers in Mongolia. Since publication costs of Wasp have now been covered, that means that 30% of sales now go directly to the charity.

 

 

Their father died in a car accident. Their mother can’t work because of her disability. Their ger (traditional Mongolian tent) is old, it leaks and in winter loses heat. Egshiglen and Enkhtur have to share their clothes and collect garbage to heat their home in sub-zero winter temperatures. They share one pair of winter shoes between them. You can help transform Egshiglen and Enkhtur’s lives. DONATE

Maeve O’Sullivan’s poetry and haikai have been widely published, anthologised, awarded and translated. She is the author of five collections from Alba Publishing. Maeve is a founder member of the Hibernian Poetry Workshop, and a member of the Irish Writers’ Centre and the British Haiku Society. She also leads workshops in haiku, and reviews for various journals. www.maeveosullivan.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

The world is a beautiful place to be born into

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                The world is a beautiful place 
                                                           to be born into 
if you don’t mind happiness 
                                             not always being 
                                                                        so very much fun 
       if you don’t mind a touch of hell
                                                       now and then
                just when everything is fine
                                                             because even in heaven
                                they don’t sing 
                                                        all the time

             The world is a beautiful place
                                                           to be born into
       if you don’t mind some people dying
                                                                  all the time
                        or maybe only starving
                                                           some of the time
                 which isn’t half so bad
                                                      if it isn’t you

      Oh the world is a beautiful place
                                                          to be born into
               if you don’t much mind
                                                   a few dead minds
                    in the higher places
                                                    or a bomb or two
                            now and then
                                                  in your upturned faces
         or such other improprieties
                                                    as our Name Brand society
                                  is prey to
                                              with its men of distinction
             and its men of extinction
                                                   and its priests
                         and other patrolmen
                                                         and its various segregations
         and congressional investigations
                                                             and other constipations
                        that our fool flesh
                                                     is heir to

Yes the world is the best place of all
                                                           for a lot of such things as
         making the fun scene
                                                and making the love scene
and making the sad scene
                                         and singing low songs of having 
                                                                                      inspirations
and walking around 
                                looking at everything
                                                                  and smelling flowers
and goosing statues
                              and even thinking 
                                                         and kissing people and
     making babies and wearing pants
                                                         and waving hats and
                                     dancing
                                                and going swimming in rivers
                              on picnics
                                       in the middle of the summer
and just generally
                            ‘living it up’

Yes
   but then right in the middle of it
                                                    comes the smiling  
mortician

The world is a beautiful place to be born into'' by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, 
from A CONEY ISLAND OF THE MIND, copyright ©1955 by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. 
Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp. 

Obituary: See The Guardian.

Chinese poems

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Bai-Juyi

Po Chü-i was born at T’ai-yüan in Shansi. Most of his childhood was spent at Jung-yang in Honan. His father was a second-class Assistant Department Magistrate. He tells us that his family was poor and often in difficulties.  (772-846)

 

EATING BAMBOO-SHOOTS

My new Province is a land of bamboo-groves:

Their shoots in spring fill the valleys and hills.

The mountain woodman cuts an armful of them

And brings them down to sell at the early market.

Things are cheap in proportion as they are common;

For two farthings, I buy a whole bundle.

I put the shoots in a great earthen pot

And heat them up along with boiling rice.

The purple nodules broken,—like an old brocade;

The white skin opened,—like new pearls.

Now every day I eat them recklessly;

For a long time I have not touched meat.

All the time I was living at Lo-yang

They could not give me enough to suit my taste,

Now I can have as many shoots as I please;

For each breath of the south-wind makes a new bamboo!

 

THE PHILOSOPHERS

Lao-tzŭ

“Those who speak know nothing;
Those who know are silent.”
These words, as I am told,
Were spoken by Lao-tzŭ.
If we are to believe that Lao-tzŭ
Was himself one who knew,
How comes it that he wrote a book
Of five thousand words?

 

BEING VISITED BY A FRIEND DURING ILLNESS

I have been ill so long that I do not count the days;
At the southern window, evening—and again evening.
Sadly chirping in the grasses under my eaves
The winter sparrows morning and evening sing.
By an effort I rise and lean heavily on my bed;
Tottering I step towards the door of the courtyard.
By chance I meet a friend who is coming to see me;
Just as if I had gone specially to meet him.
They took my couch and placed it in the setting sun;
They spread my rug and I leaned on the balcony-pillar.
Tranquil talk was better than any medicine;
Gradually the feelings came back to my numbed heart.

This is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
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March 1st 2020 St David’s Day

Prelude to poem ‘March 1st, 2020, St David’s Day’

This poem was written last year, just before the World Pandemic 2020 exploded in the UK, during a time, when all we had to worry about was ‘differences of opinion’! That still remains, of course, and for me, my ongoing ‘fight’ is over ‘styles of gardening’ which impact on our environment and the wider picture.

For nearly a decade, I have come up against a regime, driven by an allotment Committee, whereby diversity and heritage is not celebrated but, indeed, has been virtually obliterated! Order and uniformity is enforced, with apple and pear trees cut down, bushes removed, glyphosate used to kill weeds, and generally a ‘scorched earth’ approach, the idea being that each plot-holder can ‘start afresh’, with a blank canvas…

I have my own triangle-shaped, half-plot, with two Morello cherry trees, apple, plum and pear trees and, my pride and joy, a beautiful Cydonia quince tree! I have a cultivated blackberry, red, black and white currant bushes, six blueberry bushes, and gooseberries too.

There is a small pond: new people are not allowed ponds now! I have frogs, an earthworm rich soil, a visiting fox, blackbirds, long-tailed tits, robins, great tits and the occasional pigeon! I can’t ever leave this piece of ground, as the Committee will cut down my trees! I am passionate about my style of gardening and know that increased diversity produces the greatest abundance.

My plot is an oasis amongst devastation. Those who have suffered badly from this regime have left. I’m holding out for as long as my health and strength can manage!

PS I’m looking for a toy-boy who likes gardening, romance would be nice, but, if they are of my way of thinking, I would like them to inherit my piece of paradise, to continue fighting for our beloved green spaces!

March 1st 2020, St David’s Day  by Ianthe

Sister- sun’s warm touch soothed my left shoulder,

Deep, comforting heat…a gift, now I’m older!

Served to remind me of jewels, still to unfold,

Bright, longer days, some relief from the cold…

And, yet, daffodils nodded their yellow ‘Hello’

Bees sought mauve crocus beneath branches below.

I beamed, as I walked on this rain-sodden earth

Revealing its bounty, declaring its worth.

Harvesting broccoli, rhubarb, leeks and sorrel

Caught Mr Blackbird scutter low, by the laurel.

Robin perched on a twig, stretched out his fine wing,

Long-tailed tits gathered, flitted, enjoying their sing,

On turning, to glance down amongst parsley and sage,

Was frogspawn clear-glistening behind the wire cage!

Couched down in the pond, Marsh Marigold mingled

It brought a flush to my face: my gloved-fingers fair tingled!

I smiled, as I heard the ‘wreckers’ break glass,

As this patch of land maintained its own Class,

Undisturbed, full of life, “Hell! … Just pure Heaven!”…

Counted spent summers here, at least ten years, plus seven!

All this planning and building, the soil and its treasure…

The hours of watching, listening, the joy and the pleasure,

Fruitful promise, sure harvest, delight and surprise,

Were all there…unfolding…in front of my eyes.

****************************************

 

 

CONTEMPLATIONS

Contemplations on no coming, no-going
This body is not me,
I am not limited by this body.

I am life without boundaries.
I have never been born,
and I have never died.

Look at the ocean and the sky filled with stars,
Manifestations from my wondrous true mind.
Since before time, I have been free.

Birth and death are only doors through which we pass,
sacred thresholds on our journey.
Birth and death are a game of hide-and-seek.

So laugh with me,
hold my hand,
let us say good-bye,
say good-bye, to meet again soon.

We meet today,
We will meet again tomorrow.
We will meet at the source every moment.
We meet each other in all forms of life.

Source: Living and Dying in Peace

MULTIPLE MORBIDITIES

Multiple morbidities:
the term they use to capture
all the ways that nature
fashions for us how to die:

The cancer didn’t get him,                                                                                           
but the diabetes did;
that unpredicted stroke;
the virus lying dormant;
and infection in the throat;

Or perhaps some unattributable malaise
accumulated down the years –
the persistent aching emptiness of love –
finally let him get away from all that was;

And the multiple morbidities
are offerings of flowers.

Angus was born in Glasgow, grew up in Galloway, and was educated in Edinburgh and Dundee. He has had a career in education which included 25 years as an international school teacher and administrator in Spain, China, Nepal, Indonesia and Zimbabwe
Since winning his school poetry prize in his youth, he has had an abiding interest in poetry and his poems have appeared in various publications.  He returned to Edinburgh in 2008 and spends his time writing, doing voluntary work, and addressing conferences, seminars and symposiums about the patient experience of cancer using his poetry as an aid to communication. He has recently published a collection of poems,Lights in the Constellation of the Crab and House Clearing by Moonlight, in aid of Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres.– See more at: https://bodhicharya.org/manyroads/four-poems-by-angus-ogilvy/#sthash.R7xcnKtC.dpuf

 

 

Times of Tribulation – April 1st – All Fools’ Day, 2020    

Photo Yeshe Dorje: Musselburgh Harbour

Spring’s stance hung, chilled; grim sky surged, grey,

‘Fool’ ventured down to the Prom that day

Took chosen, odd path, chanced route, least trod,

Vain trampling, awry, o’er matted green sod,

Clambered high bluff, breathless; traversed bleak tops,

Below, vast-spreading river…above, lean lonely copse,

‘Tis “Thirty-two days syn March began”,

Familiar, stark words for a Chaucer-fuelled fan?

More than a month, of sly, creeping terror,

Unrushed in response, sprayed droplets in error.

“We should have distanced ourselves, from the start!”

Instead, we are only just learning ‘our part’…

Frail Earth breathed still, strange, quiet, so unreal,

Beyond, “Mother Mountain”, her dark gifts conceal?

Warm zephyrs connecting ‘like souls’, to far lands,

Sending songs of condolence, ‘cross gasping, cracked sands.

Now, cocooned in our spaces, with birdsong for clocks,

We network with loved ones…receive food in a box!!!

‘Nil hugs’ and no kisses, no quests…for a while,

Clan connect, knowing glances, solo stranger’s scared smile,

Bright rainbow as symbol, for lives held in treasure

Propped-up ‘Teddies’ in windows, augmenting our pleasure,

Lark thought, that this April was “Surely no joke?”

Blind ‘Hope’ channeled daily, uniting, safe-calling-together, strayed folk.

Ianthe Pickles
Lives in Liverpool
Worked for 37 years as a full-time Primary and later Secondary/Special School teacher and college tutor.
“Writing (especially poetry) was often a release during emotional and turbulent times in the 1980s working in an area of severe deprivation and unemployment in Liverpool. 
When life gets out of control, writing can often help it make sense.”

THE WAY OF THESE TIMES

Photograph: Helen Brown

Reunion in a guest house in Kabul.

Four years later you give me an Afghan carpet.
Hand made in Herat.
Roll it out by the fern frost window and sip green tea
and tell me of your daughters
the Way These Times
have foiled their paths to school.
And now the year splutters through Buhare wood smoke
and you say it is Hopeless.
Even though the war is ‘won’ in the messianic
light of an embassy in Wazir
and I nod and remember children
playing shrapnel lines and see
the Way These Times
have honed your face and cracked a tooth,
and the shabby shalwar kameez
and the worlds that bring us together again,
in a guest house in Kabul, shift to silence.
We shake hands. I thank you for the carpet.
The steel gate divides your way back
to the Hazara district – and my way out.
‘See you again in a peaceful Afghanistan, inshallah.’
The chokidor stamps his feet and slides the bolt.
It is snowing.
Beyond the wall clouds obscure the mountains.
I wonder if my plane will leave
Tomorrow.

This poem was Long Listed for the National Poetry Competition 2020
“I worked in Romania, then qualified as a social worker and have worked in China, Outer Mongolia, Canada, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Nepal and briefly in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Papua New Guinea. That was with VSO, the French organisation Humanity and Inclusion, Relief International and the Red Cross.” 

 

Coronahaiku Sequence

 

 

wiping handles & surfaces

to protect myself

from myself

* * *

a pair of magpies

a pair of collared doves

in separate trees

* * *

empty city street

they walk hand in gloved hand

two young men

* * *

daffodils pulled up

by kids in the local park –

I rescue the strongest

* * *

 virtual singing session –

we’ll meet again

don’t know where, don’t know when

Maeve O’Sullivan’s poetry and haiku have been widely published, awarded, translated and anthologised. She is the author of four collections from Alba Publishing, the most recent of which is Elsewhere (2017). Maeve is a member of the British Haiku Society and performs with The Poetry Divas. (Twitter: @writefromwithin).

 

 

Camera Machete: Rwanda 2006

The church at Nyamata is now a Rwandan Genocide Memorial, commemorating the deaths of
the 50,000 people laid to rest in its grounds.
Tinder dry, the marram road uncoils,
clings to his skin, stains his hands red.
He walks through swarm dust clouds to Nyamata,
where a church lies flat, symmetrical, its geometry exact.
The brickwork still has holes in it.
Inside he watches stale blood weave its path
through walls and floorboards,
carve alter cloth to patchwork.
He feels the crypt’s hollow like an impostor.
Touches skulls, arms, feet, a single broken tooth.
Smells death close, but tempered, papered into crevices,
ingrained beneath a socket, a strand of hair,
tiny fingers divorced from a hand, like blades.
Twelve years on he has bought cows,
tilled the hillside into rows,
which crack to rivulets in the dry season,
plucked mangoes, oranges, ground coffee beans,
smoked bees from hives to make his honey.
He greets his neighbours ‘Amarkuru, nemeize’
we are all Rwandan.
Placid as Lake Kivu, before the rains come.
When they arrive, they take him by surprise.
A woman, white and blonde, a man with a beard,
glasses perched on a beaked nose,
a girl, about twenty, with a notebook.
They stake him out like an exhibit.
Swing cameras against the shelves of bones
and flattened by light, he raises his arms,
surrenders to them, head lowered, hands splayed wide.
I am Alphonse.
And one dry season, I went back,
to watch blood drain from red to brown,
the Interahamwe come, with cameras.
I lay in the marram road outside,
flat, face down, chewing dust,
grinding earth between my teeth like maize and waited
for photographs to colour into flesh, features,
curves, lines of cheeks and eyes and lips
and even names of all the dead,
in marshland, river beds and hollow crypts.
Giving me the faces I remembered.
This poem was Long Listed for the National Poetry Competition 2020
I worked in Romania, then qualified as a social worker and have worked in China, Outer Mongolia, Canada, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Nepal and briefly in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Papua New Guinea. That was with VSO, the French organisation Humanity and Inclusion, Relief International and the Red Cross. 

 

A Prayer Poem for You

 

 

SOUL BLOSSOM

A Life Enrichment Journal

In the sky of my soul, there is a blossoming…

APRIL 12, 2020

A PRAYER POEM FOR YOU

Hope is an heirloom passed down the generations of souls in morning / mourning. A treasure shared between those on the simultaneous shores of pain and paradise. Hope whispers a secret of how living things remain alive. Hope sings. Sings in notes tuned to the range of human despair and defiance. Hope is rope you swing over the canyon chasm of fear, swinging above the murky sediment of doubt settled at the bottom of the polluted river of pessimism. When you release your tears to flow down your cheeks, those tears are hope messengers on their way to your heart. They have something fresh and fragrant to deliver.

Hope is a resurrected Light. Behold as it reanimates what has surrendered to thoughts of doom. It is that impossible breeze through the wide window that puts to sleep the candle flame, then returns to bring the burning back to life. Hope is a reunion with the surreal peace ever inside your divine nature. It brings you to that palace, opens the door, hosts your visit, serves you nourishment, grants you a soft bed and fresh sheets for supernatural rest. Hope is a home. Hope is a dawn, a dusk, a turning. Hope lives in your yearning.

Hope speaks in the dialect of Promise. The stories it tells are of legends and mystical happenings that reason says could not have happened. Hope is not reasonable. Not seasonable. Hope is an everlasting atmosphere. Hope is untamed, incorrigible, feral, and free. Hope cannot be discouraged. It is a titanic waterfall that drowns your discouragement, sweeps you to the ocean where breeds of hopeful things migrate in the deep decadence of being. Hope bleeds. Its sanguine outflow expels from you the accumulated toxins from your lifetime. Hope expunges the long record of your personal harms. Hope is not a judge or jury but a trail guide pointing you toward the place of your reckoning. Hope places your duty in your hands and sets you off to shape that clay.

Hope purifies your persona. Weaves peace through your dense jungle of worries. Hope is a medicine wheel. It offers you the four directions, four teachers, four elements, and the ancestral assignment: Care for each other no matter what. Hope is dreamcatcher. It snares your skepticism, burns it in the blinding brightness of Grace. Hope delivers to you the sacred dreams that hold your valleys of tall grass, clear water, and circles of ceremony between living things.

Hope rises. It is lighter than your lightest ideas. Just when you believe Hope has died, Hope rises again. Even in the crevasses of your pain and loneliness, Hope rises. In your private self-disgust and disbelief in this life, Hope lives there, too. Lifting as a mist, spreading its gospel until that scripture becomes the entire sky. Hope burns your sacred plants. Hope is the plant, the flame, the burning, the smoke, the fragrance, the spirit, the clearing. Hope is a cathedral, glistening through the stained glass, vibrating in the bellows, reaching for the arches, polishing the wood for prayer.

Hope is in the silence you suffer and savor. Hope laces your laughter with a friend. Hope musters your courage to touch what in this world you feel dearly needs to change. Hope scatters fertile seeds in its wind. Hope’s long fingers plant in the soil. Hope is a water feeding the sprout. Hope is the sunlight to greet what breaks through from the crust of ground. Hope is what rises and fattens and blooms into fruit. Hope is in your biting, your eating, your robust renewal.

Hope is your awakening when you pause long enough, are hit hard enough, are awed deeply enough, lose enough, are emptied enough, rendered and shuddered to the bone. Hope opens your eyes. Dilates your heart. Suffuses your breath and body with the oxygen of determination.

Hope is the gift Grace offers you today. A flower that will not wilt. All that is Love is Loving you in this present breath. All that you are feeling is medicine for our great healing. And though you may feel that your ordered life has fallen, be comforted in this ascendant Truth: Hope is a Miracle. Already risen. In you.

I send you Love. May it reach you in the Holiness of your day.
Jaiya
 

Continue reading

Fear

                Eye by Mia Evans

 

Toronto Canada

Fear

What is fear?

Fear can be many different things

You may be worried of what comes in the future

Scared of something in the present 

Or haunted by something from your past

When you are faced with fear what do you do 

Do they Fight or flight

Do they Panic or cry

Fear might Traumatize you for the rest of your life

What is fear?

Fear is like being in the basement

Alone and in the dark

Fear is like going to bed

Knowing there’s someone in the window watching your every move

Fear is like having a stomach full of butterflies 

But those butterflies are stabbing your insides whenever you try to speak

Your head is just overflowing with pain and thoughts of terror

When I was seven

I flew to Italy with my family

Then I wandered off one day

Not knowing what to do I panicked and cried

Looking for the slightest bit of hope 

Hours past and eventually I found my family

What is fear?

Truth is you’ll never forget what the fear felt like

But those feelings and memories is what makes you Who you are

Without pain there is no relief 

Without anxiety there is no serenity

Without fear, there is no hope

But in the end fear is as common as needing

water to live

What is fear?

Fear, can be many, different things

 

Mia Evans is a 13 year old 
Toronto High School Student
Interested in art, music, math, writing, science and environmental issues. Mia also loves playing on her ice hockey team and aspires to one day be a doctor. 

Rhymes and Ramblings, March 1st 2020, St David’s Day

I felt the sun’s ‘warm touch’ on my left shoulder

Outside, whilst working…was a bonus now I’m older!

It served to remind me of jewels, still to unfold,

The longer days, the relief from the cold…

And, yet, daffodils nodded their yellow ‘Hello’

Mauve crocuses nestled beneath branches below.

I beamed, as I walked on this rain-sodden earth

Revealing its bounty, declaring its worth.

Harvesting leeks and rhubarb, and broccoli and sorrel

Stooping down, saw blackbird scutter round by the laurel.

Red robin perched above on a twig, stretched out his wing,

Long-tailed tits gathered and flitted, enjoying their sing,

On turning, to glance down amongst parsley and sage,

Saw frogspawn clear-glistening behind the wire cage,

And seeing the pond, Iris and Marsh Marigold mingled

Brought a flush to my face, my gloved-fingers fair tingled!

I smiled, as I heard the ‘wreckers’ break glass,

As this patch of land maintained its own Class,

Undisturbed, full of life, just pure Heaven…

Counted spent summers here, at least ten years, plus seven!

All this planning and building, the soil and its treasure…

The hours of watching and listening, the joys and the pleasure,

The fruitfulness and harvest, delight and surprise,

Were all there unfolding, in front of my eyes.

 

Silent Horror, April 9th Leading up to Easter 2020

Doorstep sitting,

Mint tea sipping,

D-I-Y-ers,

Buzzing wires,

Children playing,

Indoor staying,

Sunshine loving,

Bellflower budding,

Jack and Jill?

World stood still,

Neighbours chatting,

No dog patting,

Wise words saging,

Distance gauging,

Wary glances,

No advances,

Stray tunes,

Full moon’s

Energy rises,

Brewing crisis,

All bad news,

Much to lose…

Young child screams,

Delight, it seems!

Each day same,

Waiting game.

Another dies,

Baby cries.

Grandad gone,

Life?… must go on.

 

Times of Tribulation – April 1st – All Fools’ Day, 2020     

‘Fool’ ventured down to the Prom that day

Took chosen, odd path, chanced route, least trod,

Vain trampling, awry, o’er matted green sod,

Clambered high bluff, breathless; traversed bleak tops,

Below, vast-spreading river…above, lean lonely copse,

‘Tis “Thirty-two days syn March began”,

Familiar, stark words for a Chaucer-fuelled fan?

More than a month, of sly, creeping terror,

Unrushed in response, sprayed droplets in error.

“We should have distanced ourselves, from the start!”

Instead, we are only just learning ‘our part’…

Frail Earth breathed still, strange, quiet, so unreal,

Beyond, “Mother Mountain”, her dark gifts conceal?

Warm zephyrs connecting ‘like souls’, to far lands,

Sending songs of condolement, ‘cross gasping, cracked sands.

Now, cocooned in our spaces, with birdsong for clocks,

We network with loved ones…receive food in a box!!!

‘Nil hugs’ and no kisses, no quests…for a while,

Clan connect, knowing glances, solo stranger’s scared smile,

Bright rainbow as symbol, for lives held in treasure

Propped-up ‘Teddies’ in windows, augmenting our pleasure,

Lark thought, that this April was “Surely no joke?”

Blind ‘Hope’ channeled daily, uniting, safe-calling-together, strayed folk.

Ianthe Pickles
Lives in Liverpool
Worked for 37 years as a full-time Primary and later Secondary/Special School teacher and college tutor.
Writing (especially poetry) was often a release during emotional and turbulent times in the 1980s working in an area of severe deprivation and unemployment in Liverpool. 
When life gets out of control, writing can often help it make sense.

 

BETWEEN TWO UNKNOWNS by Ianthe

Slooped from the slow hiss,

Bombadee, bomp,

Slip, shine, whine and chuckle.

Tinkle, rattle, buzz and winkle,

Slurp, burp, fart and stomp,

With xylophone and whoopee whistle.

……………………………………..

Emerging, raging,

Question, riddle,

Dance and rhythm,

Snake and wriggle,

Dodge and mark, hark and fumble,

Into life’s loud world we rumble.

…………………………………..

Stamping, marching,

 Drums and cymbals,

Bangs and trumpets,

No eurhythmics,

Argle-bargle of hoddy-noddies

Callithumpian!

…………………………………………..

Thrown harem scarem to fuddy duddies,

We strive to

Make our own sound…

“Puddysticks!” A hootenanny!

Shouting, laughing, strutting,

Deedy!

……………………………………………

 

Exhilaration!

Orchestration!

Marvellous works and adoration

Years of strife and hours of duty,

A chance to see the grand finale,

Behold, the lollygag and woopie!

……………………………………………­­­­­

 

And all at once, arriving puzzled,

Stumbled, bent,

Exsanguinous, umbiferous and needy,

Dressed in fuscous coats… and seedy!

Bombilating and bumfuzzled,

 Rum-sozzled and stinky!

(This poem was inspired by a quote ‘The Word itself is a Musical Sound’)

 

Glossary

Eurhythmics……………….……………in harmonious proportion.

Argle-bargle……………………………………………meaningless chat

Hoddy-noddies…………………………….……….………..daft people

Calithumpian………………………………..……..……….noisy parade

Puddysticks….childish South African word, meaning ‘easy’.

Deedy………………..………………………..industrious or effective.

Lollygag……………………spending time in an aimless lazy way.

‘Woopie’………….………………………..……Well Off Older Person.

Exsanguinous……..………………………..….bloodless or anaemic

Umbiferous……….…………………………………….……………..shady

Fuscous…………….…………………….dark and sombre in colour

Bombilating……….…………………………………………………buzzing

Bumfuzzled…………..…………………………………………..confused

 

MORNING PRACTICE

Morning Practice
(for Dónal C.)

The leaves: I’m sweeping them but still they fall
upon the steps and all along the path –
I wonder if I’ll reach the boundary wall.

The storm last night increased my brush’s haul,
though for this rain they will say dhanyavaad,
I’m sweeping up the leaves and still they fall.

How fine to hear the dark blue song thrush call
while smaller birds enjoy their dusty bath –
they’re sure to reach and pass the boundary wall.

Sometimes I think I’ll never clear them all –
Like Milarepa fearing Marpa’s wrath –
so still I’m sweeping leaves and still they fall.

From here in Sikkim via West Bengal,
my pilgrimage goes on into Sarnath,
I plan to make it inside Deer Park’s wall.

I hope this spell in detail I’ll recall,
once I progress into its aftermath.
Meanwhile I’m sweeping leaves but still they fall,
I don’t know if I’ll reach the boundary wall.


Reprinted with the kind permission of Maeve O’Sullivan.
From
Elswhere p.85 Alba Publishing

Dubliner Mave O’Sullivan’s poetry and haiku have been widely published, anthologised and translated.
Her four collections are Elsewhere (2017); Initial Response, An A-Z of haiku moments (2011); Vocal Chords (2014); and Double Rainbow (2005) all available at Alba Publishing
Maeve is a winner of the Listowel Writers’ Week poetry competition for a single poem, and conducts haiku workshops with adults and children.
A lecturer in Media Studies, she lives in Dublin
Maeve’s new collection of poetry, Elsewhere is available from Alba Publishing

MEMORIES

 

               E. H. Shepard

MEMORIES
[LEST WE FORGET]

At night when all the house is still,
I sometimes take my favourite briar,
And one last pipe ere bedtime fill,
Then fall to dreaming by the fire.

The cosy room, the easy-chair
Are left a hundred leagues behind,
I’m with the old battalion where
The cobbled roads of Flanders wind.

And once again the heavy pack,
And once again the miles of mud,
The old precarious duck-board track,
The cold o’nights that chilled the blood.
.          .          .          .          .           .          .
It’s good to have a house and fire,
And bed to go to.  Midnight chimes;
I knock the ashes from by briar –
Millions of men muse thus at times.
W. D. COCKER
From Poems Scots and English 1932, (Brown, Son & Ferguson, Ltd. Glasgow)