Tag Archives: poem

‘unfurling fronds’ translated into Chinese

unfurling fronds
my digital legacy
in the cloud

Gratitude! Originally included in Robert Epstein’s Beyond The Grave: Contemporary Afterlife Haiku, 2015, this haiku
has been translated into Chinese by Chen-ou Liu, 劉鎮歐 and included in Butterfly Dream!

Chinese Translation (Traditional)

展開的蕨葉
存儲在雲端平台中
我的數位遺產

Chinese Translation (Simplified)

展开的蕨叶
存储在云端平台中
我的数位遗产

 

‘Seferis’ Houses’

My longer poem Seferis’ Houses, republished in Little Eagle’s RE / VERSE, April 9, 2015. To read the poem, please click here

Little Eagle RE / VERSE

 

 

 

 

 

Artwork by Ralph Murre, after a photo by (or of?) Giorgos Seferis

Little Eagle Press presents poems previously published. Well worth another look, we think

Paying homage to Seferis, the poem directly refers to Seferis’ ‘Thrush’, a poem he wrote in 1946. You can read the poem on the Poetry Foundation site.

For information about Giorgos Seferis, see the Wikipedia entry.
You may also want to take a look at this longer, Princeton Uni. entry with photos, or at Edmund Keeley’s interview with Seferis in the Paris Review.

‘on home turf’ and other winter poems

on home turf

 

on home turf-
feeding watermelon seeds
to the hens

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“On Home Turf,” Haiga, in “A Baker’s Dozen,” issue 4, 15 December 2012
…..

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a fig is not a fig without your mouth
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a pyromaniac’s dream on top of the world

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In “Bones: Journal for Contemporary Haiku,” No 1, 15 December 2012

…..
at the bottom of the sea the bottom of the sea
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raining stars
how the begging tin
sounds
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in “Presence” #47, December 2012
…..
past her nails
a truth worth
holding on to

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in Notes From The Gean, #14, p. 28, December 2012
…..

shooting star –
a baby slithers out
of the womb

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frost bite
the winter bares its teeth
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In “A Blackbird Sings: a small stone anthology
edited by Fiona Robyn & Kaspalita Thompson, 2012

Happy Mindful Writing Day!

Here is my own  ‘smallstone’ of the day!

 

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..

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here is the now — 

this smalls stone I hold

in my hand

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This is the first ever Mindful Writing Day; it is organised by Kaspa & Fiona at their blog Writing Our Way Home.
Visit them to read what the other ‘stoners’ are writing, and better still, email them your own stone!


	

100 Thousand Poets for Change 2012

Today, 29 September 2012, is the day when 100 Thousand Poets for Change gather online, in person, and in print to celebrate poetry, art and music, and to promote social, environmental, and political change.

If you happen to be in Munich today, drop by the Munich Readery, the largest and friendliest secondhand bookstore in Germany. They will be hosting an evening of readings and performances from 19:00 – 22:00.

In observance of today’s 100 Thousand Poets for Change, I offer the following  prose poem: The Beach at Blakeney Point, first published in the North London Writers and Poets Anthology Gathering Diamonds from the Well, 2007.

The Beach at Blakeney Point

Hard as I try, I can’t recall the beach at Blakeney Point. Images blend and memories merge – this beach with that at Holkham, with Morston, Burnham Overy and Brancaster Staith.

I only see an expanse in my mental map, the horizon shimmer, Old Lifeboat House looking stern from afar. The salt marsh carpet, creeks, dunes and samphire. Now it is summer. Blue above and below, and the sharp pinpricks of the flying sand. Now it is winter. The saltings dim grey and dirty brown, freezing crystals on the scrub.

Hard as I try. My first walk to the Point fromCleyBeach. Before I knew about tide tables, I set off walking the deep shingle spit, bruising calves and blackening nails. I did reach the end, the sea and the tern’s nests. The feeling of space and the sense of infinity. The tide withdrew to sea while I rested, leaving casts of lugworms, deserts of sand behind. Buccinum and Hydrobia shells. Leaving the bottom of the sea to me. Its cruelty.

A baby seal washed up dead, lying in pools of water, alongside sparkling stones and Flustra fronds the colour of hope. Why, where is the…, what can I…? Too late. It was, I was, too late. I walked back barefoot, the seal receding with each step, ebbing away. The boom of the sea and the spray. The wind sculpted sounds, I licked salt off my lips.

Hard as I try. Sea holly, sandwort and sand sedge cling to shifting dunes. I can’t remember the beach at Blakeney Point. Only that seal, that wind, and my impotence.

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76/100 Days of Summer

For Blakeny Point, see here

The Beach at Blakeney Point, in Gathering Diamonds from the Well, ed. Brian Docherty, Laurence Scott, and Katie Willis (London: New Gallery Books 2007)

Happy World Poetry Day!

Every year on the 21st of March UNESCO  celebrates World Poetry Day. A decision to proclaim 21 March as World Poetry Day was adopted during the UNESCO’s 30th session held in Paris in 1999.

For UNESCO, “the main objective of this action is to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities. Moreover, this Day is meant to support poetry, return to the oral tradition of poetry recitals, promote teaching poetry, restore a dialogue between poetry and the other arts such as theatre, dance, music, painting and so on, support small publishers and create an attractive image of poetry in the media so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art…” Link here

So, Happy World Poetry Day everyone!

Dragonfly Dreams in Red Dragonfly

All  you ever wanted to know about dragonflies … in haiku…in Melissa Allen’s blog Red Dragonfly.

It is a dream of a post with amazing poems, images/artwork. (Don’t miss the video of the dying dragonfly.) The links to the poets and their sites/work is an extra bonus, and I know it is much appreciated.

So, go over there and read! (Delighted that two of my own haiku are included! Thank you, Melissa!)

 

recently

  1. Delighted to have three of my haiku included in Melissa Allen’s mushroom collection, on her site Red Dragonfly. Hers is a wonderful post with photographs, drawings, haiga and of course, lots of great poetry. Here is the address

 

  1. The Language/Place collection, issue #8 is out. Put together by Walter Bjorkman it  is a delight to read. Contributions from around the world!  My post Haiku from Lake Ammersee is included along with photographs, poetry, all different kinds of meditation on the spirit and the poetry of place. Visit and see! wbjorkman.wordpress.com

City Breath: A Breath of Fresh Air

I just watched a short youtube video trailer of a fantastic video poetry project, City Breath, bringing the poetry and art of South African cities to life! The link to this trailer is here

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I was sent the following information about the City Breath project:

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“Through their common city theme, these short video ‘gasps’ or ‘breaths’ of South African cities give voice to the private dreams and nightmares of local poets, dancers, performance artists and filmmakers. They interrogate, with or against rational logic, the way South Africans understand their cities and urban life. Rebellious in their nature, under 4 minutes each, the films represent a genre seldom seen in South African film and television.

“Inspiring, sometimes beautiful, sometimes challenging, and over-all very impressive.” (Trevor Steele-Taylor, Director of the National Arts Festival Film Programme)

The City Breath video poetry project was shown in several cities round the world – Johannesburg being the most recent, after Berlin, London, Cape Town, and Vancouver. Curator Kai Lossgott is looking for more venues and festivals around the world interested in showing the project. She can be contacted directly at info@kailossgott.com

Apart from selecting existing works, the CITY BREATH project has initiated and developed new collaborations in the areas of the video poem, screen dance and experimental film.”

For more information and a fab blog see http://www.citybreathproject.blogspot.com

I was impressed and inspired!

I happen to know the work of one of the poets quite well: the immensely talented Tanya van Schalkwyk’s work, fusing imagination with sensitive observation and dynamic expression.

But watching the trailer (a few times!) made me want to see the whole thing!

Tania’s contribution to the video project is her poem “The Electrician”  included in her book Hyphen. It can be seen here

Festival of the Trees

Olive
Olive

The Festival of the Trees is “a periodical collection of links to blog posts and other online sites, hosted each month on a different blog.” Bloggers, poets, writers with an interest in arboreal matters post related material on their own blogs and submit the links to the host of each month’s co-coordinator. This month’s host was Arati, of the Bangalore-based blog Trees, Plants and More.

My own contribution to this month’s Festival of the Trees, I wrote some time ago. In “If Trees, then Olive Trees,” I use the olive tree, a precious, almost sacred tree in the Mediterranean, western Asia, and northern Africa countries; a symbol of peace and hope, connecting to the “olive branch,” and the sighting of land after the biblical flood.

Short, gnarled and twisted, the olive tree even looks appropriately old. It is said to live for hundreds of years, as its roots are capable of regeneration even if the trunk above ground is destroyed. Radiocarbon dating has confirmed 2000 year old trees in several countries! A tree known to be situated in the grounds of Plato’s Academy, in Athens, lived till the 1970s. An olive believed to have been planted by Peisistratus, the tyrant of Athens in the 6th century BC, is still to be found in Athens. Even older trees have been found in Israel and Arab lands, dating from 3000 and 4000 years ago. The trees of the Garden of Gethsemane are said to be dating from the time of Jesus.

In literature too, we know of several millenary trees: Homer featured olive trees in his poetry. Remember Odysseus bed?

My own poem is about putting down roots, both literally and metaphorically. You can read it here.

My novel “Alexandrias 40: In the Shade of the Lemon Tree” is also set around a tree, and it includes a number of surprising uses for its fruit. Not long now till the book is out. Watch this space.

For instructions on how to submit to the next Festival of Trees here.

 

Seferis’ Houses

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Seferis’ Houses

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The houses he had owned

they took away from him..

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Seferis carried his home

on his back like a tortoise.

Iron beds in empty hotel rooms

rang through his lines,

and the sounds of loneliness–

the silent screams of souls

left to themselves

in the dark.

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The houses he had owned they

took away from him.

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He used his poetry,

he strung words from the stars

stared at them from afar.

Flowers of Agapanthus

he nailed on his lines,

and crickets, beating time

for the machine.

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Only briefly did he go back to Smyrni.

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For he knew. Seferis knew. He knew

you have to talk to the dead.

Hades is full of whispers–

the house is always watching.

And waiting.

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A version of this poem appeared in the “Word for Word” anthology Gathering Diamonds from the Well, London: New Gallery Books, 2007.

George Seferis (1900-1971), Greek poet, originally from Smyrni (now Izmir) in western Turkey, winner of the Nobel Prize for literature 1963.

20 October 2010

Ithaca

The poet Constantine P. Cavafy, or Konstantinos Petrou Kavafis, one of my favorite poets, wrote the following about his origins:

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I am from Constantinople by descent, but I was born in Alexandria—at a house on Seriph Street; I left very young, and spent much of my childhood in England. Subsequently I visited this country as an adult, but for a short period of time. I have also lived in France. During my adolescence I lived over two years in Constantinople. It has been many years since I last visited Greece. My last employment was as a clerk at a government office under the Ministry of Public Works of Egypt.

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I have pasted his poem Ithaca below – he knew what he was talking about. For more of his poetry and resources on the web, see the Cavafy Archive

The poem, quotation, and Wikipedia url can be found here

Ithaca

English Translation

When you set sail for Ithaca,
wish for the road to be long,
full of adventures, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
an angry Poseidon — do not fear.
You will never find such on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, and your spirit
and body are touched by a fine emotion.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
a savage Poseidon you will not encounter,
if you do not carry them within your spirit,
if your spirit does not place them before you.

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Wish for the road to be long.
Many the summer mornings to be which with
pleasure, with joy
you will enter ports seen for the first time;
stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase the fine goods,
nacre and coral, amber and ebony,
and exquisite perfumes of all sorts,
the most delicate fragances you can find,
to many Egyptian cities you must go,
to learn and learn from the cultivated.

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Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
To arrive there is your final destination.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better for it to last many years,
and when old to rest in the island,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaca to offer you wealth.

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Ithaca has given you the beautiful journey.
Without her you would not have set out on the road.
Nothing more has she got to give you.

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And if you find her threadbare, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.

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For more of his work see the Cavafy Archive and here

They send light to Earth

Murnau Moor
Murnau Moor

I am delighted and  honored! My micro-poem They send light to Earth was chosen to be the first piece to be published by new e-zine @textofiction.

Brand new, “Textofiction is an online literary publication dedicated to bringing the best writing in under 140 characters.”

Read my micro-poem and think, it packs a lot in. Better still, let me know your thoughts about it! Read it here

Date of publication: 29 August 2010


One Sound, One World

Handmade Football 1

Photo credit: Jessica Hilltout

I wrote this poem during the 2010 World Cup, when everyone was talking about vuvuzelas. It appeared in escarp: ” a text-message-based review of super-brief literature,” 17 June 2010.
xxxxx

Big, tough fella

loud, racy lass

timid Cinderella

prodigy, alas

blow your vuvuzela

if you must.

See also my post: Whatever you think about football