Restless Sighs

 

Her sharp-brown eyes survey the scene

Choking ivy of emerald green

Though fallen leaves now wet –

Soon melting underground

Arguments to forget

Or grow a thicker skin

Against ones hard to win –

As pain of loss more profound

If she no longer around;

Her voice I’d miss, so I fix

To memory a mother’s eyes

Surveying scenes; cutting

Ivy of emerald green

Sweep away her restless sighs

Like leaves upon her drive.

 

 

© Helen Harrison

Picture 10952556, photograph by Michael Sinclair, 1995

 

 

Originally from the Wirral in England, born to Irish parents, Helen Harrison has been living in Ireland most of her adult life. She was awarded funding during 2014 from The Arts Council of Northern Ireland for a seven-day course studying poetry at The Poets House in Donegal. She has read poetry on The Creative Flow, Dundalk FM, and at various venues around Ireland. Many poems have appeared in journals and magazines. While a person who enjoys the rural life and growing flowers and herbs and foraging from the wild, she often gets the travel bug and writing is inspired by these journeys. Her first collection of poetry, The Last Fire, was published by Lapwing in 2015. Some of her poetry can be found at: http://poetry4on.blogspot.ie/

 

The Moving Road

 

Where water breaks and splashes perpetually over rocks

is where someone sitting watches the whole river move

downstream always toward the great unbroken promise

of water eddying lazily back on itself before heading on.

Soon he will let himself into it there and float like a wisp

of smoke suspended, his body loosen and the mind become

the river that it is; which all things are when divisions vanish

as everywhere everything moves. There is so much rest there,

and so much silence after the continuous argument of selves.

This is all he has come here to know. Soon, maybe, he will.

 

 

© Henry Lyman

Picture 10176232, unattributed photograph, 1960s

 

 

Henry Lyman’s work has appeared in The Dark Horse, The Nation, The New York Times, and other periodicals. The Elizabeth Press published two books of his translations from the Estonian poetry of Aleksis Rannit. He edited Robert Francis’s new and uncollected poems Late Fire, Late Snow and an anthology of New England poetry, After Frost. His first book-length collection, The Land Has Its Say, was published by Open Field Press in 2015. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

 

Azure

 

The harvest noon – the sun’s polished

disc above broad fields of yellow.

Half of the day’s work is done.

She falls asleep, curled by his side.

 

He stretches up, thinking of the bread

slices they’ll butter for children.

Tired by the richness of wheat, they rest,

two pieces in a puzzle of ancient wisdom.

 

Solemn among rolling waves of wheat ocean

she had picked the first stems, a fistful,

pleated into a figurine, placed high on the fence

overlooking the fields. She learned it

 

from her mother, her mother before her.

Mother before mother, back to that first

handful of grain, droplets of milk and honey

spilled in an offering to the Goddess.

 

After measured strides of the harvest

working in consort under the sky’s eye,

wide open in the expanse of the azure –

they breathe the earthy scent of the grain.

 

Noon rays dance on the dry straw

silenced by the blades of their sickles.

They moved together, they rest together –

blessed by the white gold of silence.

 

 

© Maja Trochimczyk, 2014, revised 2017

 Picture 10241912, The Siesta (after Millet) by Vincent van Gogh, 1890

 

 

Maja Trochimczyk, PhD, is a Polish American poet, music historian, photographer, and author of six books on music, most recently Frédéric Chopin: A Research and Information Guide (2015).  Her seven poetry volumes include two anthologies, Chopin with Cherries (2010) and Meditations on Divine Names (2011), as well as Rose Always, Miriam’s Iris, Into Light, and two prizewinning books based on Polish experiences of WW2: Slicing the Bread (2014) and The Rainy Bread (2016). A former Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga, she is the founder of Moonrise Press and Board Secretary of the Polish American Historical Association. Hundreds of her poems, articles and book chapters have appeared in English, Polish, and other languages. She has read papers at over 80 international conferences and received many awards from Polish, Canadian and American institutions, for example the American Council of Learned Societies, the Polish Ministry of Culture, PAHA, McGill University, and the University of Southern California.  trochimczyk.net

 

The Spade

 

You flitted

through frosty air,

landed on the handle,

watched me watch you.

Father’s spade,

still immersed in stony soil,

proud, unyielding to wind,

hail and flurries of snow.

 

The gap for his calloused fingers,

a wide grin, as if it remembered

those special times and secrets.

No one dared move it indoors,

to the dusty jumble of musty shed.

The handle smooth

as a fuchsia breeze in summer,

a baby’s cheek,

a mink thistle head,

gone to seed.

 

Like the dandelions.

Clocks blowing,

a tumble in the gentle wind,

tick, tock.

 

 

© Lorraine Carey

Picture 10145623, unattributed photograph, 1930s

 

 

Irish poet and artist Lorraine Carey has had work widely published in the following: Prole, Atrium, The Lake, The Blue Nib, Poethead, Marble Poetry, The Honest Ulsterman, Epoque Press, Sixteen, Live Encounters and Picaroon among others. A runner up in both the Trocaire/Poetry Ireland and The Blue Nib Chapbook Competition 2017, her artwork and photography have featured in Three Drops From A Cauldron, Dodging The Rain, Riggwelter Press, North West Words and Olentangy Review. Shortlisted in the 2018 Sixth Bangor Poetry Competition, she has contributed poetry to several anthologies and is an advocate for the promotion of mental health awareness, with two articles published on the website A Lust for Life, an award-winning Irish wellbeing movement. Two poems were also featured in Please Hear What I Am Not Saying, an anthology for mental health. Her debut collection, From Doll House Windows, is published by Revival Press.

 

Foundling

 

You were a miser’s child left on the doorstep in the brackish

air of midnight

made from fallen leaves and petals of an unopened rose.

Who fashioned your elven shoes, did I?

 

You were the child piped into life

by the man from Hamelin.

Plaintive notes of green

123456with waterfall,

123456a graceful air

you pursued

123456or were pursued by

123456all the way to the door in the rock

leaving you bereft, unstolen.

 

Whole years might pass searching for that place

meanwhile the words refuse their making

tea cloths hang over the stove and the tea grows colder.

 

Who fashioned your elven shoes, did I?

 

 

© Frances Spurrier

Picture 10635586, illustration by O Herrfurth, circa 1912

 

 

Frances Spurrier’s work has been widely published and anthologised, most recently in The Poet’s Quest for God (Eyewear, 2016). Publication credits for reviews, interviews and poetry include New English Review, Wales Arts Review, The Interpreter’s House, Tears in the Fence, Staple, South and Write out Loud. Her first poetry collection, The Pilgrim’s Trail, won the Cinnamon Press Collection Award and was published by them in 2014. She is currently working on a second collection. Her interests lie in the area of the connections between language, spirit and the environment. Frances blogs at https://volatilerune.blog

 

Lesson of Admiration

 

Clara’s heart has grown in one night

like a shield over the empty bird’s nest,

in the middle of a hot battlefield.

She’d had her hair cut very short –

the teary locks could not blight the grass.

‘Bad luck for the crops’ concluded father

one afternoon as he watched the news bulletin.

 

He switched the television off,

he measured the length of my eyelash

thinking ‘it stopped me understand the reality’.

 

He took the scissors out of the cupboard

and laughed at me.

Clara’s plaits fell on the living room carpet.

 

My hair stopped growing back after that.

It developed inside my lungs.

At night, I spat the growing particles out

and hid them under the floor boards.

 

On Thursdays, we peel potatoes,

kneeling in silence by the water pipes.

Father sits on a stool watching

my weekly lesson of admiration.

He checks the blood stains.

 

My bald head tilted above the sink looks at Clara.

 

My hair comes out of my mouth,

out of my chopped fingers,

floats in the air,

to cover her skull.

 

 

© Maria Stadnicka

Picture 10241462, unattributed photograph, 1933

 

 

Maria Stadnicka is a Romano-British writer and journalist based in Gloucestershire, UK. She is the winner of twelve National Romanian prizes for poetry and her work appears in International Times, Dissident Voice and in various journals and literary magazines in Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Romania, Moldova, Mexico, the USA and the UK. Her published poetry collections in English are A Short Story about War (Yew Tree Press, 2014), Exitus (Smallminded Books, 2017), Imperfect (Yew Tree Press, 2017) and The Unmoving (Broken Sleep Books, 2018). Her new collection Uranium Bullets is due for publication in 2019 at Cervena Barva Press, Massachusetts, USA. Further information about her work, projects and collaborations can be accessed on her website www.mariastadnicka.com

 

A Conga of Ballerinas

 

Thirty of them – Ava the second – girls

three to five years, in tutus paler than

boiled shrimps, shoulder-straps, flesh of their shoulders

baby-dimpled. I hear the long line tinkle

with nine-carat earrings, bracelets from Argos,

the row of lights down the church-hall catch gold.

 

What will their lives be in the century

that’s theirs now? My niece sent me this image

that predators would click on if they could:

repeat-flesh, flock of rosy flamingos –

is there a reserve of self-preservation

to keep bright faces still enthused and safe?

 

Linked in the Conga, they snake with the crowd,

and if these girls, novices, turned from flesh,

no longer pink confectionery on

the outside or the inside, the race would

end, wouldn’t it, no more heart-ache or babies?

Why does the line – Ava’s broad grin – seem sad?

 

 

© Dilys Wood

Picture 12016636, design by Tess Hines, 2018

 

 

Dilys Wood founded Second Light Network of Women Poets in 1994. Her collections are Women Come to a Death (Katabasis, 1997) and Antarctica (Greendale Press, 2008).  She has co-edited Second Light’s ARTEMISpoetry and the following anthologies of women’s poetry: Fanfare (2015), Her Wings of Glass (2014), Images of Women (Arrowhead Press, in association with Second Light, 2006), My Mother Threw Knives (Second Light Publications, 2006), Making Worlds (Headland with Second Light, 2003) and Parents (Enitharmon Press, 2000).  ARTEMISpoetry is a bi-annual poetry magazine in which all poetry, reviews and articles are by women solely concerned with women’s poetry.

 

Low Tide

 

Wading in Deptford creek

my heart sings

fresh mud, sturdy staff

a story under every stone

 

 

© Lucinda Moore

Picture 10408580, photograph by John Gay, 1960s

 

 

Lucinda Moore is a picture researcher at Mary Evans Picture Library, where she enjoys exploring the archive and writing about the hidden treasure that she uncovers. A graduate of classical archaeology and ancient history from Oxford University, Lucinda has more than a decade of archival research experience and is a regular contributor to another Mary Evans blog, Picturing the Great War. In her pre-baby days, Lucinda was a volunteer on low tide guided walks in Deptford Creek, and she was inspired by her love of wading in the creek to write this poem.

 

Scarborough Castle

 

Still ruling the roost:

12345678901234567890123guarding both bays

with the old town

12345678901234567890123in her skirts.

The keep’s looking

12345678901234567890123suitably weathered

and below the walls

12345678901234567890123the moat has morphed

from dark-age ditch

12345678901234567890123to children’s playground.

But you’re thinking

12345678901234567890123of a sentry-scanned horizon

and its breaching:

12345678901234567890123of a dragon’s head

spotting the beach,

12345678901234567890123then riding towards it

on the obedient surf:

12345678901234567890123the world-serpent

and whale road

12345678901234567890123negotiated — and them:

slicing through resistance

12345678901234567890123to enter an island’s

bloodstream.

12345678901234567890123Or some bone-cold

night in 400AD:

12345678901234567890123signal station lookouts

among the stars,

12345678901234567890123cursing and stamping,

longing for family

12345678901234567890123and olive groves.

Castle hill’s seen it all:

12345678901234567890123the bark of Norman masters;

the shamble of serfs,

12345678901234567890123where a town develops

like a print in a darkroom.

12345678901234567890123It’s three thousand years BC:

they’ll dig you up a few

12345678901234567890123millenia from now —

but today, you’re looking

12345678901234567890123over bronze-age bays and inland

as far as the eye can see —

12345678901234567890123which is why you’re up here, of course:

security comes with ocean

12345678901234567890123and cliffs wrapped around you.

 

Fast forward to 2012.

12345678901234567890123I’m on the Esplanade

under one of Hardy’s

12345678901234567890123full-starred heavens that winter sees;

looking down at the bay

12345678901234567890123and the spangled seafront —

a sixty-watt Las Vegas —

12345678901234567890123and then up at you,

suspended in black space,

12345678901234567890123like the limb of some great starship.

 

 

© Mike Di Placido

Picture 10099330, illustration by J Green, 1813

 

 

Mike Di Placido graduated in 2000 with an MA in Poetry from Huddersfield University. He has since published three poetry collections: Theatre of Dreams (Smith Doorstop, 2009); A Sixty Watt Las Vegas (Valley Press, 2013) and, most recently, Crow Flight across the Sun (Calder Valley Poetry, 2017) — a tribute to Ted Hughes. He has reviewed poetry for The North magazine and acted as the sole judge in both The Poetry Business’s World Cup Poetry Competition, 2010 and The Poetry Space Competition, 2017. His work has been translated into German and Romanian by the web magazine Poetrypf and has also been broadcast on British and European radio. Mike has appeared at numerous literary festivals and had work published in magazines such as The Rialto, The North, Pennine Platform and Poetry Saltzburg. He was shortlisted for The Bridport Prize in 2010. Current works in progress are a full poetry collection; a verse play centred on the malevolent dragon of Old Norse and Germanic myth; a verse memoir of his trial with Manchester United in 1970, and a literary and cultural history of his home town of Scarborough. He lives in the North Yorkshire village of Seamer with his wife and two daughters.

 

 

Base Hospital, Boulogne

 

When the doctor got started

on sphagnum moss, he couldn’t

be stopped. He spoke of old men,

 

women and children knee-deep

in Clara Bog, fighting off

midges, bending to hummocks

 

of red, pink, copper and green,

picking out twigs and leaves,

beetles, dragonflies, frogs,

 

packing it wet into burlap sacks,

lifting them onto donkey carts.

He pointed to mounds of dressings

 

wrapped in muslin, rest pillows

for splints and stumps. He said

there’d be many more buried,

 

were it not for the barrel-cells

that absorb sweat, soak up pus,

staunch pints of blood.

 

 

© Jane Clarke

Picture 10910279, unattributed photograph, 1917

 

 

Jane Clarke’s first collection, The River, was published by Bloodaxe Books in 2015 to both public and critical acclaim. She was awarded an Arts Council of Ireland Literary Bursary in 2017 for work on her second full-length collection and a sequence responding to a family archive in the Mary Evans Picture Library. In 2016 she won the Listowel Writers’ Week Poem of the Year Award, the Hennessy Literary Award for Poetry and The River was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Literary Award. She holds a BA in English & Philosophy from Trinity College, Dublin and an MPhil in Writing from the University of South Wales. Jane grew up on a farm in Roscommon and now lives in Glenmalure, Co. Wicklow. www.janeclarkepoetry.ie