Cathedral – a poem by Julie Sampson

Cathedral

All around this echo-chambered womb a rush
a beat………..the drone…… cathedral bees
the bells…… (Cull)
their toll……. this ebb and weft of words

We come to crouch in choir stalls,
this morning it is (lambing) lamentation time

the rite is drawing close

near …….we stop to bow our heads
Dies Irae……. Dona Eis

Writers making our votive scripts
we pause at candles’ inspiration

wait for the lost in absent sound
to call us

Dreaming through her emblem-well
St Sidwell in the crypt of archaic memory
swathes her scythe,
her sword is gold in the rubescent field.

 

Note: The last Foot and Mouth outbreak in Devon, in 2001, had a huge impact on the rural community, with repercussions that still resonate with many people. St Sidwell is associated with Devon. As martyr her severed head possessed the power of healing: flowers were said to bloom whenever a drop of blood was sprinkled on the earth where she died.

In recent years Julie Sampson‘s poetry has appeared in a variety of magazines, including Shearsman, Ink Sweat and Tears, The Journal, Amaryllis PoetryThe Algebra of Owls, Molly Bloom, The Poetry Shed, The Lake, Amethyst Review, Poetry Space and Pulsar. Shearsman published her edition of Mary Lady Chudleigh; Selected Poems, in 2009 and a full collection, Tessitura, in 2014. A non-fiction manuscript was short-listed for The Impress Prize, in 2015 and a pamphlet, It Was When It Was When It Was, was published by Dempsey and Windle, March 2018.

Phoenix Consumed – a poem by L.B. Stringfellow

Phoenix Consumed

I am the bird
who flew for years
under the sun,

until I took the sun
into my wings,
into my breast.
……………..It raged and heated
until I was raged and heated.

My wings lost their feathers
and I fell, fluttering
……………..spines of arms
from the sun.

I fell for a long time.

The sun was still in me,
but I could do nothing
……………..except cry and lift my arms
hopelessly for the sky.

The gods could not save me.

Flames flickered and crept, dragon-tongued,
their hungry presence overtaking my body.

Then, no body.

–Only my bird spirit
fused to flame.

We move through this space
as though our forms are us–
But I am here to tell you,
……………..we do not die,
we do not stop.

 

L.B. Stringfellow writes both verse and prose poetry, often exploring themes of transformation, woundedness, and interdependence in her poetry.  She grew up in the Southern US, has worked as a university instructor and as a professional tutor, and holds an MA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing.

Threads – a poem by Ali Grimshaw

Threads

I am
just one
frayed
wound tight
coarsely made
tested by force
twisted resiliency
bound to others
strained with weight
threatened by blades
mended from attention
unequally created companion
equally essential thread
of the human fabric
crafted with care
weakened by wear
the loss of one
compromises
the whole
tapestry
to tear.

 

Ali Grimshaw is the author of Flashlight Batteries, https://flashlightbatteries.blog/ a poetry blog for those struggling in darkness and tough times. Her poems have been published in Vita Brevis, Poetry Breakfast and Ghost City Review.

The Tale of Silence – a poem by Rabia Rana

The Tale of Silence

Before sunrise,
two thousand one hundred sixty days five hours ten seconds
before the despair,
starvation, and
r
a
p
e
,
before dreaming the wedding,
¬¬the friends and their dress,
feeling butterflies,
plaiting with her henna tattooed hands,
putting her long pure-white head dress on
headband trimmed with gold coins.
She raised her hands.
Touched the peacock figurine
on bended knees.
She turned her face towards the sun.
“Oh, Lord, You have the voice,
You have the heart.”
Before the darkest day.
After the apple.
After the fall.

 

Rabia Rana is a designer,  visual artist, and women’s rights activist. Her work has appeared in Glint Literary Magazine and Augusta Art Council. She holds MFA in Creative Writing in fiction from Queens University of Charlotte.

 

To Live By Mistakes and Perfumes – a poem by Anne Higgins

To Live By Mistakes and Perfumes

 

Sound of July crickets blends with
Trumpet, echo chamber,
Electric guitar, soft cymbals, clarinets,
harmony of the Fortunes singing
“Now just like you I sit and wonder why
You’ve got your troubles, I’ve got mine.
And it don’t seem so long ago….
That we were walking and we were talking
The way that lovers do…”
Parked in your father’s enormous Cadillac
In the moonlight
By the children’s playground on Nields Street.
Why did we love that song?

Today I notice that
My ghost smells like Shalimar,
honey and cinnamon, with a hint of gardenia,
a shade of wisteria,
disturbing the cold March air,
knife of aroma
where the spring peepers croak.

 

Anne Higgins teaches English at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg Maryland,  USA. She is a member of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.  She has had about 100 poems published in  a variety of small magazines. Five full-length books and three chapbooks of her poetry have been published: At the Year’s Elbow, Mellen Poetry Press  2000; Scattered Showers in a Clear Sky,  Plain View Press 2007; chapbooks: Pick It Up and Read, Finishing Line Press 2008, How the Hand Behaves, Finishing Line Press 2009, Digging for God,  Wipf and Stock 2010,  Vexed Questions, Aldrich Press 2013, Reconnaissance, Texture Press 2014, and Life List, Finishing Line Press 2016. Her poems have been featured several times on The Writer’s Almanac.

My yoga teacher said to turn our gaze inward – a poem by Jill Pearlman

My yoga teacher said to turn our gaze inward

Encased in my body’s frame
still, vigilant
is a large bird

feathers slick
unflinching eyes

I keep my breath smooth
not to startle it

scrutinizing with
deference.

Nothing moves, not a feather
on this good raptor

I avoid its magnificent
eyes

only the ripple of bluish light
on the glassy pond between us.

Jill Pearlman is a writer and poet based in Providence, RI. She has published in Salamander, Frequency Anthology, Soul-Lit, Crosswinds and others. She writes a blog about ecstasy, art and aesthetics in wartime at jillpearlman.com

IN THE BEGINNING – a poem by Catelyn May

In the Beginning

Let there be beasts
Says a sky voiced god

And from the wet ground rises
Heaving breasts thick with fur
Four-limbed bodies unfurling
Toward the hot sun upturned

From that same earth
Springs up feathered life
Arching skeletons free
Soaring bodies loose of chains

Let there be god
Says a beast-borne man

And the earth shakes in knowing
The coming birth pains of
Cracking open like an egg
To show a man himself

 

Catelyn May is a wife, mother, and full time healthcare worker living in the Southeastern United States. She spends her free time reading books and talking to people who also read books. Her short fiction has been published in various online journals and anthologies. This is her first work of poetry.

MILLENIUM TOWER – a poem by Mark J. Mitchell

MILLENIUM TOWER

The gods are back, companions. Right now they have just entered this life; but the words that revoke them, whispered underneath the words that reveal them, have also appeared that we might suffer together.”
—René Char

The gods of this city, at rest atop
their leaning tower, sip smooth designer
coffee. One says, “It’s time to put a stop
to worship of numbers. They refine their
calculations and forget about us.”
A goddess answers—drowned out by a bus
passing below. “Temples don’t get finished,”
says a stern, old god. “They forget to pray.”
“That bothers you?” winks a love god, playing
the fool, sliding to the street like a fish.

“Suburbs can be nice—they’re very quiet,
with wispy trees and green lawns of rolled sod.
Their hearths are screens. No talk. You should try it
for a bit.” This was the laziest of the gods.
“I eat prayers,” mouthed the stern one. I miss smoke
from offerings, ceremonies.” (when he spoke
clouds formed around the tower’s slanted top).
“We are all numbers and have always been,”
said the slyest god. “I desire days when
people are kind and their sad noises stop.

“When we made them,” offered the lost love god
just back from the cool street, “we taught them fire
and stone. Make things, we said. We thought the odds
were long, they wouldn’t last. Now we’re all tired
just watching them speed around cherished grids.”
That goddess said something but a truck hid
her sounds. They looked at their city and wished
for better creatures. Still, the stiff exhaust
was a kind of smoke, a new holocaust.
They breathed deep. Cracked the glass. Made a fresh myth.

 

Mark J. Mitchell’s novel, The Magic War appeared from Loose Leaves Publishing. He studied  at Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver and George Hitchcock. His work appeared in several anthologies and hundreds of periodicals. He lives with his wife, Joan Juster making his living pointing out pretty things in San Francisco. A meager online presence can be found at https://www.facebook.com/MarkJMitchellwriter/

 

Mea culpa – a poem by Antoni Ooto

Mea culpa

Patiently listening—
the days in necessary living
ebb and flow.

This little Catholic boy holds
all his sins tight;
his past digressions.

When there is joy all around,
I still wait,
mouth closed watching,

and keep praying;
maybe this joy is misplaced

and when it passes,
feeling right again—
I still… wait.

 

Antoni Ooto is a poet and flash fiction writer.  His works have been published in Nixes Mate Review, Pilcrow & Dagger, Red Eft Review, Ink Sweat & Tears, Young Ravens Literary Review, Front Porch Review, Amethyst Review, An Upstate of Mind and Palettes & Quills.

Iphigenia – a poem by Dawid Juraszek

Iphigenia

The sacrifices I’ve made
the offerings and the victims
have all been in her name

The wealth I create
by the hard work I do
………..exploiting air and water
………..stimulating demand
………..processing foodstuffs
………..utilising other life forms
………..moving money around
………..providing distractions
………..turning earth into fire
ensures I have the means
to be a good parent

She will surely appreciate
the shiny altar built for her
as she goes on alone

 

Dawid Juraszek is a bilingual author based in China. His fiction, non-fiction, and poetry have appeared in The Remembered Arts Journal, Amethyst Review, The Esthetic Apostle, Amaryllis, The Font, and elsewhere. https://amazon.com/author/dawidjuraszek