Mablethorpe – a poem by Stephen Kingsnorth

Mablethorpe

In village chapels I believed
preachers’ words could prompt the word
for those who chose to enter there;
sometimes silence did the same,
as hosts of messengers beyond.
Trained in craft, I’m taught,
discard unimportant stuff;
uncover sacred, unlade, then end.
One early homily I brought,
minor illustration, east coast,
grabbed from air, passing caught,
now, was it Mablethorpe?

The man, back pew, was stationed there,
(leaving handshake, told me so)
and there he stayed till closing hymn,
not hearing sermon which I preached.
Now did this god speak over me?
The question is (my answer ‘yes’),
can his Mablethorpe be redeemed?

His heavy pack and secret stash,
bewilderment at leaving home,
friendships lasted fifty years,
scared of seen to write to Mum,
first achievements, passed exam,
comrade’s funeral yet again,
rescued him from dire straits,
guilty darkness he alone,
supportive laughs among the din,
wet cold fear on his own,
overcoming toughest tests.
All real, reflecting with his god,
so pack and stash laid down at last.

 

Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales from Methodist Church ministry, has had pieces accepted by Nine Muses Poetry; Voices Poetry; Eunoia Review; Runcible Spoon; Ink Sweat and Tears; The Poetry Village; From the Edge; Gold Dust, The Seventh Quarry & Allegro Poetry Magazines. https://poetrykingsnorth.wordpress.com/

Talking to His Higher Self – a poem by Michal Mahgerefteh

Talking to His Higher Self

My son, your body is the Shrine of Spirit,
speak to it through an actor’s mask, both
as One beneath the Tree quenching knowledge,
attaining perfection as deeds of youth rising
and falling to a sigh, an image, a word, a kiss.

The Dark Earth, a pool of white stillness with
long caressing strokes, embodies the ego and
richness of separation from Divine Strength,
the likeness of new life in your mighty pulse;
pierce the Mortal Light, my son, leap among

the beauty of vowels, like walking in a field
of wheat, lure embryonic-seed of hope with
promises. Notice your Guardians in ceremonial
wraps glancing out the shadows, eyes like the
the first day of creation, reach to them, Live!

 

Michal Mahgerefteh is a poet and artist originally from Israel, living in Virginia since 1986. She is author of four poetry collections, managing editor of Mizmor Poetry Anthology, Anna Davidson Rosenberg Annual Poetry Award selecting editor, and The Poetry Society of Virginia student award judge.

Scrap Yarn Bag – a poem by Victoria Crawford

Scrap Yarn Bag

My bag of scrap yarn
crammed, seams unraveling
this year
leftover threads, short, long,
earth browns to rainbow variegations
a decade of project remains,
favorite colors, bright designs
of thoughts and fancies

Decades knitting, child learned—
thank you, Grandma!—
knit, purl, cable twist,
knit 2 together, yarn over,
pick up lost stitches to weave in
a sweater, a hat always waiting
for my do-it, do-it self

Tie one end to another, joining
old and new
untangle skeins gone awry
vigilance for snags and knots

Pattern joys in what-next dreams
yarn store colors, textures
nubby and fine
lacy christening robe
bathtub rug
dog bed square

John Muir said that if you
pull on a string, everything in the
universe is hitched to it.
Spider and his web, claimed Chief Seattle,
if you pull on the thread
everything is stuck to it.

My scrap bag—half a ball of wool,
baby yarn a soft marble,
tough acrylics, sliding cashmere—
if I pull on a loose end
what lies at the bag bottom?

 

American poet Victoria Crawford has lived in various Asian countries and now calls Thailand home. Her poems have appeared in Samsara, Time of Singing, Parousia, Braided Way, Heart of Flesh, and other journals.

The Purity of Water – a poem by Arlene Antoinette

The Purity of Water

He said I was in need of a baptism,
for there was something unholy
housed in me. I told him I was his,
do whatever you want with me, I said.
I had no questions. No hesitation for he
was a holy man and knew sin in all its
incarnations.
He walked me to the edge of the ocean;
me in white from neck to toe, him
in a long black robe with a thick white
collar, reminiscent of a puritan minister.
We stood still for a moment, as waves hit
our ankles with force, daring us to continue
our course.
It was a moment where time mimicked us.
I waited, my weak quivering heartbeat
keeping pace with the back and forth
of the tide. He took my hand and we
moved forward in silence. He stopped
suddenly then; the sea at his waist,
hungry and calling out for a sacrifice.
Closing my eyes, I waited for a sudden
backward dip; waited for the flow of water
over my entire body. Waited for the removal
of my sins, so that I could be brought into the light.
Seconds extended into minutes, but there was nothing.
No movement, no sensation of water flowing
over my head, no words of blessing by the minister.
I opened my eyes and he was gone, lost to the desires
of an unforgiving sea.

 

Arlene Antoinette is a poet of West Indian birth who grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from Brooklyn College and worked as an instructor with disabled individuals for many years. You may find additional work by Arlene atFoxglove Journal, Leaves of Ink, 50 Word Stories, Cagibi Journal, Spillwords Press, Bull & Cross, Okay Donkey, CafeLit, Poetry Pacific, Nightingale & Sparrow, Lost Pen Magazine, Scarlet Leaf Review, Back Patio Press, and Your Daily Poem.

 

This Breath – a poem by Thomas R. Smith

This Breath

This breath is
a silver road
my life follows
it has an end

It doesn’t belong to me
it’s borrowed
no one owns it
or ever will

This breath
had no voice
until it
found me

This time
this time only
it carries my sound
and no one else’s

You know an instrument
can only sing
when it’s picked up
by a musician

You who come after me
won’t know my name
still you’ll take
this breath and sing

 

Thomas R. Smith lives in Wisconsin, USA, and have seven published collections so far, and was included in Diamond Cutters, edited by Jay Ramsay and Andrew Harvey. He has also edited several books, most recently Airmail, the correspondence of Robert Bly and Tomas Tranströmer, published in the UK by Bloodaxe. Windy Day at Kabekona: New and Selected Prose Poems is was published in 2018. His first prose book, Poetry on the Side of Nature: Writing the Nature Poem as an Act of Survival, is forthcoming from Folded Word Press in 2020.

Dear Doves – a poem by Matt Pasca

 

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Matt Pasca is a poet, teacher and traveler who believes in art’s ability to foster discovery, empathy and justice. He has authored two poetry collections—A Thousand Doors (2011 Pushcart nominee) and Raven Wire (2017 Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist)—and serves as Assistant Poetry Editor of 2 Bridges Review. In his corner of New York, Matt curates Second Saturdays @Cyrus, a popular poetry series, and spreads his unwavering faith in critical thought and word magic to his Poetry, Mythology and Literature students at Bay Shore High School, where he has taught for 22 years and been named a New York State Teacher of Excellence. www.mattpasca.com

The Parasol Parable – a poem by Alan Toltzis

The Parasol Parable

Summer sun forgave nothing that noon.
A block away, Mercy noticed the woman saunter
down the hill. Pink parasol,
spinning on its axis.
Necessity. Not affectation.
Okay.
Not a parasol.
Umbrella really.
It would have to do.

Blue on blue kameez.
Green paisley cuffs. Shalwar,
no particular color. So versatile.
Could have gone with anything.

Mercy decided the woman looked decidedly
out of place among:
Rundown brick rowhomes.
……………“Repoint. At a minimum.”
Cracked cement sidewalk.
……………“Patch it. A girl could trip here.”
Crumbly blacktop.
……………“Unfilled potholes. Repave already.”

In daylight. Broad. Broiling.
She thought about seeing things
as they are.
And then about starlight.
That infinite spark on a cool summer night.
Darkness. Distance. Exaggerating
the smallest points.

“Truth. Like starlight,” Mercy similied,
“always leaks out. And everyone looks up.
Eventually.”
Mercy was all smiles,
satisfied to wait for the infinitesimal.

 

Alan Toltzis is the author of 49 Aspects of Human Emotionand The Last Commandment. A two-time Pushcart nominee, he has published in numerous print and online journals including Grey Sparrow, The Wax Paper, Hummingbird, IthacaLit, and Poetry NI. He serves as a Contributing Editor for The Saturday Poetry Series in As It Ought to Be Magazine and as an Editor for the Mizmor Poetry Anthology. Find him online at alantoltzis.com and follow him @ToltzisAlan.

Sweet Taste of Beauty – a poem by Marilyn Grant

Sweet Taste of Beauty

I step outside and
my eye catches
a beam of light filtering
through the tree branch
a red-breasted finch
looks back at me
for a second
before it remembers
to be alarmed and flies off

in that brief moment before
thought claims the experience
beauty stuns my mind and I am
wedded to the finch,
the tree, the sunlight
thought intrudes and
names the nameless, calling it beautiful
calling it tree, finch, sky
calling it mine, splitting the moment
into in here and out there
but the sweet taste of
beauty rejoicing lingers and
somewhere in the layers of
carefully catalogued experiences
a space opens where the light seeps in
so I can find my way again.

 

Marilyn Grant taught Creative Writing at Cerritos College, CA, where she was an adjunct professor of English, and journal writing workshops for Orange County Hospice nurses.  Roger Housden, a published author, was her teacher for a memoir writing course, and she is a member of Writers4Writers in Orange County, CA.  She recently joined a nationwide group of spiritual seekers called “We Awakening Circle.”

Master of Tides – a poem by Seth Jani

Master of Tides

This night, the monuments of grace
outweigh the monuments of desire.
They shine in the moonlight
like twisted trees.
They fill with birds,
and spread out over the horizon
a tapestry of song.
Your sorrow leaves you.
Your fear wilts into a flower.
Certainty pours its milk
over all the doubts
in the ten-thousand corners
of your heart.
The ghosts grow silent
and take on the bodies of stones.
They mark the landscape,
become a path.
It’s not your power
that makes this happen.
It’s not your cleverness,
your serenity or rage.
It’s just this: the light
filling the branches,
the moon sailing overhead.

 

Seth Jani lives in Seattle, WA and is the founder of Seven CirclePress (www.sevencirclepress.com). Their work has appeared in Chiron ReviewThe Comstock Review, Psaltery & Lyre and Pretty Owl Poetry, among others. Their full-length collection, Night Fable, was published by FutureCycle Press in 2018.  More about them and their work can be found at www.sethjani.com.

Never letting go (of religious programming), or Agnostic lament – a poem by Claire Sexton

Never letting go (of religious programming), or Agnostic lament

Despite my default atheism, I still find
myself stubbornly wanting to give into
the urge to spell the word Heaven
with an upper case H. To clasp my
hands in undulating prayer, at the
dinner table or just before I sleep. To
contemplate the afterlife and who I
might meet there. And to find the
company of other atheists dry, and
pontificating/mocking.

I wish that I could decide on an
answer to The question. The options.
But all I can say with any certainty is, I
rule nothing out.

 

Claire Sexton is a poet and writer who has lived in Wales, London, and Berkshire. She is a librarian by trade and suffers with long-term depression and anxiety. She has been published in Ink, Sweat and Tears, Foxglove Journal, Amaryllis, Amethyst Review, Allegro Poetry Magazine, and others.