Archive for ‘General’

Friday, 14 December 2018

The Story of Light by Peggy Shumaker

Think of the woman who first touched fire
to a hollow stone filled with seal oil,
how she fiddled with fuel and flame
until blue shadows before and after her
filled her house, crowded
the underground, then
fled like sky-captains
chasing the aurora’s whale tale
green beyond the earth’s curve.
Her tenth summer, the elders let her
raise her issum, seal pup orphaned
when hunters brought in her mother,
their grins of plenty
broad, red. The women
slit the hard belly.
Plopped among the ruby innards
steaming on rough-cut planks
blinked a new sea-child
whose first sound
came out a question
in the old language, a question
that in one throaty bark
asked who, meaning What family
is this? What comfort
do you provide for guests?
Do you let strangers remain
strangers? The women rinsed the slick pup
in cool water, crafted a pouch
for her to suck. Then the young girl
whose hands held light
even when the room did not
brought this new being
beside her bed, let it scatter
babiche and split birch
gathered for snowshoes, let it
nose the caribou neck hairs
bearding her dance fans. They
held up the fans to their foreheads,
playing white hair, playing old.
In the time when women do not sew
the seal danced at her first potlatch.
And when the lamps burned down,
no one could see
any difference between waves
in rock, waves in sea.
The pup lifted her nose, licked
salt from seven stars, and slipped
light back among silvers and chum
light among the ghostly belugas
swimming far north to offer themselves.


Date: 2002

By: Peggy Shumaker (19??- )

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Searching for Light by Yao Feng (Yao Jingming)

The light retires to the lamp
and suddenly all is dark again
who out there has caught the night-moth
and instructs it in shadow?

After countless drills
the torn-winged moth
no longer knows how to fly
and trails through the twilight
crawling snail-slow
toward the light.


Date: 2018

By: Yao Feng (Yao Jingming) (1958- )

Translated by: Julia Sanches (19??- )

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Beginnings by Janet Kofi-Tsekpo

When we were hungry
we tore the waves
and pulled out fish, enough to feed a family
of seals. The raw flesh
excited us. We hunted for more on land,
rabbits and voles,
ripped goats’ heads from bristling necks.
We watched the birds
and navigated the air with wood and bone.
At times, we wore
the skins of beasts.


Date: 2011

By: Janet Kofi-Tsekpo (19??- )

Sunday, 25 November 2018

If I’m Early by Hugo (Hugh Anthony Mordaunt Vyner) Williams

Every other day I follow the route
of the Midland Railway
to where it cuts through
St. Pancras Old Church Cemetery.
I might go into the church
and heave a sigh or two
before continuing via a gate
set in the cemetery wall
to the Mary Rankin Wing
of St. Pancras Hospital.

As a young man, Thomas Hardy
supervised the removal of bodies
from part of the cemetery
to make way for the trains.
He placed the headstones
round an ash tree sapling,
now grown tall, where I stop sometimes
to look at the stones
crowding around the old tree
like children listening to a story.


Date: 2014

By: Hugo (Hugh Anthony Mordaunt Vyner) Williams (1942- )

Friday, 23 November 2018

NON-commitment by Chinua Achebe

Hurrah! to them who do nothing
see nothing feel nothing whose
hearts are fitted with prudence
like a diaphragm across
womb’s beckoning doorway to bar
the scandal of seminal rage. I’m
told the owl too wears wisdom
in a ring of defense round
each vulnerable eye securing it fast
against the darts of sight. Long ago
in the Middle East Pontius Pilate
openly washed involvement off his
white hands and became famous. (Of all
the Roman officials before him and after
who else is talked about
every Sunday in the Apostles’ Creed?) And
talking of apostles that other fellow
Judas wasn’t such a fool
either; though much maligned by
succeeding generations the fact remains
he alone in that motley crowd
had sense enough to tell a doomed
movement when he saw one
and get out quick, a nice little
packet bulging his coat pocket
into the bargain—sensible fellow.

September 1970


Date: 1970

By: Chinua Achebe (1930- )

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Humor by Virginia Woodward Cloud

He who seeks to know me well
Looks not for the cap or bell;
He who seeks to know me better
Learns me not by line or letter;
He who holds my wings in thrall
Never looked for me at all.

From: Cloud, Virginia Woodward, A Reed By the River, 1902, Richard G. Badger, The Gorham Press: Boston, p. 24.

Date: 1902

By: Virginia Woodward Cloud (1861-1938)

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Willoughby, Ohio by Burt Beckmann

Hot months hang on the horizon drying.
Old moons in a wastebasket lie like eggs,
Their yolks sucked.

The fence (split phone poles) oozes tar by ten.
By noon the birds are stuck.
Mom keeps the cats in the kitchens for the sake
Of the wrens.

The moving is finished by one.
In the red shed with the rototiller
Are our garden shears. Peanut butter
Is what I like for lunch.

Every day at two the birds get clipped.
You can tell our fence by the legs on it.

From: Hiram Poetry Review, Issue No. 77, Spring 2016, p. 8.

Date: 2016

By: Burt Beckmann (19??- )

Monday, 5 November 2018

Scarecrow on Fire by Dean Young

Everything is brushed away, off the sleeve,
off the overcoat, huge ensembles of assertions
just jars of buttons spilled, recurring
nightmare of straw on fire, you the scarecrow,
the scare, the crow, totems gone, rubies
flawed, flamingo in hyena’s jaws, noble
and lascivious mouth of the gods hovering
then gone, gone the glances, gone moths,
cities of crystal become cities of mud,
centurion and emperor dust, the flower girl,
some of it rises, proof? some of it explodes,
vein in the brain, seed pod poof, maybe
something will grow, another predicament
of bittersweet, dreamfluff milkweed,
declarations of aerosols, vows just sprays
of spit fast evaporate, all of it pulverized
as it hits the seawall, all of it falling snow
on water, flash of flying fish, breach and blow
and sinking, far below creatures of luminous jelly
constellated and darting and baiting each other
like last thoughts before sleep, last neural
sparks coalescing as a face in the dark,
who was she? never enough time to know.


Date: 2016

By: Dean Young (1955- )

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Night by Andrea Cohen

Someone was talking
quietly of lanterns—

but loud enough
to light my way.


Date: 2016

By: Andrea Cohen (19??- )

Friday, 2 November 2018

Return by Anya Krugovoy Silver

When he returned home after many years,
an enormous oak had split his house in two,
its trunk growing right through the center hall.
Though there was nobody living in the tilting
rooms, he recognized some simple objects:
a milk jug once filled with daisies, a single shoe.
Where a mirror had hung, a darkened oval
remained on the wall. No bark, no call, no singing.
But though he didn’t understand what he saw,
he knew the tree, broad and green, was a blessing.


Date: 2017

By: Anya Krugovoy Silver (1968-2018)