Posts tagged ‘2010’

Monday, 18 May 2020

Grace After the Meal by Debra Cash

With your permission, friends:

The seed corn of our sorrow
was allowed to germinate
bear tassels and kernels in its season;
the long harvest season stole our youth
and ground it into powder.

Let us accept this meal
in every cell strengthening.

Praise the table and praise the host
praise the merchant and praise the farmer

After that work we could not rest
for another meal was coming;

Our choices were death at the hands of familiar oppressors
or death in a wilderness of our own.

It is always too late
and as early as possible;

Build for us a home that is not slavery
even if it is not redemption.


Date: 2010

By: Debra Cash (19??- )

Monday, 6 April 2020

The Unnatural Apologie of Shadows by Nathalie Handal

We say lightning has no wings
when it slides down our houses

We say loss is just a condition
we acquire to bury our pity further

We say the bleeding hands
on the table filled with red wine
imported products and passports
are just reminders of
who we have become

We have no titles no birthright
no groves or Shakespeare
to return to

We apologize for the fear
growing out of our ribs

Apologize for the numbers
still etched on our tongues.


Date: 2010

By: Nathalie Handal (1969- )

Monday, 9 March 2020

To the Learned Gentleman Jacob Cats by Anna Roemers Visscher

When Phoebus yesterday had freed his weary steeds
From all the trappings of the race, and slowly eased
His head of burnished gold beneath the rim of sea,
Then I recalled I’d promised you some poetry.
I took my notebook, pen and ink, and duly put
My mind to writing. First the book kept falling shut.
The qull proved blunt, and when I tried to sharpen it,
The penknife slipped and gave my hand a painful cut.
The paper blotted through – the quality of ink
Was poor. I had no way to trim my candlewick,
No snuffers that would help me keep its low flame fed.
Death’s sister then appeared and dragged me off to bed.
And so, my learned friend, it was for my own good
That I should fail; for soon Dissatisfaction stood
Before me in a dream and showed me that my verse
Was crippled, limp and lame. Pale Envy made things worse:
‘You think you’re Homer!’ came her mocking sneer.
Black Slander followed, calling out for all to hear:
‘Your readers will be bored!’ At last Good Sense appeared
And said: ‘Just keep those lines you wrote well hid from view,
For then no one will envy, mock or slander you.’

From: van Gemert, Lia; Joldersma, Hermina; van Marion, Olga; van der Poel, Dieuwke; and Schenkeveld-van der Dussen, Riet (eds.), Women’s Writing from the Low Countries 1200-1875: A Bilingual Anthology, 2010, Amsterdam University Press: Amsterdam, p. 239.

Date: 1623 (original in Dutch); 2010 (translation in English)

By: Anna Roemers Visscher (1584-1652)

Translated by: Myra Heerspink Scholz (19??- )

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Chaos is the New Calm by Wyn Cooper

Chaos is the new calm
violence the new balm
to be spread on lips
unused to a kiss.

Left is the new right
as I brace for a fight
with a man who stands
on his remaining hand.

Fetid harbor harbor me
until someone is free
to drive me away
from what happened today.

Don’t strand me standing here.
If you leave, leave beer.


Date: 2010

By: Wyn Cooper (1957- )

Friday, 24 January 2020

Argo by Roland Leach

The Argo is rotting on Corinth Beach,
the timbers lifting like waves, rising like asps,
the heroes have departed,
the women abandoned.

It is time to take stock
of shifting loyalties and betrayals,
admit we have been fleeced.

The great have declared themselves deities,
dividing up the loot in daylight on the streets,
as if it is the will of the gods
and we may have once agreed,
acquiesced to the logic of the world,

but it is time to reassess,
find our own boat-builders perhaps
or dare to imagine
that we no longer need
great men on the prows.

The rotting plank is about to fall

From: Leach, Roland, “Argo” in Westerly, Volume 55:2, November 2010, p. 33.

Date: 2010

By: Roland Leach (1957- )

Monday, 6 January 2020

Following the Fires by Geoffrey Donald Page

Let’s not think about the dead,
the photos unreleased,

or what the constable or fireman
saw beneath a twist of iron.

Let’s think about the houses only,
that shouldn’t be so hard,

or maybe just a single house
collapsing into ash.

Let’s look into the special places,
the hardwood floor with cat in winter

following the sun,
the bedroom freshly done in yellow

waiting for the baby,
the well-scratched slab of kitchen oak

where children fifty years before
had struggled with their maths,

where once a new wife found herself
tilted back against it,

some dinner-party indiscretion,
the master bedroom with its secrets,

the picture windows full of forest
shifting in the wind.

An architect may have the plan
but it cannot be built again.

There’d be no sort of human wear,
the old bed angled roughly in

and rubbed along a wall,
the hairline crack in gyprock

that broke instead of bones,
following a late-night fracas

the neighbours must have heard
away up there beyond the creek,

half-hidden in the trees.
Consider, too, the bellied stove,

its late-night reds and yellows,
watched by two who still recall

a long, slow, soft-edged cabernet
one April night that changed their lives.

And, on a shelf, the photograph
dressed for World War Two

that no-one thought to copy.
Or send your gaze around the room

belonging to the son, aged four,
that private disarray of toys,

fled from in a minute,
not scattered through the years.

So let’s not think about the bodies
burned beyond their DNA,

beyond the shadow of their names.
Let’s think about the houses only,

or just a single home.
Consider what the pinewood, plaster,

housebricks and conceded glass
took with them through the flames.

From: Page, Geoff, “Following the Fires” in Meanjin, Vol. 69, No. 1, Autumn 2010, pp. 234-235.

Date: 2010

By: Geoffrey Donald Page ( 1940- )

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Two Gates by Denise Low

I look through glass and see a young woman
of twenty, washing dishes, and the window
turns into a painting. She is myself thirty years ago.
She holds the same blue bowls and brass teapot
I still own. I see her outline against lamplight;
she knows only her side of the pane. The porch
where I stand is empty. Sunlight fades. I hear
water run in the sink as she lowers her head,
blind to the future. She does not imagine I exist.

I step forward for a better look and she dissolves
into lumber and paint. A gate I passed through
to the next life loses shape. Once more I stand
squared into the present, among maple trees
and scissor-tailed birds, in a garden, almost
a mother to that faint, distant woman.


Date: 2010

By: Denise Low (1949- )

Friday, 27 December 2019

On the Thirteenth Day of Christmas My True Love Phoned Me Up . . . by Dave Calder

Well, I suppose I should be grateful, you’ve obviously gone
to a lot of trouble and expense – or maybe off your head.
Yes, I did like the birds – the small ones anyway were fun
if rather messy, but now the hens have roosted on my bed
and the rest are nested on the wardrobe. It’s hard to sleep
with all that cooing, let alone the cackling of the geese
whose eggs are everywhere, but mostly in a broken smelly heap
on the sofa. No, why should I mind? I can’t get any peace
anywhere – the lounge is full of drummers thumping tom-toms
and sprawling lords crashed out from manic leaping. The
kitchen is crammed with cows and milkmaids and smells of a million stink-bombs
and enough sour milk to last a year. The pipers? I’d forgotten them –
they were no trouble, I paid them and they went. But I can’t get rid
of these young ladies. They won’t stop dancing or turn the music down
and they’re always in the bathroom, squealing as they skid
across the flooded floor. No, I don’t need a plumber round,
it’s just the swans – where else can they swim? Poor things,
I think they’re going mad, like me. When I went to wash my
hands one ate the soap, another swallowed the gold rings.
And the pear tree died. Too dry. So thanks for nothing, love. Goodbye.

From: Calder, Dave, A Big Bunch of Poems, 2010, Other Publications, Liverpool, p. [unnumbered]

Date: 2010

By: Dave Calder (19??- )

Monday, 16 December 2019

The Lake of Memories by Howard Altmann

Voices sit
like broken chairs
in a room.

A room stands
for the ceremony
of impermanence.

Impermanence cracks
the façade
of self.

The self builds
its walls
of healing.

Healing frames
the house
of wounds.

Wounds bridge
darkness and light
over time.

Time winds through
the lake of memories
in frozen tongue.


Date: 2010

By: Howard Altmann (19??- )

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Lost by Stephen J. Dobyns

A cry was heard among the trees,
not a man’s, something deeper.
The forest extended up one side
the mountain and down the other.
None wanted to ask what had made
the cry. A bird, one wanted to say,
although he knew it wasn’t a bird.
The sun climbed to the mountaintop,
and slid back down the other side.
The black treetops against the sky
were like teeth on a saw. They waited
for it to come a second time. It’s lost,
one said. Each thought of being lost
and all the years that stretched behind.
Where had wrong turns been made?
Soon the cry came again. Closer now.


Date: 2010

By: Stephen J. Dobyns (1941- )