Posts tagged ‘2015’

Monday, 14 October 2019

Life and Limb by Hannah Stephenson

This is a song for the body that crumbles,
that does not fear its own enfeebling.

In one life you had a great ass.
There are bones beneath it.

This is a song for the mostly-obedient
body. The shaking foot that lifts.

Children guard other children walking
to school. Oh, beautiful crossing guards,

this is a song for the orange vests flapping
against your small bodies, uninflated

life jackets, for the stop signs you hold up
like torches as you wade into the street.

This is a song for the body protected,
the body desired, the body melting away.


Date: 2015

By: Hannah Stephenson (19??- )

Monday, 7 October 2019

Security Light by David Mason

The glow outside our window is no fallen star.
It is futility itself. It is the fear of night
a neighbor burns with, nightmare of a stubborn child.

I dreamed of chasing crows in a dark of sea fog
and no wind, the chill smell of kelp and changing things,
knowing the sea’s edge and the sand met where the fish lived.

I saw the waters running out to meet the water
coming in, the small crabs lifted off their claws.
I saw the trysting place of cormorants, the cliffs

of guarded nests where eagles watched like sated kings
alive, alive at the moving sand clock of the sea
where all’s dissolved, where earth itself is taken down.


Date: 2015

By: David Mason (1954- )

Friday, 4 October 2019

The Other Immigrants by Saba Husain

As if the light from a zodiac      spilling onto rose floors
and a clock chiming      on a waltzing concourse
were not enough      how many

have stood      in the Whispering Gallery
and stuttered      into silence
when they heard words      from its walls

and were transported      to the childhood
counting to ten      playing under lemon trees
anticipating      more afternoons

roamed the red brick streets      forts
lush garden      Lahore      and held on
to its ditches and lanes

till they found themselves
standing under a dome
in Grand Central                  whispering.


Date: 2015

By: Saba Husain (19??- )

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Not One Thing Bright by Florence Chard Dacey

I hoard the gold
of poplars, silver bark of birch
till they brown in earth
and fade as we do
under the witness of trees.

My bulls and bears
trample and snarl at my need.
I’ll eat each slice
of moon’s shadowy bread.
Live on waves.
Dash on rocks.

Nothing keeps me safe
as colors found then squandered.
Not paper made to buy our separation.
Not one thing bright that cost a life.


Date: 2015

By: Florence Chard Dacey (19??- )

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Warchild by Yomi Sode

We clasp onto wishes for hope.
Wishes, that wet the dryness of our tongues
while our parents pile bricks and ruin against
the door from inside.

Sweat drops from my father’s face,
He smells as though time has run out.
We hear the music in their feet
the percussion in shell cases ringing concrete,
greeting our door like neighbours
for Sisi, who talks about London and France.
And, me.


Date: 2015

By: Yomi Sode (19??- )

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Home by Warsan Shire

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well

your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilet
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.

no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten
no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough

go home blacks
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off

or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child’s body
in pieces.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
be hunger
forget pride
your survival is more important

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
saying —
run away from me now
i dont know what i’ve become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here.


Date: 2015

By Warsan Shire (1988- )

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Flies Like Thoughts by Innokenty Annensky

Flies, like black thoughts, have not quit me all day …
                                                                   A. N. Apukhtin (1840–1893)

I’ve grown weary of sleeplessness, dreams.
Locks of hair hang over my eyes:
I would like, with the poison of rhymes,
to drug thoughts I cannot abide.

I would like to unravel these knots …
Or is the whole thing a mistake?
In late autumn the flies are such pests –
their cold wings so horribly sticky.

Fly-thoughts crawl about, as in dreams,
they cover the paper in black …
Oh, how dead, and how dreadful they seem …
Tear them up, burn them up – quick!

From: Chandler, Robert, Dralyuk, Boris and Mashinski, Irina (eds.), The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry, 2015, Penguin Random House UK: London, p. 122.

Date: 1904 (original in Russian); 2015 (translation in English)

By: Innokenty Annensky (1855-1909)

Translated by: Boris Dralyuk (19??- )

Friday, 16 August 2019

Journey by Patricia Bamurangirwa

Always journey, which always hard
Journey is hard for us
This journey has no mercy to anyone
Except those who are lucky.
Let me call this journey
Journey of struggle
This journey has no respect, no fear of us.
It does not mind if you are a scholar,
Rich, young, wise, beautiful, just hold your breath.
It will take you up and down.
Many times to reach the end of it, you need to be still.
Hoping and waiting, what tomorrow brings.
Say tomorrow and wait for tomorrow
Sometimes the more you try,
The more you are disappointed
Then you ask yourself.
Why me? Why me?
The journey seems cruel
Cruel and painful
Especially when the journey carries you faraway
Away from your people,
When you lose your loved one
When you think that no one cares about you
Some few people are lucky ones
So lucky because they
Have everything needed in the world
The four important things in life
Good health, happy family, love and money
True enough, this journey.
Is the journey of life?
Journey of life means journey of struggle.

From: Bamurangirwa, Patricia, Patriotism, 2015, Matador: Leicestershire, p. 78.

Date: 2015

By: Patricia Bamurangirwa (1949- )

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

When We Say Knuckle Down by Todd Ryan Boss

we mean there’s torque to be
doubled, the way the quarter-
horse re-couples her shoe-heavy

hooves, head down, and throws
herself forward, we mean
the load in the sled demands a

hard haul ahead, the hill to be
taken as a problem not of moment
but momentum, we mean

the chili will taste better once
the bitter bread of winter’s eaten,
slashing our faces sheet on sheet,

just as in summer we mean
it matters not how hot the sun
if there are chores to be done.

The knuckles have nothing
to do with it really, not the ones
around reins or handles, not

the ones we wring like rags over
figures evenings—no we don’t
mean those—we mean the knuckles

of our wills, those folding bones
in there somewhere where our
lives have hold of the land—

we mean that the whole body,
the whole mind, the whole
damned soul is a goddamned hand.


Date: 2015

By: Todd Ryan Boss (1968- )

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

On Transience by Gavrila Derzhavin

Time’s river in its rushing course
carries away all human things,
drowns in oblivion’s abyss
peoples and kingdoms and their kings.

And if the trumpet or the lyre
should rescue something, small or great,
eternity will gulp it down
and it will share the common fate.

(July 1816, written on a slate a few days or perhaps only hours before Derzhavin’s death)

From: Chandler, Robert; Dralyuk, Boris; and Mashinski, Irina (eds.), The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry, 2015, Penguin Random House UK: London, p. 28.

Date: 1816 (original in Russian); 2015 (translation in English)

By: Gavrila Derzhavin (1743-1816)

Translated by: Peter France (1935- )