Posts tagged ‘2015’

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Ariburnu Savasi, Turkey, 25 April 2015 by Judith Brooks

‘I do not order you to fight; I order you to die.’
Lieutenant Colonel Mustafa Kemal Bey

I could tell you
we were farmers and strong enough
yet our skin chafed like a newborn’s might
caught red and hot against new wool
smelling of camphor like home
but soon stinking of sand and dust
as we bent our backs in this wild place
to scrape some shelter from the wrath to come.
Then we waited.
Some of us knelt for the prophet’s words
others dreamt of lemons and tea
while they watched the half moon
cross slowly through the night.

A mile away on still water men
smarted from their last adventure
cramped hot and itching into boats,
legs aching in the heavy dark
loaded with a soldier’s kit.
They groaned at sailor’s jokes
or dreamt of action like a postcard
in their pocket waiting for words,
or a game plan folded neatly
by a steady hand to count the hours,
while the sea air cooled their mouths
until they shivered and their lips tasted of salt.

They were fast across the beach.
Deaf to the song of bullets
or cries from the shallows
moving from crevice to crevice
upwards, swift as family ferrets
through sharp gullies
they ran onto a high ridge and shook hands
and laughed at the splendour of it all,
with the sea clear and blue below
and the morning golden all around
and all things true at last
so when the enemy called their names
they felt like men at a fair
surrounded by admirers,
lifting their rifles to hit all the ducks in a row.

They would not speak of prisoners shot for timely gain
They would not speak of surrender, no, never again.

Let me tell you this.
Our Sergeant drew his bayonet.
This is the last order he said
gentle as if he were feeding lambs.
Cleaning his hands across his chest
he divided the ammunition
in silence without sigh or lamentation
for we were now ghosts in a haunting tale,
standing thin as pastel shadows
to fall quietly in the brown light
till the sergeant led us out, shoulder to shoulder,
so calm flowed man through man
and bayonets fixed before us
was all the meaning we needed.

They would not speak of prisoners shot for timely gain
They would not speak of surrender, no, never again.

They were so surprised at death
it passed by without comment
like a cartoon of itself
urging the captain’s bloody face
to wake from his dream unaided
and command away the scent of wild thyme
and the sharp piping of bees
as they lay in open ground
with snipers pecking at their skin
and the bodies of mates warm beside them.
When the colonel arrived he was breathless,
a hooked fish gaping, but they read his gesture
and bit their tongues, turning elbows up
to roll down through sharp gravel
and prickly gorse back to the beach
where they would hear the wounded
and bridle at the clamour and confusion of defeat.

They would not speak of prisoners shot for timely gain
They would not speak of surrender, no, never again.

Kemal Bey was wordless and sat
on the canvas seat prepared for him
as if he would never rise.
And his officers stood uncertain
as he stared out to the western sea.
Then he spoke: remember this day, he said.
Remember this day.
And they said Amen.

From: Brooks, Judith. “Ode for an anniversary 1914-2014; The last day Wilfred Owen 4 November 1918; Ariburnu Savasi, Turkey, 25 April 1915” in Arena Magazine, No. 138, Oct/Nov 2015, 2015, Fitzroy, Victoria, pp. 41-42.

Date: 2015

By: Judith Brooks (1945- )

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Journal of Dr. Beaurieux by Brooks Haxton

Witness to an execution by guillotine, June 28, 1905

After the blade dropped, and the eyelids twitched,
the spasms tugging at the lips went calm,
and when I called out to the head, “Languille!”
the eyelids lifted up, this time, I swear,
in a distinctly normal movement, slow,
as if awakening, or torn from thought.
With pupils focusing themselves, the eyes
looked sharp, not like a dying man’s, not vague,
and when the lids went shut, I called again,
“Languille!” and again, without a twitch,
they lifted, and the eyes looked into mine.

From: Haxton, Brooks, “Journal of Dr. Beaurieux” in VQR, Spring 2015, Volume 91, No. 2.

Date: 2015

By: Brooks Haxton (1950- )

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Naming the Star-Nosed Mole by Jean LeBlanc

We would have named ourselves
“astonishment,” could we have seen
our own faces, the first time one
burst up out of the earth, amidst
its little pile of trailings. Perhaps,
had we evolved looking downward
rather than up, we would have named
the sparkles in the night sky “moles,”
how they emerge from darkness,
sometimes dash across the sky
only to go under, or so it seems, again.
Instead, we named this singularity
for those distant fires. How wise of us,
we who do not do well at fathoming
the life beneath our feet, for all
our various underworlds. How good
to see this squirming, splay-faced,
wrinkled, raw, near-blind lump
peer up at us, and we think “star.”

From: LeBlanc, Jean, Skating in Concord, 2015, Anaphora Literary Press: Tucson, Arizona, p. 14.

Date: 2015

By: Jean LeBlanc (19??- )

Saturday, 17 March 2018

From Moyview by Michelle O’Sullivan

Shadows graze the small island
and the small heads of horses
bending into the grassy slope;
browns perforated by browns
and loose camouflage
of oystershell and stone.

Horse and shadow move
the way wind and lightfall
come together and spill apart;
these hills are solitary, ink-flushed:
the sky’s sheet ruddy with thumb-
prints of blood-orange and edelweiss.


Sun-flames crumble the laneway,
cinder grey ochres swift
and swarm and easily die out.

The river is stilled, careful to cast
no shadow; mooncalm and soundless
as underwater stone.


The stream is almost
hidden by wood; wind-tattered
pages of a book.

And in its sorrow
it sheds it tears.
Night is an old song.


The fire in Scurmore blows sideways.
Splintered by rain, fistfuls of blue
alight to lapse midair, unsodden
cloudbanks obscure the moon,
it’s star-hazed and damp as smoke.

The gentle herd of beasts
that were here an hour ago
has moved cautiously to the river’s bank.
I sense their quiet
beyond the fire that teems
and move to drink where they drink.


December fields skirl seeds,
pewter and glass kinds. Frost tips
the mountains cap and foot.

Days pass without a single trace
of blue; there are salmon dreaming
deep beneath the Moy.


Date: 2015

By: Michelle O’Sullivan (1972- )

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Some Faith by Barbara Ras

God we need rain. And white flowers.
Petals mimicking teeth and eggshells.
And don’t forget the christening gown.
Though lapsed I still respond to Holy Water,
all the fingers before me, all the fingers to come,
adding to a familial juice, whose trace on my forehead
foretells a boatload of trombones.
Doesn’t it startle you to walk into the kitchen
and find a cockroach belly-up, wonder how long
it took to roll onto its back or was it
one heroic flip, legs and antennae reaching skyward,
defying gravity, that evasive everywhere force
still shaking off our big-brain attempts to explain it,
while walking on our blue ball rotating at a 1000 mph,
but just walking on the ground
feels miraculous.
Once in a Moroccan market
I watched a man and his donkey deliver bread to a stall,
and after one round flat loaf fell
on the dusty cobblestones, he picked it up,
brushed it off, and kissed it.
I’d have eaten that bread, hugged the donkey,
danced with the kissing man, one hand in the air,
waving the way an olive branch waves in a slow wind,
the amber notes of oud music
vibrating in my heart.


Date: 2015

By: Barbara Ras (1949- )

Monday, 5 February 2018

The World, How by Martha Rhodes

The world, how greenesses
pop up. I’d forgotten. To be

found millions of years later,
mountains of bones ground down.

The tiniest with the largest.
You rise to the top

from the Great Rift
to meet me again.


Date: 2015

By: Martha Rhodes (1953- )

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The Lights by Miriam Nash

It’s getting dark again,
a closer dark
that’s harder to shake off,
and I think of the lightkeepers
in their granite towers,
oiling bolts, winding weights
in the nineteenth century dark—
scrubbing dishes, writing the log,
testing the bulbs
of the twentieth century light—
the final keeper
climbing down his ladder
in 1998, at the end of the last shift—
the automated switch, the microchip,

monitored in Edinburgh
where two centuries before,
one Thomas Smith
manufacturer of street lamps

sat with an oil flame
and a Scottish map—
I strike a match over dark reefs
where ships would crack,
the year unhooks its old black hat
to have a go at vanishing
the human world.


Date: 2015

By: Miriam Nash (1985- )

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Woman the Barricades by Rachel Warriner

And so you say this
Like it means something
Those dark made words
Our left side
Much regarded
Oh my
Left none of that in

But then this was ever
About our reasons
Not made night broken
There is melancholy
She says proudly
Left boot

Pointing and pouting
We mark back friendly
Misjudging bores and idiots
There is nothing here
I can not strike it
No matter
too late for me now
Sigh, wail, yawn bed

Your people not mine
There is no fallacy
Our win leant
Scored and scoured
Feigning reluctance
So curly
Our more marks made lively
Our turn and tour.


Date: 2015

By: Rachel Warriner (19??- )

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Neither Imitation nor Resemblance by Laura Elliott

Back to my mother, abandonment is not
a word to use lightly, but deterritorialisation
in the most affective sense of the term.

To calculate, we owe her three years.
This piece of information, when relaxed
into the orchid template, plateaus.

Not seeing one has become increasingly
more deliberately an act of avoidance
than I ever intended.


Date: 2015

By: Laura Elliott (19??- )

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Exactly the Opposite of What One Wants by Oton de Granson

Surely, Love, it is a fitting thing
That you exact a high price for your goods:
Lying awake in bed and fasting at table,
Laughing while crying and singing while lamenting,
Lowering the eyes when one ought to look,
Often changing color and expression,
Lamenting while sleeping and dreaming at the dance,
Exactly the opposite of what one wants.

Jealousy is the mother of the devil.
She wants to see and listen to everything,
Nor does anyone do anything so reasonable
That she doesn’t want to turn it into evil.
Love, that’s how we have to pay for your gifts,
And you often give out arbitrarily
Grief enough and very little pleasure,
Exactly the opposite of what one wants.

For a short time, the game is agreeable,
But it is much too hard to keep it up,
And though to ladies it is honorable,
It is too painful for their servants to bear.
One must constantly suffer and endure,
Languish in hope without any certainty,
And receive many a harsh misfortune,
Exactly the opposite of what one wants.


Date: 14th century (original in French); 2015 (translation in English)

By: Oton de Granson (13??-1397)

Translated by: Joan Grenier-Winther (19??- )