Categories
Poetry

The Other Side of Summer

By Marianne Tefft

Courtesy: Creative Commons
THE OTHER SIDE OF SUMMER

In the eerie stillness of Labour Day
Where summer never ends
Razed palms cast no shade
Their stalks raise iguanas 
Above the dust-bronze earth
No tropical evening breeze
To cool sunburned shoulders

You load your shore-bound car 
With sand toys and beach blankets 
For summer’s last hurrah
I load mine with saltines sardines
And another case of water
To shove into the pantry beside towels
I pray I will not need to keep the ocean out

You rise with first light
As dawn breeze inflates the sheers
I look to the east but cannot detect sunrise
Beyond the corrugated shutters
Between me and barometric Armageddon
That obliges us to stare unblinking 
Into the eye of every storm

Marianne Tefft is a poet, lyricist, Montessori teacher and voiceover reader in Sint Maarten. Her debut poetry collection is FULL MOON FIRE: Spoken Songs of Love (2022). 

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Categories
Poetry

Poetry by Sunil Sharma

Courtesy: Creative Commons
IDEAS ARE WINGLESS FLIERS

In the dark times 
Will there also be singing? 
Yes, there will also be singing. 
About the dark times.
 
-- Bertolt Brecht
 
 
A knife slices
organs
 
a bullet
maims
kills.
 
Physicality
can be contained
within the dark dungeons
but barbed walls
cannot imprison
the mind.
 
Assaults
mar the body.
 
Torture, murders,
disappearances
cannot break
the human spirit.
 
Words escape
censors
the SS, Gestapo,
religious zealots
book burnings
book bans
decrees

knife/bomb attacks
and, escaped words
sprout in the wastelands,
 
each word further
cross-pollinates
 
a rich harvest
delivered!
 
Words
can never be decimated
lost
archived
forgotten
 
always come back
as spectral beings
for fresh haunting
of the
totalitarian states.


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Sunil Sharma is an academic and writer with 23 books published—some solo and joint. Edits the online monthly journal Setu. 

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Categories
Poetry

Alone on the Lake

By George Freek

Courtesy: Creative Commons

ALONE ON THE LAKE 
(After Su Dongpo)


Night falls like a curtain,
as a cold wind rustles the reeds
along the shore. 
Dark clouds threaten rain.
The dying stars
barely light my way.
Like a guttering candle,
the moon flickers above me. 
There’s no sign of birds
or of men.
When I fished this lake
with my father I felt secure.
At sixty, cold and alone,
I think of my wife.
I steer my boat
in the direction
I hope will take me home.

George Freek’s poetry has recently appeared in The Ottawa Arts Review, Acumen, The Lake, The Whimsical Poet, Triggerfish and Torrid Literature.

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Categories
Poetry

Autumnal Poems by Michael Burch

Wind in Autumn by Ferdynand Ruszczyc (1870–1936). Courtesy: Creative Commons
COME DOWN
 
Come down, O, come down
from your high mountain tower.
How coldly the wind blows,
how late this chill hour ...
 
and I cannot wait
for a meteor shower
to show you the time
must be now, or not ever.
 
Come down, O, come down
from the high mountain heather
blown far to the lees
as fierce northern gales sever.         
 
Come down, or your hearts will grow cold as the weather
when winter devours and spring returns never.
 
 
MAYFLIES
 
These standing stones have stood the test of time
but who are you
               and what are you
                                and why?
As brief as mist, as transient, as pale ...
Inconsequential mayfly!
 
Perhaps the thought of love inspired hope?
Do midges love? Do stars bend down to see?
Do gods commend the kindnesses of ants
to aphids? Does one eel impress the sea?
 
Are mayflies missed by mountains? Do the stars
regret the glow worm’s stellar mimicry
the day it dies? Does not the world grind on
as if it’s no great matter, not to be?
 
Life, to be sure, is nothing much to lose.
And yet somehow you’re everything to me.
 
(Originally published by Clementine Unbound)
 
MY FORTY-NINTH YEAR
 
My forty-ninth year
and the dew remembers
how brightly it glistened
encrusting September:
one frozen September
when hawks ruled the sky
and death fell on wings
with a shrill, keening cry.
 
My forty-ninth year,
and still I recall
the weavings and windings
of childhood, of fall:
of fall enigmatic,
resplendent, yet sere*...
though vibrant the herald
of death drawing near.
 
My forty-ninth year
and now often I've thought on
the course of a lifetime,
the meaning of autumn:
the cycle of autumn
with winter to come,
of aging and death
and rebirth ... on and on.

* Dry or withered

Autumn: Painting in Acrylic by Sybil Pretious

Michael R. Burch’s poems have been published by hundreds of literary journals, taught in high schools and colleges, translated into fourteen languages, incorporated into three plays and two operas, and set to music by seventeen composers.

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Categories
Poetry

The Invisible Man

By Sutputra Radheye

Courtesy: Creative Commons
THE MAN

he stands like shield as the bullets hit
his body, he jumps inside the house
to save the children stuck in the fire
he climbs the pole to fix the wires
for the bulbs to glow at night
he cleans the drains for the cities
to prevent flooding, he carries the bricks
and builds the house, he farms the land
and commits suicide when he can’t repay
the loan, he drives your motors around
the world, he who is not a millionaire
or a minister, he who struggles everyday
to feed his family, to provide
he is the man no one talks about.


16 AUGUST, 2022

on the request of the government
indians bought flags 
to celebrate seventy-five years
of independence

they put it on their gates
bikes, cars, buses and trucks
some wore tricolour pagris*
while some badges

the next day was different
as those flags were being dumped
on the streets, on the banks
and beaches, polluting the india
they worshiped a day before

*Turbans in Hindi

Sutputra Radheye is a young poet from India. He has published two poetry collections — Worshipping Bodies(Notion Press) and Inqalaab on the Walls (Delhi Poetry Slam)His works are reflective of the society he lives in and tries to capture the marginalised side of the story.

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Categories
Poetry

Poetry by Rhys Hughes

Courtesy: Creative Commons
THE FLAVOUR

There was a bird
who pecked a cake
and scattered crumbs
around the lake.
There was a monkey
with sore thumbs
who took a rake and cleaned them up.
There was a ship
out on the water
that had lost its fleet
just as a calf might stray from a herd
and close to shore
it observed the details of this feeding
and all other proceedings
between itself and the distant chateau
and rather wondered
at the flavour
of the shattered gateau
that had despoiled a lakeside that 
looks nicer neat
and concluded it tasted
quite like an unwashed yeti’s feet.


 
OH NOAH

I have been
thinking
about Noah’s Ark
and wondering
where
Noah put
the woodpeckers.

Including them
seems wrong.

Then it occurred
to me that
they made
the portholes
as the boat
went floating along.
Courtesy: Creative Commons

Rhys Hughes has lived in many countries. He graduated as an engineer but currently works as a tutor of mathematics. Since his first book was published in 1995 he has had fifty other books published and his work has been translated into ten languages.

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Categories
Poetry

Two Poems by David Francis

Art by Hennie Niemann(2020). Courtesy: Creative Commons
SENTIMENTAL PAST


She has a sentimental past
of old friends, of an ideal love
of friends she misses dearly,
of shared laughter that leaves an ache
that no one new can now ease,
no one else can ever fill,
you can never take
their place: nor should;
they remain, but are far away…
but when her face looks sick, or dead
and she thinks of him instead
of a passion still-smouldering
if only for a full instant
like a toppling revelation
of a colossal mistake
the realisation
of being on the wrong highway
that is to say: with you --

She has a sentimental life
of homesickness and heartbrokenness

I know
because the tears start to flow


WHAT IS THE WAY?


A compliment is the way to your heart
but your heart perversely seeks its pleasure
and, latching onto him, would rather smart
than be its boring admirer’s treasure.

Intimacy, pure and undemanding,
falls into your lap and graces your day --
how have you merited understanding
and now with indifference throw it away?

“How” is the question one wishes one knew.
Meanwhile, apathy makes all hopes shatter.
When you said “You don’t know me” was the clue
and the rest, all the rest doesn’t matter.

For now you’re left with him and I with me
as sun rays glance opaquely off the sea.


David Francis has produced seven music albums, Always/Far: a chapbook of lyrics and drawings, and Poems from Argentina (Kelsay Books).  He has written and directed the films, Village Folksinger
(2013) and Memory Journey (2018).  He lives in New York City. 

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Categories
Poetry

Poetry by Gayatri Majumdar

Gayatri Majumdar
SURRENDER
Tiny fish shift the fluorescence of your eye,
the red, yellow, fuchsia gaze of flowers
remain the same.

You would think tonight the moon
would chase a random supernova
exploding your heart

With a sky lowered spooned by a sea,
butterflies leave patterns marbling time
yellow, black and moss

Your hair falls into the eye of an impending storm
shifting about mauve lily leaves to the edge of sleep,
Pothos giants scaling the green fever of silence – 
sometimes too much can be said.

Now then beside the chipped bricks of last millennia’s debris
against myths and homes of owls, parrots, geckos, baby squirrels

Inevitably jump-start 
                           from light portals around leaves and deep hurts
to lost causes and terracotta bells.

With great difficulty the bees on your grey-striped shirt, escape – 
tonight they plan to make nectar

And this red staircase – damaged, broken – climbs nowhere

Stuck in forever

Which is now cupped in the palms of your heart
held out to pray.

Water-green dragonflies force the lilies coming out
as the night’s Indian lilacs, rusty leaves crackling 
carpet this page white – their fragrance rhapsodic – 
how will this inebriated night end

Spinning as it is with make-believes, fights over territories,
creepy crawly things?

Gayatri Majumdar, the founder of The Brown Critique (1995–2015), has authored six books. She co-founded ‘Pondicherry Poets’ and curates numerous poetry/music events. Gayatri is associated with Sri Aurobindo Society in Pondicherry

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Categories
Poetry

God and Limited Shelf Life

By Saranyan BV

Courtesy: Creative Commons
The sound of raindrops
Made sweeter through night
By the tin shade outside my window,
The chill in the air has stories of
The days we were lost in the woods,
In the wattle forest fighting for cover
Watching lake-waves in subtle throes.

Dreams come like flush of meadows
I roll back and watch shadows and lights 
Bouncing in equal proportions
Through maple leaf drapes.
In the dark, curtains have no colours.

The green carpet tells of the spilled drops of tea,
Fallen crumbs of the vanilla cake and more,
Mere illusions of having been too long
In that lonesome lodge.

Dreams come with crows in rainbow feathers,
Petite beaks, not longer than what eyes could see,
Heads crested with crowns dipped in chrysanthemum pollen;
The pillow reeks of the perfume
Of the woman who slept last, or of her jasmine.
I roll again as if to end the dream.

Dreams have a way of haunting
Like Gods who have limited shelf life
Gods who rise and die with us.

Saranyan BV is poet and short-story writer, now based out of Bangalore. He came into the realm of literature by mistake, but he loves being there. His works have been published in many Indian and Asian journals. He loves the works of Raymond Carver.

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Categories
Poetry

Two poems by Jim Bellamy

WE CANNOT HEAR THE SLEEP OF WORDS

We cannot hear the sleep of words
Under the seas, under the flowers, under the tides of out lots
And the bustling over sheets in skies depleting
Or our infinite whispers unheard. How
Inevitable silence whisks us is the tune
That, like the spires of monks, grows tired with the trends
And, dreaming about the text,
Shies into the fire. Words
Are as remote as the stars and their staring dawn,
As perceived as God. Does
This quiet sleep of words hide schemes, hide fears?
Does the last lash of the wind and the failing wing
Outwardly spiel an end? Let us listen,

Open the mind and listen
For a sigh, a sign
Of speaking unadorned. There is
No cry, there is only
The one weathered night whose wakefulness stings and
Hoots the Word over and over
Until the speaking dies.

A KIND OF DECALOGUE

Item, an animal, and how it changes shape,
Now a slick leopard, then a white air
Of tigress, ape or lemur. The forms won’t take
One simple pattern for long. Item, the crow
And then the simple blackbird, gathering up
Hunted petals. Item, a demesne of guns
Hotly presented to a potted face,
A shaft of holly leaves, darkness begun

And flapped astray. Item, motors without grace,
Churning the fair aside. Item, the bones
Of reservations, now Plot One, Plot Two
Purveyed by engineers.
The hunters are half-conscious of their Deeds
And cackle. Signs are made, sometimes honed,
And then the silent Blue

Jim Bellamy was born in a storm in 1972. He studied hard and sat entrance exams for Oxford University. Jim has a fine frenzy for poetry and has written in excess of 22,000 poems. Jim adores the art of poetry. He lives for prosody.

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