Categories
Poetry

The Birds in These Strange Times and more…

By Matthew James Friday

The Birds in These Strange Times
A pair of kites have come for the lake
now the airport is closed, buoyed by empty 
skies, rustling wooded hills, lacey waters.

My wife shows me trees on the lake’s
whispering edge where cormorants gather,
roosting in the trees like paused pterodactyls. 

An adult swallow giddy with its suddenes,
rolling in the early April air, the very first
migrant recoiled by a changed climate.









Back to Blue
Imprisoned in caution,
the cases rising, fear abundant,
school closed, classes cancelled.
All online now. I watch
a documentary about Miles Davis.

I have always struggled with Jazz,
berated the lack of melody,
felt lost amongst the jostling notes.
But following his story, the craft
from the chaos, the passion in tone

I choose to try again. Back to Blue
starts, and notes sound as alarming
as the online coverage but the jingling 
chords, the blasts of trumpet suddenly 
sounds peace while the world tears. 



Balance

From the balcony I watch a cat
watching a squirrel leaping
from one tree to another, change
its mind, return and scuttle
up and down branches, a slither
of fast fur perfectly balanced,
death either side of sure claws.
The squatting cat tilts its head
as the squirrel becomes branch,
then pads off to draw its own line.

In Rooms, Therefore We Are

The rooms we build define us, shape us, create and consume us.

To function as a modern human is to be in a room: offices, classrooms, waiting rooms, shops, bedrooms, gardens, cafés, libraries, trains, airplanes, theatres, cinemas and stadiums.

Alone or confessing, on holiday, marrying, working or transgressing. Watching or waiting, dancing, defecating or contemplating.

Our own heads are a skeletal room we stare out of; thoughts, ideas and words bouncing around the bony walls. Billions pray to be safely ushered into the everlasting room beyond these rooms, to be reunited with those who were once in our rooms.

The number of rooms make all the difference between a slum resident and a billionaire, freedom and imprisonment; rooms that can be built from waste material or secreted into yachts; rooms that only the most valiant warriors can ascend to while others descend to the deepest unreachable rooms.

To feel free, we leap over the walls to the open, roomless countryside, though we return to rooms at night or make them using tents. We stare deeply and longingly into the blinking night sky, wondering if there are rooms on other planets like our planet, which is one giant, spinning room, moving through an ever-expanding room.

Even the atom itself is a kind of theoretical room, built mainly of nothing, of potentially something through which hums the moments of energy that we use to build up all the matter around us.

         Perhaps we love rooms because that is where we began, in our mother’s warm interior room; safe from everything outside and other. Perhaps it is the safety of this dark, nourishing room that is the shadow between every room thereafter.

As children we build pretend rooms, hide in them from the monsters that sneak into our rooms, that lurk in their own dark spaces in the corners.

As adults we spend days rushing in and out rooms. Now, confined to our rooms in fear of that which knows no walls, we are more thankful than ever for the walls. We stare at each other from balconies and buildings, all afraid in our rooms and wondering when the doors will open again.


Matthew James Friday has had poems published in numerous international magazines and journals, including, recently: All the Sins (UK), The Blue Nib (Ireland), Acta Victoriana (Canada), and Into the Void (Canada). The mini-chapbooks All the Ways to Love, Waters of Oregon and The Words Unsaid were published by the Origami Poems Project (USA).
Website:      http://matthewfriday.weebly.com

Categories
Poetry

Thread of Life

By Eduard Schmidt-Zorner

I tie the Ariadne’s thread
into my wide-meshed cardial net,
where points of view dissolve
and deep thoughts evolve.

Lead him past the rubble heaps
where longing grows
and stockpiled
are forgotten things.

Bind him where the swallows fly
and fix him near heaven’s dome
where clouds rush by
and seagulls are at home.

Eduard Schmidt-Zorner is a translator and writer of poetry, haibun, haiku and short stories.He writes in four languages: English, French, Spanish and German and holds workshops on Japanese and Chinese style poetry and prose.

Member of four writer groups in Ireland and lives in County Kerry, Ireland, for more than 25 years and is a proud Irish citizen, born in Germany.

Published in 76 anthologies, literary journals and broadsheets in USA, UK, Ireland, Japan, Sweden, Italy, Bangladesh, India, France, Mauritius and Canada. Writes also under his pen name: Eadbhard McGowan

Categories
Stories

Flash Fiction: A fight

by Eduard Schmidt-Zorner

winter’s arrival means fight

he does not knock on the door

he smashes it

A line of rocks marks a ridge overgrown with heather which leads down to a sandy bay at the headland. On an elevation, behind a patch of marram grass, a dilapidated cottage.

The walls are made from natural stone, the roof shingles are covered with moss, the frames of the small windows are jammed and swollen having been exposed over years to moisture and rain. In the nearby water bobs an open boat with fishing lines and nets. 

Close to the house stands a rusty fish trap and a few lobster pots.

There are remnants of red paint on the door. Next to it leans another door, freshly painted in blue.

The shed is open and shows shelves, barrels, carpenter equipment and fishing tackle.

Across the forecourt, covered by weeds, lies a broken mast and next to it an anchor.

The fishermen have moved away from this area, left with memories of the rattling and ringing of the rigging, the whispering wind and the lashing, roaring surf, the rubbing of the oars against the rowlocks.

The sight of the lonely, ugly and abandoned neighbouring house fills him with melancholy. The absence of sounds of other people does not bother him.

There is only the clinking of the aeolian harp hanging from a sycamore tree.

He steps outside the door and smokes his pipe. A tame magpie hops beside him. She has only one wing. He found her and took her in. He is her protector.

She jumps around and uses her remaining wing as a crutch. She hopes that he will unfasten his boat and row out on the water, because this would mean fish for her meal.

But on this day, he does not row out. A storm is forecast.

The sky shows a display of all shades of grey, from light grey, through dark grey to deepest dark grey.

Gusts blow sand and loose grass over the shore stones.

He pushes the door further open. It jams, the house has settled. He had smoothened the blue-painted door and made it fit to be installed when the paint has dried.

Inside a table, two chairs, a cupboard, an unmade bed, logs stacked up next to a round iron stove. On a side table an old-fashioned radio running on batteries, no television, in the corner a heap of books.

The old radio is only there to hear the news and weather forecast. He is not interested in talk and sermons.

In the country which he had left behind, he had hated television. He hated all those newsreaders, all those and other types of “teachers” with their eyebrows and forefingers raised, who all rebuke those who think differently, giving marks or awarding points.

The exclusion of TV was part of his fight against the system.

It becomes stormier.

A new fight is waiting for him.

He hastens to pull in the boat and turns it over so that the storm cannot catch and lift it. He carries the blue door into the house. He is particularly worried about the shed gate. It is exposed to wind and weather. A hinge is broken.

Inside the shed he pushes a heavy chopping block against one wing of the gate.

Outside the storm blows up its cheeks. A gust runs against the shed. Light falls into the shed for a moment because the gate gives way. He braces himself against it.

The magpie, he brought to safety, jumps excitedly back and forth on a shelf. In the lower shelf she has a wooden box in which she sleeps and rests.

The storm begins, it roars and rages.

He battles against the wind force, holds the gate with one hand and fetches a lumber to prop it up. He nails a batten right across the two wings to the frame on both sides thus strengthening the gate.

It works, the gate is not moving an inch.

The fight against the element, this old battle of mankind against wind and severe weather conditions is won, for the moment.

The house gives shelter, the storm’s voice is less audible. He lights the stove to make hot water for a tea, which he will thin down with some whiskey, and to boil a few mussels.

The magpie follows him into the house. He caresses her plumage. Poor little bird, he says.

He lights a candle in a lantern. The cottage is not connected to the mains, that means no bills and no visits by the meter reader, who would disturb his seclusion.

Making frugality the purpose of life.

For re-collection. Re-flection. To spell nature, to give nature its meaning back.

Eduard Schmidt-Zorner is a translator and writer of poetry, haibun, haiku and short stories.He writes in four languages: English, French, Spanish and German and holds workshops on Japanese and Chinese style poetry and prose.

Member of four writer groups in Ireland and lives in County Kerry, Ireland, for more than 25 years and is a proud Irish citizen, born in Germany.

Published in 76 anthologies, literary journals and broadsheets in USA, UK, Ireland, Japan, Sweden, Italy, Bangladesh, India, France, Mauritius and Canada.

Writes also under his pen name: Eadbhard McGowan