Kat Seidemann’s big poem on blue kicks off this weekend, along with a mythical narrative by David Whippmann, a poem about hawking by Pippa Little, while Kriss Nicol gives us a seascape of changing colour and temperature. Cue short tailpiece about the polar bear from Gary Beck.
By my reckoning, that’s two from America, two from England (north and south) and one from Scotland. You can find more about all these poets by looking them up.
Glad to have your poems, poets: glad to have your hits, readers. Please keep sharing and tweeting, and tell your friends to tell their friends.
For how to send poems, see our first ever post in August.
The Trouble with Blue
It is both the calm and the storm.
It is the enemy you must hold closest.
It is the Native American’s unripe gem.
It is the clinging toddler that never grows up.
It is outlasted by red and often outshined by white.
Its pigments live beyond the means of impoverished artists.
It is haughtily aware of its status
—reminding you often of its place among the Holy Trinity of Colors.
It dashes you against the rocks.
It tastes of tin and not the silver spoon.
It lacquers the sky, making reptiles of us all.
It should smell of blossoms but it has no scent at all.
It traces the paths that lead to your heart’s hiding place.
It promises battle glory but thwarts you with War in the end.
It insists you fill your lungs with it
—should you refuse, it stains first your lips and eventually all your skin.
It sees through the kindest of lies.
It hides its depth and also disguises your own.
It sounds more like seagulls than like saxophones.
It conspires with black when things begin to get rough.
It robs your motivation by telling the end of your story first.
It owns a hue that clouds the octogenarians’ eyes who fall for it.
It never returns its RSVP
—so you never know when it’s coming or who it will accompany.
First Published in the Licton Springs Review, Seattle 2009
Business from Achilles
People always ask if I was afraid of him.
No. Working the metal has made me heavy
in the chest and arms and back. And if he were invincible
why would he need what I was fashioning for him?
He didn’t look so menacing anyway:
in a right state, he was, pacing up and down
while I worked. You’d have thought he was a bride
waiting for the wedding gown.
I hammered and crafted through the night
to make what he had ordered, and all the time
he distracted me with talk: “Hephaestus,
you can replace the armour that Hector took
but who can bring back my love Patroclus?”
“Be quiet please,” I answered: “even for me
This inlay is tricky.” When the whole thing was done
I say with a craftsman’s pride: it was fine work.
DW writes: This was entered for a poetry competition run by a website called Tapestry of Bronze, which usually publishes stories on the theme of Ancient Greek history and myth. To my surprise, it won and was published.
Kind bird, my John’s companion
these fifteen years: a man’s head goes grey
but a hawk’s red wing-ends stay the same
though both John and she go slower now,
one on the earth, the other in the air.
She brings us snippets for the pot,
good, steady hunter. Company in her way,
the swivel of her eye, the tinkle of her bell:
how she stays close but not too near,
like the dogs, watching over us.
Rewarded with her own share, a chick
or rabbit haunch, she guards it with wings
over her head as she feeds,
‘mantling’ they call it, and it’s true
how she makes herself a cloakish waterfall of feathers,
a private redoubt. She does not want or know us there.
I’d trade the flying, all its show,
From Foray, Border Reiver Women, Biscuit Press 2009
Port Macquarie January 2012
Lumps of pink cloud
sit on the horizon
as the ocean becomes light violet,
breaking in surf against
Hazy sea-salt radiance
ghosts the pier
as the last light bleeds its way
across the grey façade
of the harbour.
Damp adhesive air
clings to my bare arms
and beyond the screen of bamboo stalks
drops of hot rain
fall from the sky
in liquid chastisement,
whilst saturated dark
is carried on the breath of winds
and the wheels of night start to turn.
Suddenly a text
penetrates the peace
bringing images of darkness, snow and ice
“Newton Stewart -1°C”.
First published in Fankle 10, Spring 2002
We should be glad
the polar bear
doesn’t have fur
or greedy merchants
would strip the beasts bare.
from The Remission of Order,
published by Motley Press 2010