Here we are! End of year blog after a continuous run since early August. Huge thanks to all the poets who have sent poems and to the people all over the world who read the poems. There will be one more post later when I will share the WordPress report for the year.
Next year there will also be a Keep Poems Alive review section. Info coming up next week.
Today’s poems are by Gerard Rochford, Elizabeth Marino, Marcas Mac an Tuairneir (with Gaelic), and Magi Gibson, whose Postcards from a Cold Country I have decided to intersperse among the others.
Contribution are welcomed for next year, just send a favourite poem of yours, published at least three years ago, with info on previous publication, to sallyevans 35 at gmail dot com. You must hold copyright.
And, as I say to family in England — A Happy New Year — WHEN IT COMES!
postcards from a cold country
snowflake on my tongue
cold white kiss
tumbled from heaven
how easily you melt
Urban Fox – Glasgow For Mia – age 2
Mia has spotted a fox in her new city.
It has come to check the back of the mall
where scattered rags of plastic,
wet with moonlight,
spill food for men and animals
scranning the darkness.
Fox sees her and stands still; sniffs
this other, who also searches the city
for strange sounds, sights and smells.
Its head is tilted, its tail swishes the air.
Its tail is called a brush, says her mother,
sensing the freshness of an old word
which sidles in from the past,
like the fox, from another country.
Mia too stands still; feels
something is entering her forever
to settle down in the red lair of her brain
with all she knows, waiting to greet
all she will come to know.
The fox has seen enough and slews away
along the spoor of food.
Mia says: dog. Mother says: fox.
Mia says: no dog.
The next day, in a picture book,
she sees a fox again. Fox, she says, fox.
Back from her journey of dreams
she has grown older, wiser;
joins us now in a city of words,
the city we build together,
where we can sleep with foxes
and call out their name.
First published in Failing Light. – Embers Handpress. 2010.
dew-laden at dawn
shimmering between haw twigs
a cradle for dreams
of scrawn, feather, bone
the wind’s fingers fold you
send you flapping
After Buñuel & Dali’s Un Chien Andalou
In his dreams
she would find safety beside him,
would ignore the flash of
passing strangers in darkened storefronts.
In his dreams they would
go back to her place, turn a single lock
enter the plush darkness of her
apartment, and he’d easily
draw her to him
without her turning quickly
to light a small lamp, to glance
over and through the clear vinyl shower curtain
and draw the deadbolt, pull the latch and
slip closed the chain, giving a slight push
for good measure.
In his dreams on this warm night
they’d wander out onto her back porch
her face washed in silver by the full moon.
And when he’d stroke her right cheek
she wouldn’t flinch, and when he nuzzled
the nape of her neck, all that he’d feel
would be the soft syllable
without the slight stiffening and soft
“Shit” and sigh.
In his dreams
he could offer her
night’s endless possibilities
and she would stroke him
till her heart was more than full.
First published in After Hours (Oak Park/Chicago)
First collected in the chapbook Debris: Poems & Memoir. Moon Journal 2005, then Puddin’head Press 2011
blackbird, outside my window
the worm wriggling in your beak
forms a living question mark
dies asking why
Marcas Mac an Tuairneir
Scottish Gaelic. The author’s English version below
Dhùisg mi leis a’ ghrèin an-diugh.
Bha i na laighe rim thaobh mar fhireannach;
A bhroilleach còmhdaichte le duilleagan cròcha,
Is aureolae a mhuing ruaidh air a’ chluasaig.
Thionndaidh e, leòmhann-dhuine,
A’ leigeil mèarain-bheuc.
Uachdaire gun thìr, gun shaorsa,
San èadhar chaithte, is iarannan na cèidse.
Dh’iarr mi marcadh ris,
Bhon ear gun iar,
A’ faireachdainn tàirneanach
Nan each-grèine aige,
Gun rachadh mi a stiùireadh leoth’,
Mar a charbad dhan chamhanaich.
Cha b’ urrainn dha leantainn beò
An oidhche m’ inntinn.
Nuair a chaidh e à sealladh,
Fon fhairge, gun tilleadh,
Bha creutair claon baois,
Na aonar, san leabaidh ghorm.
Chan fhaca mi a-rithist a chruth uasal,
A chraiceann bàn, deàlrach,
Mar ìomhaigh na Moire,
No Caesar air mo bheulaibh.
Today, I woke with the sun,
It lay beside me in masculine form.
His chest was covered in saffron,
The aureola of his red mane on the pillow.
He rolled over, man-lion,
Letting roar-like yawn,
Landless nobleman, without liberty,
In the spent air and the cage of iron.
To ride with him, was my desire,
From the east to the west,
Feeling the thunder
Of his solar steeds,
That would steer me,
Like his chariot to the dawn.
But he could not exist,
In the night-time of my mind.
When he was lost from sight,
Underwater, without return,
The half-formed creature of lust,
Lay on blue bedsheets alone.
Never seen again, his noble form,
His pale, luminous complexion,
Before me, like a Caesar,
Or a statue of the Virgin.
Debuted in Deò which was published by Grace Note Publications in 2013.
none for sorrow
magpie on a sheet of snow
hieroglyph of sorrow
I close my eyes,
you are gone
the white page waits
the black ink flows
Postcards from a cold country: All the poems were in Magi Gibson’s collection, ‘Graffiti in Red Lipstick’, 2003. The ‘snowflake’ poem was used by the Scottish Arts Council for their Christmas card in 2004.