‘Stormriver’ and other poems by Myra Vennard

NIGHT TREE

 
Along the river bank
street lights are lighting
 
the darkening waters glow
the sun is low
 
the mountain crouches low
in shadow
 
light drops from light
dark creeps back to night …
 
my mind struggles with a paradox –
gleams from a self-source
 
and light
falling from a star
 
love is racked – there
is no owning in the soul
 
the void is an agitation
fixed habit of a consciousness
 
unwilling to go into the terror
of going into light of naked night
 
my tree reaches up winter bare
its star is not yet born.
 

GOING OUT

 
Sea fog curls
around the cliff face
 
the island has no contour
still – and I
 
I am weeping
amid a conflict
 
the wish for forgetfulness
yet fear of clinging sorrow
 
intangible dreams are real
a beatitude in the memory
 
at dawn – an echo
unfathomable – secret
 
I dream of the dead
as having no subjectivity
 
all are one – knowing
no aims nor necessities
 
their focus is on One
sublime infinity
 
if imperfect love must die
for perfect love to live
 
when he opens up his eye
will my eye have distance?

*
he waits outside my door
to share my cup
 
behind a mask in a theatre of stone
time is instilling essence.
 

BELOVED

 
I waken before dawn
to full moonlight
 
and ships anchored in the bay
my mind still on a street
 
where he turns away – I am
afraid of thoughts multiple
 
the street lamp in cavities –
in pools of dark …
 
I will go wistful
I will go where the river whispers
 
with trees through branches
to where a moon-ring still trembles
 
*
 
in tentative morning sunlight
after night-storm
 
waves – cold – fall
and run molten gold on sand …
 
do not think to dispel love
from a turbulent heart
 
love has heat
enough for distillation.
 

STORMRIVER

 
A week of black water
out at sea
 
a month of magic almost
gone to the air
 
the river keeps away – just
stones navigate
 
the flood – when poetry
cannot speak
 
it drowns in the mind
and swoons in the flow
 

*
 
rain has fallen – I walk
against the wind
 
against a rainbow flame
kissing an ocean – against
 
a straying sun picking
defining the town …
 
he has no home here
nor there beyond the island
 
he touches dusk
his breath is in shadow
 
his voice is full of tremor
I hear
 
his aching heartbeat
shake against the wind

*
 
he lights a candle
before he puts on the mask
 
he carries a burden on his back
he lays it on the altar
 
in the oratory
he puts on a robe
 
drawing back the curtain
he sleep-walks into my mind
 
he presses my head
until it hurts – the bread
 
is in his hands
his declaration my question
 
behind the mask
has he a changing face?
 
The supremacy of a pointing spire
does not close the distance
 
to a sky-god in the brain
nor appease a hurting spirit
 
abandoned to theatres of stone
and the dark cloisters of a consciousness.
 
*
 
this morning
there is a light over the sea
 
the island appears impervious
holding close
 
to dark contours – still
there is tension
 
in the small wood
crumbs of rock
 
fall
from brooding cliffs….
 
at dusk
across the cavern floor
 
dark – splintered
with glass – nails – wood
 
the huge door
creaks and groans
 
in winter wind’s moan
rocking black
 
the memory of accident
stirring midnight dreams
 
outside – the evening star
is silence – risen
 
*
 
words mean nothing
they are not what he is
 
they are a fetish
visible – separate – fettered …
 
music is his glance
from the mountain
 
it holds harmony
in the retina
 
unable to break free
from the moment – this
 
this is
all he will say
 
*
 
suddenly a white mist
steals the island
 
cliffs rise
their juts fade in sequence

I take words
out into space
 
further on
at a bend in the road
 
Malevola grips
my senses
 
there is a sickness
in my mind
 
even the sea is quiet
no gull cries
 
there is a terrible lack
of flowering
 
here his eye is dark
its glance will tell me nothing
 
*
 
I cannot make him
what I imagine
 
the wall is high
he is not – not here
 
in this mind
in this first death – this
 
long – long standing
train of consciousness
 
he sleeps
until I have never been.
 

SEPTEMBER

 
The dawn is cold
the road is empty
 
the lamp
is not yet extinguished
 
grass has light
grounded white dusk
 
not wintered – drowsed
taking colour
 
re-making colour
pushing back
 
shadows onto a white wall
something transposed
 
shifted – doubled
unedged – out
 
beyond
the lamp’s intensity …
 
*
 
a fuchsia morning warms the road
for the white moth
 
for the rabbit
watching my movement
 
creatures mistrust my step
even a breakfast of berries has its price …
 
the man behind me says he has peace
his eye is full of April
 
a low sun shows something double –
shadows – by a wall defined.
 

FALLING

 
Look up – treetops
are meeting in the morning sky
 
there is a terrible sad
beat in the sea
 
love has no mind
only this –
 
light will own the waters
it will rise
 
before the overhang
darkens the surface
 
light will bend down
under the bridge
 
taking the river-rush
running crystal
 
down – down
over rock and stone
 
to own the sea
and meet the incoming flux.
 

Stormriver and other poems are © Myra Vennard, thanks to Moyra Donaldson for sending them to Poethead.

Myra Vennard was born in Belfast and is now retired to Ballycastle, Co Antrim, where she has ancestral roots. Widowed in 1979, she worked in Belfast for several years as a secretary before returning to higher education in the 1990’s as a mature student, graduating at the University of Ulster with Honours BA in English and an MA in Anglo-Irish Literature with a dissertation on the poetic vision of Samuel Beckett. As a postgraduate she attended the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin, gaining a diploma in Ecumenics.
.
Myra Vennard’s two previous poetry books are Easter Saturday (2009) and Blind Angel (2013), both published by Lagan Press. In 2010 she won the Belfast Telegraph’s Woman of the Year in the Arts Award.

Sample of Five Poems from ‘Transmissions’ by Elaine Cosgrove

ENDLESS

 
We become adult
on roads, on lines,
on grids, on greens,
on grey spaces —
you cannot zoom in.

We become older
with the city as seer,
decibels the scale
from stepping dawn
to engine rattling dusk,

to clinking night
and walk-back light.
Chiaroscuro lives
in metered hope.

We become in spite
of what happens, and
we are here, still here
becoming with care,
and listening ears.

We become no matter
the distortion that hopes
to confuse our hearts,
and break them.

We become electric.
On and off beings flowing
again and again,
endless in this sudden
glittering world of interruptions.
 

SURFING AT STREEDAGH STRAND

 
Site of a Spanish Armada wreckage
 
During sea-salt of winter surf, remembrance
of lineage acts like zinc on the blood that swells
from a creviced nick beside my thumbnail.

Streedagh Strand pulls out her linen towel
and I become warm dough on the sea floor
when their bodies appear blood-strewn bits on grain.

Five hundred wiped-out sailors beat, robbed and stripped
ashore by local savages hungry for wealthy bones
and soaked goods falling like crumbs from their dying.

A good savage attending only to castles and mountains
De Cuellar said of O’Ruairc who gave the Spaniards
fresh-cut reeds to sleep on, rye bread to eat

in the Breffni mountains where they hid.
My soft hands roughen to withstand whip of board,
cold knife in December tide earthing me straight to the skin.
 
Originally published in Issue 3 of The Penny Dreadful

BOG DISCO

 
It should have been the old bloomeries of love
during the slow-set: disco lights like Morse Code baubles
roaming our sequins, skirts and shirts
but some smart aleck two plastic, parish seats away from me
belches and says: “Boom. It’s the erection section.”
So I make tracks swift, double-door into a true breather of a night.
The Plough, dazzling points floating in the sky.
 

HANDWRAPPING

 
Eventually, you learn to wrap the cloth your own way.
First by imitation—online videos by peers, Master’s
and partner’s real-life instructions. What feels assured
is what you come to make yourself
. The snugger the wrap

to experience, the stronger the hand’s form, just before the strike.

 
HOME
from the festival

 	      z
            z
          z
He is Z beside me
a rise and fall 
of ribcage.
 
He is too humble,
too loyal to be 
assigned E-U-S.
 
Nonetheless, 
he is my god
in this scenario.
 
He does not stir 
to my arrival,
which I am a bruised 
peach about—
all acquired ego,
from the poets.
 
I am home, love,
ready to graft 
my way out 
of the talk-shop. 
 
I want to jab his side
with my finger, 
and command 
an alt universe 
for us, 
 
'Rise and fall 
to the woman 
of your dreaming.' 
 
Instead, he smells 
like a brewery 
and I fen, 
a half-naked sliver
                         s
                       s
                     s
	           s
of tiredness, 
touch-screening 
white light keys 
of Notepad, 
as it extends 
and shines upon 
his face and arms, 
my face too — 
 
a flickering 
         tap tap 
hold down 
        transform
letter
         suggest 
         autocomplete
flicker 
          tap 
flicker 
          tap
return
          tap 
return  
          tap
return 
          hold
          flicker
lightning 
connect 
socket
          charge
wake up	       scoop up 
my body	        become 
my peering 	point

Sample of Five Poems from ‘Transmissions‘,  Elaine Cosgrove’s forthcoming debut poetry collection. Publication Autumn 2017, Dedalus Press, Ireland.

Elaine Cosgrove was born in Sligo, Ireland in 1985. Her work has been published in The Stinging Fly Magazine, The Penny Dreadful, The Bohemyth, and New Binary Press. Elaine was selected for the 2017 Fifty Best New British & Irish Poets Anthology (Eyewear Publishing), and longlisted for the 2016 London Magazine Poetry Prize. Transmissions, her debut collection of poetry will be published by Dedalus Press Autumn 2017.

“Pink is a Sister Sick” and other poems by Seanín Hughes

Pink Is A Sister Sick

with sweetness. Bright;
blinds beautiful men, robs
them of their enamel, but

they never protest.

Fat lashes fan those
flushed cheeks, like

blood blushing milk,

bones so high and hollow
beneath. Pink licks the dark,
but refuses to wear it.
I went panning for
black diamonds in her hair
in our girlhood, and found

nothing but dirty pebbles

and rust for treasure; I
couldn’t love her. She’s
a predator with doll parts,
a perfect Pinocchio gone
rogue and hungry

for boyprey.

I’ve got a perverted
prayer that in time, she’ll
dissolve into herself;
melt at midday,
nothing more
than a

discarded boiled sweet.

Equilibrium

I’m strutting stratospheric,
embellished and splendid
in my NHS wedding dress.

My mother was here before me,
her father before her, his uncle
before that — lucky, lucky me

— our platinum gilted heirloom hops generations and genders,
our gene pool a puddle of madness

thickened with blood and tear-streaked shrieking saliva.
I’m in my unsilent season,

souped up and bursting,
far too sexy
to sedate. This is my circus

and I am the airborne acrobat
defying my earthly anchors
until they come for me,

saturnine.

Anthem

New York’s summer breath
climbs heavy through the window
and the restless worm wrestles
through apple rot.

Narcissus’ trumpets
wither in astonished atrophy,
recoiling into the earth
as the amnion ruptures,

a parting of seas in the
holiest of churches –

between
the wide open legs
of an obedient woman
,

held to ransom by
blanched agony, lips
anaemic, lily white.

Skull shards shift tectonic
and give passage
to the crowning;

the searing stretch of emergence,
the ripping of the mantle,
the sting of the slap –

and it breathes.

The bed sheets are soiled
with immigrant blood
the colour of November poppies,

and writhing in it,
the jaundiced newborn skin
of an epoch in waiting:

a God complex
with baby sized fists
clutching nuclear warheads.

Going Dutch

I cut my teeth on you;
let enamel tear
through the warm pink tissue
of adolescence.

I bared my legs, but
bent them inward,
dressed them in angles
in case you found them
too soft, too fleshy.
You didn’t (they weren’t).

I kept my hair down
so subtle shadows fell
where cheekbones might be,
stolen symmetry, in case
you realised I wasn’t
pretty enough. You didn’t (I was).

We’d play pool –
I never won (I never cared) –
and eat chips on the way home;
you paid your way and
I paid mine, and I never needed
to wear my coat (I did), until

that one night when
you didn’t walk me home,
the night I fell asleep and
you cut your teeth on me,
the ones you lied through (you did),
and I paid in full.

I’d Be Queen of Myself (if I weren’t anti-monarchy)

She said
I seemed brighter and
I was that day,
that week,
but my brightness
had a lid on it
because I couldn’t let it
spill –
unless I was alone

and then

I could sing
and sing
and grin
at the windows
and the cutlery
and laugh at the shape
of the front door
all angular and rigid
and trapped by lines
– not like me –

I was bright that day,
that week,
in cahoots with the sun
(she told me so
and she’s a puppeteer) and I’m
dancing jigs
in the frozen aisle and
I’d be the Queen
of myself (if I wasn’t
anti-monarchy).

But I’ll settle
for this power,
this rising gift,
this momentary lapse
when the numbing fog
clears and life is
so vivid,
and it’s right
under my nose,
the promise of it,
and I forget

that it can’t last

– it won’t last –

until it slips
through the membrane
of my skin and I watch
it leave, I watch

the lights dim, I watch
the numbing fog
and the way it trundles
in again, bearing
the weight
of things
I
can’t
carry.

Pink is a Sister Sick & other poems are © Seanín Hughes

Nebulae & Salt at Dodging The Rain

Diphylleia

Daughter, please       hold my hand. There is rain coming; look — a congregation of heavy promise
waits above our heads
to bathe us.                     It gives God
to our ordinary air. Aren’t you
beautiful? I have a gift for you. Please,
hold my hand; k ep me in your tender palm. Parts of me are fading — your name, your sister flowers.
Did        have sons? Oh. Why must
I be                                dismantled
s slowly? I’m afraid. Please                          hold my hand.     I’m s rry.
Aren’t you         beautiful?
I have a gift for you; diphylleia — the rain makes a s-skeleton             most gentle from its petals, translucent when touched by falling skies in Japan. See how its colours                   weep
— see that crown of clarity, the petals
in                                  their party dress, clear as
Cind rella’s glass slipper. Ar n’t you
b autiful?
Pl ase, dau ter,
hold my hand. Parts of me            fading. A ‘t you beautiful?  There’ll b         ain
for flow rs today. I named you
after a
fl wer,       crowned you        mine. Please
I m
be utif l.

hold my hand?

Seanín Hughes is an emerging poet and writer from Cookstown, Northern Ireland, where she lives with her partner and four children.
Despite writing for most of her life, Seanín only began to share her work in late 2016 after penning a number of poems for her children. Prior to this, she hadn’t written in a number of years following the diagnosis of her daughter Aoife with a rare disease in 2010.
Early 2017 brought a return to writing in Seanín’s spare time and since then, she has completed an ever-increasing volume of new poetry. Drawing from her varied life experiences, Seanín is attracted to challenging themes and seeks to explore issues including mental health, trauma, death and the sense of feeling at odds with oneself and the world.
.

Excerpts from ‘microliths’ by Paul Celan

from ‘Microliths’

 

161

Re­membering
also pre­membering, pre­thinking and storing of what could be

Yeats: I certainly owe more to that poet than to Fr. surreal.

Strange. In front of a candle
Now I tried to render visible the grain of sand (Buber, Chass. — //Nibelungens[on]g) that had to have been sunk into me too at some time.
Mother, candles, sabbath
But the poem lead me out of this idea, across to a new level with this idea

162

162.1 ­

It is part of poetry’s essential features that it releases the poet, its crown witness and confidant, from their shared knowledge once it has taken on form.  (If it were different, there would barely be a poet who could take on the responsibility of having written more than one poem.)

162.2

—Poetry as event
Event = truth (“unhiddenness,” worked, fought for unhiddeness)
Poetry as risk
Creation = /power­activity /Gewalt­tätigkeit (Heidegger)
Truth ≠ accuracy (­i­: consistency)

–in each first word of a poem the whole of  language gathers itself —
–handiwork: hand / think through connections
such as “hand and heart”
handiwork — heartwork

Beginning: “Poetry as handiwork”? The handmade crafting of  poetry?

About ‘Microliths’at Jacket2 Magazine
About ‘Microliths’ at Poetry Foundation.

I would like to thank Pierre Joris for his translation of Microliths. These translations are © Pierre Joris 



Once

Once
I heard him
he was washing the world,
unseen, nightlong, real.

One and infinite,
annihilated,
ied.

Light was. Salvation.

From  Fathomsuns and Benighted  by Paul Celan (translated by Ian Fairley for Carcanet Books) (1991) 



Paul Celan related texts by Pierre Joris

   Threadsuns by Paul Celan translated by Pierre Joris

 

The Meridian

Final Version—Drafts—Materials  (2011) PAUL CELAN EDITED BY BERNHARD BÖSCHENSTEIN AND HEINO SCHMULL TRANSLATED BY PIERRE JORIS SERIES: MERIDIAN: CROSSING AESTHETICS

.


 

Breathturn into Timestead: The Collected Later Poetry: A Bilingual Edition (German Edition) (German) Hardcover – December 2, 2014

.


 

Further Reading on Paul Celan

Pierre Joris websites and articles

Celan/ Heidegger: Translation at the mountain of death; on translating “Todtnauberg” by Pierre Joris
On the Translation of Later Poems by Paul Celan by Pierre Joris (Harriet/ Poetry Foundation & blog)
Paul Celan and the Meaning of Language; An Interview with Pierre Joris (Interview; Doug Valentine, Flahpoint Mag)
Celan the aphorist (Nomadics Blog, Pierre Joris) Original article at Jacket2 Magazine
On Poethead: Once, Irish & (Todesfuge translated by John Felstiner).

.

“I’m not a city” and other poems by Kinga Fabó

The Transfiguration of the Word

Open, the sea appeared asleep.
Carrying its waves.
A pulse under the muted winter scene.
Throwing a smile on the beach.

A nun-spot on the hot little body.
A color on the broken glass.
A gesture that was once closed.
Lovely as the sea stood up.
Throwing a smile on the beach.

I wanted to remain an object.
But, no, immortality is not mine.
I am too strong to defend myself.
Waiting for punishment.

This and the same happened together.
Silently, I sat in the glass.
Only the spot wandered on the naked scene.
Sounds did not continue.

Only an omitted gesture.
Happiness like an unmoving dancer.
Beatings on naked, bony back.

And the sea will no longer be immortal.

Translated by Zsuzsanna Ozsváth and Martha Satz
‘The Transfiguration of the word ‘ was first published in Osiris, 1992, Fall issue

Lovers

You are free, said the stranger.
Before I arrived there.
Costume. I had a costume on though.
I was curious: what his reaction might be?

He closed his other eyes.
I’ll send an ego instead of you.
Getting softer, I feel it, he feels it too. Hardly moves.
he chokes himself inside me.
Now I must live with another dead man.

It’s not even hopeless.
Not vicious.
Serves the absence.
Delivers the unnecessary.

Translated by Gabor G. Gyukics

Androgen

The bees are tough, hard to break virgins.
Virgins, but different from us humans.
They have no ego. Hermaphrodites. Like the moon.

Butterflies. Phallic souls.
Soul phalluses in female bodies.
The daughter, daughters of the moon

allured me but only until
I figured them out.
As lovers.

I got tired of my ego.
And theirs too.
I’m bored of their services.

It wedges an obstacle between us. Neither
in nor out. In vain
I keep trying. I can break through

mine somehow.
But his? How?
Selfish, inspiring; but for what?

Is he like this by nature,
subservient, dependent?
On me? That’s dispiriting.

He doesn’t even suspect, that I depend on him.
I am the stronger, the unprotected.
Tough as a woman, austere.

Delicate as a man, fragile, gentle.
What would I like? I want him to
wrestle me gently to the floor,

penetrate me violently, savagely.
So I can become empty and neutral.
Impersonal, primarily a woman.

Translated by Gabor G. Gyukics; Androgen was first published in Deep Water Literary Journal 2017 February

Isadora Duncan Dancing

Like sculpture at first. Then, as if the sun rose in her, long
gesture.
A small smile; then very much so.

The beauty
of the rite shone; whirling.

She whirled and whirled,
flaming.
Only the body spoke. The body carried her

language.

Her dance a spell
swirling the air, a spiral she was

and

her shawl, the half circle around her,
the curve of the sea-shore and
girl,

the dancer and the dance apart…

Transcreated by Cathy Strisik and Veronica Golos based on Katalin N. Ullrich’s translation.
Isadora Duncan Dancing was first published in Taos Journal of Poetry and Art, 10 Sept 2014

Poison

I don’t know what it is but very ill-
intended. Surely a woman must belong to it.
And something like a laughter.

I am rotating the city on me,
rotating my beauty. That’s that!
Many keys, small keyholes whirling.

Gazes cannot be all in vain. And the answer?
Merely a jeer.
The vase hugs and kills me, can’t breathe.

Now my features – even with the best intentions –
cannot be called beautiful.
And her? The girl? Her trendy perfume

is Poison. For me a real poison indeed.
And the vase?
It hugs and kills me.

But what am I to do without?

Translated by Kinga Fabó
Poison is included in her bilingual Indonesian-English poetry book, Racun/Poison (2015) Jakarta, Indonesia 

I’m not a city

I’m not a city: I have neither light, nor
window display. I look good.
I feel good. You didn’t
invite me though. How
did I get here?

You’d do anything for me; right?
Let’s do it! An attack.
A simple toy-
wife? I dress, dress, dress
myself.

The dressing remains.
I operate, because I’m operated.
All I can do is operate.
(I don’t mean anything to anyone.)
What is missing then?

Yet both are men separately.
Ongoing magic. Broad topsyturviness.
Slow, merciless.
A new one is coming: almost perfect.
I swallow it.

I swallow him too.
He is too precious to
waste himself such ways.
I’d choose him: if he knew,
that I’d choose him.

But he doesn’t. My dearest is lunatic.
In vain he is full: He is useless
without the Moon, he can’t change,
he won’t change,
the way the steel bullets spin: drifting,

the blue is drifting.
He tolerates violence on himself, I was afraid
he’d pull himself together and
asks for violence.
I watched myself

born anew with indifference:
(if I melt him!)
stubborn, dense, yowls. They worked on him well.
Right now he is in transition.
He is a lake: looking for its shore.

Translated by Gabor G. Gyukics
‘I’m not a city’ &‘Lovers’ were published in Numéro Cinq July 2016

I’m not a city& other poems are © Kinga Fabó

Kinga Fabó is a Hungarian poet. Her latest book, a bilingual Indonesian-English poetry collection Racun/Poison was published in 2015 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Fabó’s poetry has been published in various international literary journals and poetry magazines including Osiris, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Screech Owl, The Original Van Gogh’s Ear, Numéro Cinq, Deep Water Literary Journal, Fixpoetry, lyrikline.org and elsewhere as well as in anthologies like The Significant Anthology, Women in War, The Colours of Refuge, Poetry Against Racism, World Poetry Yearbook 2015, and others.

Two of her poems have been translated into English by George Szirtes and are forthcoming in Modern Poetry in Translation Spring Issue with an introduction by Szirtes. Some of her individual poems have been translated into 17 languages altogether: Albanian, Arabic, Bulgarian, English, Esperanto, French, Galego, German, Greek, Indonesian, Italian, Persian, Romanian, Serbian, Slovenian, Spanish, Tamil.One of her poems (The Ears) has among others six different Indonesian translations by six different authors.

Earlier in her career Fabó was also a linguist dealing with theoretical issues, and an essayist, too, interested in topics from the periphery, from the verge. She has also written an essay on Sylvia Plath. Fabó has just become Poetry Editor at Diaphanous, an American e-journal for literary and visual art that will be launched soon. In everything she’s done, Fabó has always been between the verges, on the verge, in the extreme. She lives in Budapest, Hungary.