All posts filed under: Small Books

‘A Glass of Tea, a View of the Atlas’ by Shadab Zeest Hashmi

Trade An assortment of crooked and straight arrows for the crest of a bulbul or a handful of sesame Uncut turquoise for juices of scorpions and glow worms A dozen poisons for an embroidered collar/ a pinch of saffron/ abalone knob Spotted eggs for knotted shoes Peacock feathers for beet sugar How much fur will buy cloves for my toothache? How many sprigs of mint/ radishes to restring your rabab? The market is spinning between us How much of us has been stolen by the ghosts of aromas? When night comes there is spinach again for the promise of quail Your dream of cake feeds on wild berries You kiss my cold shoulder I comb out the market from your hair A Glass of Tea, a View of the Atlas You give me Fez honey on Fennel cakes in a ceramic saucer because you say, to eat from this bitter clay (glazed and caressed with geometric precision), will draw me into the shapeless sob of the future. You read invasion’s epistle even in the smoothness …

‘If I were spring,’ and other poems by Mihaela Dragan

Quinces.   Quinces seem to come from fairy tales. People even think of them as aliens, neither round nor oval neither glossy nor trivial not too dry and not too mellow but Lord, how they are handsome! They bring the Sun into a home dusty and drowsy, as if it had slept quietly among them!   Cats   What if, overnight, after a cup of cocoa with milk, we all wake up, mewling and whiskered?   Crackling our jaws arching our backs becoming cats.   Better than humans?   Sunrise   The cool sunrise, suddenly caused my heart to shudder.   It seemed that cricket songs were slowly drilling into my soul.   All day long, in summer, they surround me with their ardour,   their birds’ wings spread into the air, flapping, moving since dawn,                                tempestuous! If I were spring, If I were spring – I would disguise myself without much ado as a beautiful swallow, I would chirp …

‘burnt offerings’ and other poems by Anne Casey

burnt offerings swilling cinders of eucalypt forests burning up and down the coast tinged with hints of fear singed possum hairs lifting into clear blue air an earthquake in Italy shakes me awake a mother crying somewhere volcanic embers cycling into smoke of broken promises women’s choices smouldering charred remains of exiles’ lives democracy doused with lies and set on fire headless horsemen prancing in the coals blackened souls stirring soot from scorched relics ashes to ashes and my mother in a box too small to hold her all laid in a field with all the others when she could have flown with the four winds so I could taste again the sharp tang of her loss married to the rest lately everything tastes of ash (First published in apt literary journal on 3 July 2017, with sincere thanks to Editor-in-Chief, Clarissa Halston.)   where the lost things go we sat upon a golden bow my little bird and i indivisibly apart we dived into the sky and to the purple-hearted dark an ocean we …

Making ‘Den of Sibyl Wren’ by Salma Ahmad Caller

  Notes on Salma Ahmad Caller’s process for the making of ‘Den of Sibyl Wren’.    The Den of Sibyl Wren is my response to A Hierarchy of Halls (forthcoming, Smithereens Press, 2018) by Christine Murray. It is my response to words Chris wrote about how she feels about this poem, and what she sees in her mind’s eye.    Details of the image ‘Den of Sibyl Wren’ by Salma Ahmad Caller  Materials: Watercolour, Indian ink, collage, graphite and gold pigment on Fabriano acid free paper 57cm x 76.3cm     My process involves an intense working back and forth with words and images in my imagination. I write a lot as part of my creative process as an artist, and these writings help me create and develop the visual image. The so-called ‘visual’ image is to me embodied, materialised, haptic and tactile. So the ‘image’ in poetry and metaphorical writing is almost the same as the visual image in art, to me. So there is not a huge gap between text and image. Not in my …

‘The Maze’ and other poems by Sarah Al-Haddad

  In The Ocean’s Company The ocean converses with my soul, Its waves constantly break at the shore, With such delicacy that it calms my very core. The composure of the waves Against the conflict coming from within Poses a pronounced contrast. I tremble and agonize with self-doubt, “Will I ever be as healthy as the others? What about all that I’ve been blessed with?” The ocean’s waves continue to break. I envision the future in black or white, And I am convinced that it is not right, So I attempt to dismiss my concerns outright. The ocean’s waves nod in agreement. Exasperating anxiety and dark depression Subsist on my debilitating thoughts, Leaving me depleted of ambition and drive. The color of the ocean fills my soul with hope. The waves gently pat my feet in succession, Grains of sand lightly tickle my toes, And my unfavorable thoughts leave in regression. Just beginning to apprehend my potential, Yet I am certain I possess power that is As challenging to fathom as the depth of the …