“The Infinite Body of Sensation”; Visual poetry by Salma Caller

Sound is a shell

Sound is a shell
An ear
Curves of sound
Vibrating and condensing air
Echoes in a curved space
An ocean in the shell of sound

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Pearls

Things that stand in for other things

The Witches Pouches

Bags of velvet black
Nets entangling objects
Bones of birds
The insides of shells
Spells
Pearls
Things that stand in for other things

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Nets entangling objects

Bones of birds
The insides of shells

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Black Lace

Turn this talk into a tale
A small dark textured cloth
Shadows with shades of velvet
Borders and edges tactile
Spaces glittering and ornate
An elaborate intertwining language
Of touching
A complex dance of bodies
Claustrophobic close
Obscure ornate organs
Lying in a dark net of black stuffs
Needles like obsidian beaks
Braiding sound into
A florid calligraphy of sensations
Rose Point
Point de Neige
Gros Point
Punto in aria

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Lying in a dark net of black stuffs

Needles like obsidian beaks
Braiding sound into
A florid calligraphy of sensations

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Rose

Rose coloured lips swirling around a dark spot
Tasting a baroque sound
Inspired by graffiti in Barcelona
On a corrugated shutter
Inside a temple
Incense in the darkness leads you
To the glint of the gold cloth
The curl of the baroque frame and deep blue gaze

A florid calligraphy of sensations

salmacallerSalma Ahmad Caller is an artist and a hybrid of cultures and faiths. She is drawn to hybrid and ornamental forms, and to how the body expresses itself in the mind to create an embodied ‘image’. UK based, she was born in Iraq to an Egyptian father and a British mother and grew up in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. With a background in art history and theory, medicine and pharmacology, and several years teaching cross-cultural ways of seeing via non-Western artefacts at Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, she now works as an independent artist and teacher.

‘the goldberg variations’ by Chris Murray

scene 1: the goldberg variations

 

a kiosk at the end of a dark train in an abandoned travelyard:
two shadowmen ravel orange round about their nothing much

the magician in his moth coat appears in a vaudeville flourish.
your piano balcony is high above the narrow stone street,

your piano plays the rescued Goldberg,
plays, and plays through its charred pages,

– their black edges.

it is the gothic quarter
men move in their coffins.

 their coffins are white with crosses on (red)
 their coffins are on narrow shelves of (stone)

aside an archivum (shades of gray):
    a shady tree
    an etched stone
    a skull and crossbones

Scene 2 : the goldberg variations

 
 
that indestructible piano!
the undestroyed Goldberg is playing (again)

wending its tones above a skatepark of bullet-glass

(the melody plays, yes).

I see that:
 the romans left their life-size eggs and urns below the city
 stitches pull and sting on the underside of my elbow (pain)

softening the blow here and here
there is no stitching (as again) there was no magician –

he is always the hanged man (stasis)
  or as you (may have) whispered, mercury
 

Scene 3: sphinx

 
 
cat properly addressed as ‘riddle’ is a sphinx,
toothed warm fur claw(ed)

nobly in-dreaming he (of heads)
or of mice maybe (and not silently)

lover (‘not’ properly addressed)
dreams too (elsewhere from here).

he dreams gold or red heads (emanant)
for their reddish auras are tumbrelled
he fingers red…

yes.

sphinx cat lies on my egyptian cottons,
I find the heads,

& my lover’s red
is a wish-tree

the goldberg variations are © Chris Murray and were first published in Poetry Bus Magazine.

‘Popping Candy’ and other poems by Sarah O’Connor

Poemín

 
This poem
Will be
Exquisitely short
 
And
 
Dinkily dedicated
To you.
 

Popularity, Personified

 
Smugness was her scarf,
Inked pinkly, cerisely,
She stroked it smugly.
Smugness was her scarf.
 
Idleness was her chignon,
Gleaming, burnished, shiny
She fondled it idly.
Idleness was her chignon.
 
Cuteness was her weapon,
Trigger fingered, ready,
She cocked it cutely.
Cuteness was her weapon.
 
Blandness was her boyfriend,
Broad-shouldered, dreamy,
She loved blandly.
Blandness was her boyfriend.
 

For Heaney

 
The sorrow’s mine and yours.
It’s all of ours. We shake our heads.
Now, when we want words,
We will rifle and riffle
Through pages printed.
We will thumb-skim his volumes.
We will become accustomed,
And forget to mourn, as we do today,
For his bits of the world welded to
Bits of the meaning of the world.
With those new silvered weldings,
Hand-soldered together by him,
Scudding from him to us.
We will miss his missiles of insight.
 

Tír na nÓg

 
I saw Tír na nÓg
For the first time
Yesterday.
 
From the car, while driving
On the M8, before Thurles.
 
All the plants,
All the trees faced it,
Pulled to it.
 
I felt the pull myself.
The draw.
 
And the island?
A mossy green copse,
Saturated in spring green.
 
On this bright day,
A wisp of mist hung
 
There. Around.
The rounded island
Otherworldly.
 
Ah, the longing.
The longing for it lingers.
 

Offering

 
I would bring you white roses
And mysterious irises
And open sunflowers
If they would let me
 
I would bring you sweet port wine
And hoppy beers
And tiny dry Champagne bubbles
If they would let me
 
I would bring you blissful heat
And cooling showers
And misty hovering bridge fog
If they would let me
 
I would bring you woven blankets
And intriguing ceramics
And all the treasures of this New World
If they would let me
 
But they won’t let me
And I just can’t choose
The best offering for you
So my lines will have to suffice.
 
Please let my lines suffice.
 

Popping Candy

 
Your company is
Like popping candy
Fizzing in my head.
 
Your company is
Like deft acupuncture
Painlessly needling me.
 
You say something
So unexpectedly funny
That I almost snort.
 
How long does
Popping candy last?
Does anyone know?
 
Popping Candy and other poems published here are © Sarah O’Connor.

IMG_4751Sarah O’Connor is originally from Tipperary. She studied in UCC and Boston College, and she now lives in Dublin. She previously worked in publishing and now works in politics. She is 34. She is working on her first novel and on a collection of poetry. She has been published by Wordlegs and The Weary Blues.
 
Sarah O’Connor blogs at The Ghost Station & tweets at @theghoststation.

The Myth and Memory Of Eavan Boland’s Latest Poems by J P O’Malley

I do not often recommend newspaper articles on Irish poetry, but I am making an exception in the case of The Examiner’s review of Eavan Boland’s latest book New and Selected Poems Eavan Boland (Carcanet). J P O’Malley offers an extensive review, some illuminating video links, and a preview of his upcoming interview with Boland at The Boogaloo (London) in this article.

‘The heroic narrative that the founding fathers of the State attempted to make a universal truth is also something that Boland’s poetry has challenged consistently. Lest we forget, the birth of the Irish nationalist myth was forged initially through poetry, which unapologetically glorified violence ‘ (Examiner)

It was a similar situation in the visual arts where censorship was prevalent and the original blasphemy laws (we updated them again in 2010) were used to suppress arts, most notoriously the work of Charles Rouault. We can examine how publications were seized and often censored for crimes like obscenity. The fact that there existed before Boland an entire suppressed narrative, a body of literature by women poets, should not surprise us, although it continues to be forgotten and ignored even today. It would be incredibly naïve of the reader to assume that there existed a desert before Eavan Boland’s work flowered in the 1970’s. The women poets were there but they were ignored by the critical and academic establishment, immersed as they were in the imaginative creation of the state.

I  have added in a brief note on Emma Penney’s thesis at the base of this post which challenges the critical reception of Eavan Boland and the restrictive criteria, developed in the 1970’s, under which poetry by women in Ireland has been assessed. Boland alludes to the suppressed narrative throughout her writing career. We are the land of the suppressed poetic narrative afterall. I believe that some people would like to think that women probably did not write poetry much then, but that’s basically a cop-out based in critical laziness and cultural misogyny. The imaginative creation of ‘state’ seems a task left to the masculine poet and his apologetics professors and there are plenty of those.

“In the mid 1960s, when Boland started out as a writer, there was no place for women in the canon of Irish poetry. Moreover, the chances of making it as a poet seemed impossible when she moved to of Dundrum in south Dublin to raise a family. At the time, novelists like Richard Yates in the US were writing about the slow death of creativity in boring, bourgeois-suburbia.
 
But Boland understood that there are complexities in life worth documenting, if one has the sense to deconstruct them. “I was a woman in a house in the suburbs, married with two small children. It was a life lived by many women around me, but it was still not named in Irish poetry. From the beginning, I knew I would have to put the life I lived into the poems I wrote. If I didn’t I would end up writing someone else’s poem.” (Examiner)


Emma Penney, a graduate of the Oscar Wilde Centre, Trinity College Dublin. Her thesis, Now I am a Tower of Darkness: A Critical History of Poetry by Women in Ireland, challenges the critical reception of Eavan Boland and the restrictive criteria, developed in the 1970’s, under which poetry by women in Ireland has been assessed. She considers the subversive nature of women’s poetry written between 1921 and 1950, and calls into question the critical assumption that Eavan Boland represents “the first serious attempt in Ireland to make a body of poems that arise out of the contemporary female consciousness”. In Object Lessons, Boland concluded that there were no women poets before her who communicated “an expressed poetic life” in their work. Emma’s thesis reveals how this view has permeated the critical landscape of women’s poetry, facilitating an absurd privation of the history of poetry by women in Ireland and simplifying it in the process.

 

 


 

Mary Cecil’s Rathlin Island poems

Adagio for Strings

 
My heart that soared and climbed
To other realms of fantasy
That longs to find the answers
To everything
 
To dream those endless dreams
To drift in waves of oceans
Of oneness complete
And really know
 
In pools of beautiful thought
Transport my soul
Where heaven will be
And let me be
 
© Mary Cecil
 

The Golden Hare

 
Where wild flowers cling
And heather sweetly grows
The magic hare reclines
With fur of glowing gold
 
His spirit of quiet magnificence
In lands of legends born
Where unicorns are dreamt of
And fairies sport in human form
 
To catch a fleeting glimpse
Against the burning sky
A moment in a lifetime
A flash of mystery goes by
 
Where came his golden sheen
That gift from other realms
To add a glowing wonder
Hidden in the ferns
 
So swift he flees
With graceful lops he leaps
Transporting us to mystical lands
To dream of when we sleep
 
© Mary Cecil
Rathlin Island
.

 

Written for Master Daire James Mc Faul of Rathlin Island

 
so wild the seas that flow,
Around his island home
Gently slept a baby,
Waiting to be born
 
Dreaming in his world,
Where perfection waits to be
A Raghery boy is made,
To cross the wildest sea
 
Generations of hardy men,
Created in his bones
A harmony of oceans,
With men from island homes
 
So sleep and dream your days,
The tides will wait for you
To carry you ever onwards,
Towards your faithful crew
 
And you will lay your anchor,
As generations before
Where your footsteps lead you,
Beside the beckoning shore
 
8th December 2014
© Mary Cecil
 

Mystic Days

 
I see you, a shadow in my mind,
Like a half remembered dream,
Drifting in the periphery
Of my consciousness
 
I glimpse you in the sunlight,
Like a song floating in the air
That cannot be captured,
Yet so sweetly enraptures me
 
My mind hesitates,
To escape the illusion of you
Your un-summoned presence,
That embraces my heart
 
Until again you vanish,
Like petals in the wind
The turbulence in your wake,
Tearing the tranquillity of my reverie
 
Yet stay my sweet
In my loving longings,
That we again can be,
In our world together
 
© Mary Cecil
.

profile for poetry picMary Cecil is the mother of large family and Grandmother to eleven. The widow of Rathlin Island’s famous campaigner, diver, author (Harsh winds of Rathlin) Thomas Cecil. Lover of Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland’s only inhabited island. Mary enjoys community development and current events. She has  been writing poetry for several years. Enjoys writing a variety of poems, spiritual, war, romantic, protest and nature. Keen to compose more poems based on Rathlin Island’s myths & legends. She worked in owning andmanaging tourist facilities both on and off Rathlin Island. Public Appointment as Lay Member, The Appropriate Authority, Criminal Legal Aid Board .