‘Cleaving a Puzzle-Tree’ and other poems by Doireann Ní Ghríofa

Cleaving a Puzzle-Tree

 
1.
 
I didn’t see my grandmother’s tree in Chile,
araucaria araucana,
though they grow tall there and are many.
I must have walked under them every day, tripped
over their seeds, but I didn’t think of her, oceans away,
standing in a square of green, raking leaves
around her monkey puzzle tree.
 
2.
 
For over a hundred years, that tree stood between
pruned rosebush and clipped hedge, a long shadow
moving over wet fields and stone walls.
As a girl, I clung to the trunk when we played hide and seek,
rough bark printing maps on my palms.
 
3.
 
In April gales, the tree sways. From the window,
my grandmother watches a chainsaw blade
spin the tree into a flight of splinters,
until only logs and sawdust are left.
In each neat wheel of wood, an eye opens,
ringed by lines of the past. The logs are split,
stacked, the tree turned into armfuls of firewood
which will rise as smoke to the sky,
a puzzle unravelled.
 

Frozen Food

 
In the frozen foods aisle, I think of him
when I shiver among shelves of green flecked
garlic breads and chunks of frozen fish.
I touch the cold door until my thumbs numb.
 
Strangers unpacked his body in a lab
and thawed his hand, watched long-frozen fingers
unfurl one by one, until his fist finally opened,
let go, and from his grasp rolled
a single sloe,
ice-black with a purple-blue waxy bloom.
 

Inside the sloe,
a blackthorn stone.
Inside the stone,
a seed.

 
Standing in the supermarket aisle,
I watch my breath freeze.
 

Museum

 
I am custodian of this exhibition of erasures, curator of loss.
I watch over pages of scribbles, deletions, obliterations,
in a museum that preserves not what is left, but what is lost.
 
Where arteries are unblocked, I keep the missing clots.
I collect all the lasered tattoos that let skin start again.
In this exhibition of erasures, I am curator of loss.
 
See the unraveled wool that was once a soldier’s socks,
shredded documents, untied shoestring
knots — my museum protects not what is left, but what is lost.
 
I keep deleted jpegs of strangers with eyes crossed,
and the circle of pale skin where you removed your wedding ring.
I recall all the names you ever forgot. I am curator of loss.
 
Here, the forgotten need for the flint and steel of a tinderbox,
and there, a barber’s pile of scissored hair. I attend
not what is left, but what is lost.
 
I keep shrapnel pulled from wounds where children were shot,
confession sins, abortions, wildflowers lost in cement.
I am custodian of erasures. I am curator of loss
in this museum that protects not what is left, but what is lost.
 
‘Cleaving a Puzzle-Tree’, ‘Museum’ and ‘Frozen Food’ are © Doireann Ní Ghríofa

DOIREANN b+wDoireann Ní Ghríofa is an award-winning bilingual poet, writing both in Irish and in English. Paula Meehan awarded her the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary 2014-2015. Her collections are Résheoid, Dúlasair (Coiscéim), A Hummingbird, your Heart (Smithereens Press) and Clasp (Dedalus Press). Her work is regularly broadcast on RTE Radio One. Doireann’s poems have previously appeared in literary journals in Ireland and internationally (in Canada, France, Mexico, USA, Scotland and England). Two of her poems are currently Pushcart Prize nominated.
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www.doireannnighriofa.com & DoireannNiG
‘Cleaving a Puzzle-Tree’ and other poems by Doireann Ní Ghríofa

‘Fable’ and ‘Oh Cherry Trees You are Too White For My Heart’ by Doris Lessing

Originally posted on Poethead:

Fable

When I look back I seem to remember singing.
Yet it was always silent in that long warm room.

Impenetrable, those walls, we thought,
Dark with ancient shields.The light
Shone on the head of a girl or young limbs
Spread carelessly. And the low voices
Rose in the silence and were lost as in water.

Yet, for all it was quiet and warm as a hand,
If one of us drew the curtains
A threaded rain blew carelessly outside.
Sometimes a wind crept, swaying the flames,
And set shadows crouching on the walls,
Or a wolf howled in the wide night outside,
And feeling our flesh chilled we drew together.

But for a while the dance went on –
That is how it seems to me now:
Slow forms moving calm through
Pools of light like gold net on the floor.
It might have gone on, dream-like, for ever.

View original 238 more words

‘Fable’ and ‘Oh Cherry Trees You are Too White For My Heart’ by Doris Lessing

‘The House of Altogether Nothing’ & Other poems by Jan Sand

The House of Altogether Nothing

The countryside in which it stands
Is broken with large jagged rocks.
Its trees are dark, from northern lands,
Whose branches scratch the sky; boney bough knocks
One against the other. Cold winds finger through
Odd strands of captured human hair,
Torn newspaper strips look as if they grew
Amongst the leaves to bleakly declare
Of violence and despair. Black groves smell
Of damp decay. They display white fungoid growth
Through which black insects grope, explore a shell
Deserted by a snail that caps its glowing trail. One is loathe
To venture near this place of threats
But winding through dead leaves, broken rubble
Is the path where stumble those, full of regrets,
Replete with fears, burdened with trouble,
Pass to reach the house. Its peaks and walls
Assault the sky like a cataclysmic scream,
Intertwined grotesqueries that captures and enthralls
Those destined to drop into its dream.
The weary travelers approach in single file, one by one,
Trudge to the door which swings open wide.
They know their journey’s almost done.
They tremulously step inside.
Halfway down the long bare hall
Their head is seen to wobble, shake.
Comes now a groan, a gasp. Then the fall.
It thumps and rolls. The arms quake
And drop as well. The torso tumbles,
Then the legs topple like loose lumber.
The parts now chute in sliding jumbles
Through a hole in the floor. Nothing left to encumber
The next traveler. The house re-opens its front door.
The upper stories flicker, luminesce.
Moonlight glistens. Something rises to soar
From out a square chimney – glaucus, incandesce
To dissipate like spectral steam.
Something wakens from a dream.

The House of Altogether Nothing is © Jan Sand

These images are © Jan Sand jan1Death

Rains

There are rains that drag fog skirts
Across the country-side in stealthy hiss,
That, gently, in determination
Dampens down the grass with sodden kiss
Of sky to earth as caring as a mother
Calms her resting child.
There are rains of panicked horses’ hooves
That illuminate their stampede
With angry lightning flashing on black roofs
While trees sway and shudder in dismay
And water demons pound on window panes.
But some rains come and merely sit
And drum in steady patient siege,
Work soft hammers on the dents and wrinkles of the day
Smoothing anger and distress to flat peace,
Tempt shy dreams to peek from hidden thoughts
And welcome in safe surrender to sleep’s release

Rains is © Jan Sand

2 Am

The early black
Is still unstirred
By yawning morning.
The ceiling fills
With predatory thoughts,
Like quiet children
Come to play
Their silent games,
Poking sticks into
Dark passages
Of forgotten memories;
Memories like frightened mice
That scurry off in panic.
The sadly moaning bell
Sixty years ago on a lonely buoy
Shrugging its shoulders
In a choppy sea.
A special purple
Strangely found on both
An apron and a stub of clay
In kindergarten.
The round eyed stare
Frozen to my mother’s face
As cancer pain
Prodded her to certain death.
A pet white rat curled in snooze

On my pillow by my cheek.
The falling crescent moon
Smiles in my window
Like my long gone mother
Soothing me
Back to the peace of sleep.

2 am is © Jan Sand

jan2Jan Sand is originally a New Yorker. Currently a resident of Helsinki, Finland. Having read and enjoyed his poetry at Open Salon, I requested some work for Poethead.

Bio: I am a former industrial designer formerly a New Yorker, now retired and living in Helsinki, Finland. I have been writing poetry for several decades but am more or less unpublished except at a couple of web sites run by acquaintances met on the web. I know no other poets but take up my time with graphics and poetry and innovative cooking and baking and learning Finnish and relating to the wild animals in my area.

 

 

 

 

‘The House of Altogether Nothing’ & Other poems by Jan Sand

Poetry: A Poetry Series at Deep Water Literary Journal

what is beneath ?

 
a scrap of satin – some wood
 
and what is beneath the wood ?
 
dirt, the earth,
it is cold
 
is it alive ?
 
it contains the stir of flowers
it contains the whispering grass
 
and above it all ?

.
some turf
the blue sky
 
what are you listening to ?
 
my dark blood
the heart plays a tattoo
beneath this pale linen
this wool-stuff
 
and ?
 
it listens for the stir of flowers
it hears the grass whisper.
 
What Is Beneath ?’  is © C. Murray

Poetry: A Poetry Series at Deep Water Literary Journal

Three Poems by Müesser Yeniay

Flower Village

 
I learnt how to stand put
from a flower
 
Saw no other sun
drank no other water
 
I recognized my roots as a village
my earth, the sky
 
Seasons passed above me
a nest of ants, bosom friends
 
I learnt how to be a flower
solely… solely standing put
 

Between My Body and the World

 
In my hair, despair is growing longer
its root is in me, however
 
like earth I am smooth
in the center of it
 
if I put my memories in a tent
-and myself in another tent –
 
my eyes are disappearing…
 
I am as if I have gone out a seed
I will go back into that seed
 
I am a footprint of a horseshoe
on the face of daytime
 
between my body and the world
I should put a distance
 

Now Do not Tell Me of Men!

 
My soul hurts so much that
I awaken the stones under the earth
 
My womanhood,
a moneybox filled with stones
a home to worms, woodpeckers
a cave to the wolves climbing down my body
on my arms, new seeds are sprinkled
the man of your life is searched
that is quite a serious matter
 
My womanhood, my cold snack
and my pubic, a home for nothingness,
the world stands here
and you! live with the rubbish thrown into you
 
When he is gone, tell him that flesh leaves nails
that you live with the science of the break
tell him of that serious illness
 
like a lamb skin, I am cold in your gaze
I am not in debt to you your mothers womb, sir!
my womanhood, my invaded continent
 
neither am I a land cultivated…
scratch off the organ that is not mine
like a snake skin, I wish I could drop it
it is not reasonable to be a mother to a murder
 
it is not homeland that is divided
but the body of woman
now, do not tell me of men!

Flower VillageDo Not Tell Me Of men! and Between My Body and the World are © Müesser Yeniay

muesser (1)Müesser Yeniay was born in İzmir,1984. She graduated from Ege University, with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has won several prizes in Turkey including Yunus Emre (2006), Homeros Attila İlhan (2007), Ali Riza Ertan (2009), Enver Gökçe (2013) poetry prizes.
 
Her first book Dibine Düşüyor Karanlık da was published in 2009 and her second book Evimi Dağlara Kurdum is a collection of translation from world poetry. Yeniden Çizdim Göğü was published in 2011. She has translated the poems of Persian poet Behruz Kia under the name of Lalelere Requiem. She has translated Selected Poems of Gerard Augustin together with Eray Canberk, Başak Aydınalp, Metin Cengiz (2011). She has also translated the Personal Anthology of Michel Cassir together with Eray Canberk and Metin Cengiz (2011). Lately, she has published a Contemporary Spanish Anthology with Metin Cengiz and Jaime B. Rosa. She has also published a book on modern Turkish Avant-garde poetry The Other Consciousness: Surrealism and The Second New (2013). Her latest poetry book Before Me There Were Deserts was published in 2014 in İstanbul.
 
Her poems have appeared in the following magazines abroad: The Voices Project, The Bakery, Sentinel Poetry, Yellow Medicine Review, Shot Glass Journal, Poesy, Shampoo, Los Angeles Review of Books, Mediterranean Poetry (USA&England); Kritya (India); Casa Della Poesia, Libere Luci (Italy); Poeticanet, Poiein (Greece); Revue Ayna, Souffle, L’oiseau de feu du Garlaban (France); Al Doha (Qatar); Tema (Croatia).
 
Her poems have been translated into English, French, Serbian, Arabic, Hebrew, Italian, Greek, Hindi, Spanish and Romanian. She participated in the poetry festivals like Sarajevo International Poetry Festival, September 2010 (Bosnia-Herzegovina); Nisan International Poetry Festival, May 2011 (Israel); Belgrad International Poetry Festival, September 2012 (Serbia); Voix Vives International Poetry Festival (Sete), July 2013 (France); Kritya International Poetry Festival, September 2013 (India), Galati/Antares International Poetry Festival, June 2014 (Romania).
 
Müesser is the editor of the literature magazine Şiirden (of Poetry). She is currently pursuing a PhD in Turkish literature at Bilkent University, Ankara, and is also a member of PEN and the Writers Syndicate of Turkey.
Three Poems by Müesser Yeniay