International Dylan Thomas Day 2022 – Poetry (Mauritius)



Celebrating International Dylan Thomas Day 2022

by Vatsala Radhakeesoon (Editor and Organizer, Mauritius)


Dear Poets/ literature-lovers,
Every year International Dylan Thomas Day is celebrated worldwide on 14 May .

I would like to thank Hannah Ellis, granddaughter of Dylan Thomas and Lidia Chiarelli, founding editor of Immagine and Poesia for inviting me to conduct this event on my blog for the third time.

Many thanks to all the 16 poets from various continents who have contributed their works for this special event.

Hope readers will enjoy reading the poems featured here and continue to support Dylan Thomas’s works.

Sending Blessings of peace, love and light to Everyone!



Poems

Ken Allan Dronsfield
USA

Spring on the Beach

Wild rambling roses of a pinkish bloom
dance to the winds down by the sea.
Roots grasping deep in the tall sand dune.

Pussy Willows growing in a grandiose plume.
Cats birds cry from tall shimmering trees.
Pheasant strut in their feathered costume.

Spring is now here, so we all assume.
A white seagull soars in the blue sky above me.
Sunshine’s bright chasing away winter’s gloom.

Nocturnal shadows creep into my room.
I fill my cherished cup with a nice green tea.
Colors fill my mind as twilight now looms.

Essence of lilac, such a lovely perfume.
Soon to be May Day and the wonderful jubilee.
Cleaning the kitchen with a sweep of the broom.

Strong winds blow the sand like a simoom.
I sit on the deck with a glass of Chablis,
lost in thought as my old cat grooms.
The last of the sun’s rays do heavenly illume.

Ken Allan Dronsfield is a disabled veteran and prize winning poet from New Hampshire, now residing in Oklahoma. ​He has six poetry collections to date; ‘The Cellaring’, ‘A Taint of Pity’, ‘Zephyr’s Whisper’, ‘The Cellaring, Second Edition’​, ​‘Sonnets and Scribbles’​ and his latest collaborative book, ‘Inamorata at Twilight​. Ken has been nominated four times for the Pushcart Prize and seven times for Best of the Net. He was First Prize Winner for the 2018 and 2019, Realistic Poetry International Nature Poetry Contests. He has recently begun producing Creative Content on his YouTube channel and has had wonderful success sharing his poetry​ with the social media community​. Ken loves writing, thunderstorms, ​coin collecting ​and spending time with his ​rescued ​cats Willa and Yumpy.

Gopikrishnan Kottoor
India

Caitlin is Back Home

(Recalling the life of poet Dylan Thomas )

I

Laugharne did not expect this, The way things ended.

Late night fights,

Sex, and more beer. Hazy

Fire-fly meanderings And the smallest cigarette stub Crushed by the last flickering post.

II

Bright bricks swim to view, as first light

Bursts to blood. His pug fingers already squat on cork Drowning in early beer foam.

By the blue bay,

The Boathouse is a crab stink, its closet tittering By the old faucet that howls for water.

(Love is crushed on the unwashed bed Where Caitlin sleeps drunken Without her knickers on).

III

Through small burns under the Swansea sky

October birds, the things of light,

Whirl bible-black into the overgrown child Whose coat pocket drips salt,

Of bright sea ferns washed ashore.

So, when she comes in stomping the crucifix

To ‘Is the bloody man dead?’

The snail horns of his coma in quiet vapor Have shut the chained mouth of the singing sea.

IV

And he waited, glowing white upon the hill,

His small curls growing wild under Until they caught and wound the lost bitch Fused to his waiting bones.

It was not to lie at all to each other again

But just to lie face to face

Beyond poetry and other lies,

Among a dozen slugs

Waking blind to darkening clay,

And he no more asking to get back to Browns For one mug, for Caitlin, with no more hops in her hair, Is back home, her cartwheeling done.


Gopi kottoor’s recent poems appear in Best Asian Poetry 2021, The Year book of Indian Poetry in English  2020, among others. He has won national prizes for his poetry.

He has an online journal

www.chipmunk.co.in 

Website: gopikottoor.blogspot.com 

Watsapp. 91 9567424832 

Linda Imbler
USA

Is Dark Really Right?

In the stilly night, we reviewed our lives,
recalled our best treks through the deepest dells,
through steep wooded valleys called The Dingle.


Handed glad tidings to watchmen we passed,
smiling through dreams, strolling in the green mead,
through aged eyes, searched for high empyrean.


Wondered our fate as the ether darkened,
strove to espy all that made life favored,
tried to keep our thoughts from going afar.

Yet, the sun set with all celerity,
cold seeped into bones, turned corpses niveous.
We were warned such gelid fate would happen.

The best son of Wales gave us the caution,
do not go gently, we should have listened.


Linda Imbler is the author of five paperback poetry collections and four e-book collections (Soma Publishing.) 

This writer lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband, Mike the Luthier, several quite intelligent saltwater fish, and an ever-growing family of gorgeous guitars. Learn more at lindaspoetryblog.blogspot.com.

Juliet Preston
USA

Even when there is no star

The torture of 
ordinary everyday life.

Yet bestowed on you,
a gift of rhythmic ballads.


Such spirit comes alive in
Fern Hill,
Under Milk Wood, 
Light breaks where no sun shines.

When did it begin that 
the passage of time became too much to bear?

Did you find liberation in alcohol, or an escape?
What happened to your dream?

When the sky grows dark
and stars are hidden, 
your words of “do not go gentle into that good night”…

Still shines like the neon blue light even when there is no star.


Juliet Preston is a poet at heart, an artist by passion and an engineer by profession.


Heath Brougher
USA


24 Hours in Llareggub 

(Dylan Thomas was one of the consummate artists to ever pick up a pen. The following poem was inspired by his masterfully delicious play “Under Milk Wood”—a play that bears the hallmarks of a True Artist. In fact, it looks as if Dylan Thomas is asleep. Let’s hang him on the wall!) 

We sit upon the moonlessly quiet 
nighttime hills of Llareggub 
and watch the dreams 
and conversations fall upward. 
They flow unfailingly cosmically 
into the luminiferous ether—
the hefty nightwhispers of a blind captain hearing his drowned crew speak again. 
In this world it’s ok to laugh at the Mares.
Even the voices would agree.
At noon we bring jelly and poems to the sick.

The warming words “fach your life!” 
ring in a vibration 
of a married-on-a-daily basis halfhurrah 
in the Swanseaesque morning 
as I try to fit the sheer Everythingnessism 
of a particular speaking portrait
into my hatshapped head:

oddly insidish jokes 

the upside down frown of gossamer goatbeards 

we know the Earth will eventually 

arrest itself for having so many babies

sparrows and daisies strung out on buttermilk and whippets 

here comes that tangent wave!

I was gutted when I saw how knackered and legless you became from the twee amount of alcohol you half-fisted. All of us, the equestrian included, were ripely angry after you called bagsy during your vomitriddled verbal Dadaist screed on butterfly nets only to kip once you floundered your flabby way into the driver seat. Even the headless horse will confirm the  bloody bloody mess you left us in. We had to hire a team of polar bears to pull the car home. Two of the wafer-thin icebergs they lived on snapped in half as they fell dropdead into the frozen antivelvet water stale with cooked lime and rust and soot and rotten vegetables that populate the warped mutation of modern existence. 

Still, the voices continue throughout the day to eve. 
We wink at Finnegan and continue 
letting our dreams and thoughts uprise.
Luckily beauty is still legal in Llareggub.

We bask in knowing how to get lost in the sadly beautiful bizarreness of our da(ze)ys.

If God is Love then Love must be God—

if only God hadn’t taken that Phentonyl of idiots of ideas and the Daid Day could’ve held a trifle of the fissure of fusion among the outlandish wonder on that particular pocket of proximity.

Heath Brougher is the Editor-in-Chief of Concrete Mist Press and co-poetry editor of Into the Void, winner of the 2017 and 2018 Saboteur Awards for Best Magazine. He received Taj Mahal Review’s 2018 Poet of the Year Award and is a multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. He was awarded the 2020 Wakefield Prize for Poetry. He has published 11 books and, after spending over two years editing the work of others, is ready to get back into the creative driver seat. He has four books forthcoming in 2022

Lidia Chiarelli
Italy

Water Prayer

to Dylan, Son of the Sea

Seagulls and restless rooks
challenge the wind
on this winter morning.

Under a pearl sky
the waves sing the rising sun –
the first glimpse of light on the horizon
fades too soon.

Here and now
Dylan’s words resound:
The waters of the heart
push in their tides…*

And from the ancient cliff
I pause and listen to
the voice of the sea:

a water prayer

that softly evaporates
among the fleeing clouds.

* From: light breaks where no sun shines


Lidia Chiarelli is one of the Charter Members of  Immagine & Poesia, the art literary Movement founded in Torino (Italy) in 2007 with Aeronwy Thomas, Dylan Thomas’ daughter.

Installation artist and collagist. Coordinator of #DylanDay in Italy.

She has become an award-winning poet since 2011. Six Pushcart Nominations (USA).

Her writing has been translated into different languages and published in more than 150 Poetry magazines, and on web-sites in many countries.

https://lidiachiarelli.jimdofree.com/


Dustin Pickering
USA

Distant Music

“I like your letters like whiskey and cherries and smoke and honey…”

-letter from February 11, 1937 to Emily Holmes Coleman


We drink each others’ love berries
and fall drunk into immortality.
Our anniversary was your sunbath–
and o! Love, do you know prayers?

How can we speak to the Divine Utterance
if we cannot speak to one another?
Distant in time, the afterglow warms
our engagements on tables of conversation.

Were we the light from the candelabra 
or were we some distant music from the sea?
O Love, why do we no longer need each other?


Dustin Pickering is founder of Transcendent Zero Press and founding editor of Harbinger Asylum. He has contributed writing to Huffington PostCafé Dissensus EverydayThe Statesman (India), Journal of Liberty and International AffairsThe Colorado ReviewWorld Literature Today, and several other publications. He is a Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee. He placed in the top 100 out of 12,500 entries for the erbacce prize in 2021, and was a finalist in Adelaide Literary Journal’s first short fiction contest. He was also honored by the Friends of Guido Gozzanno. He hosts the popular interview series World Inkers Network on Youtube. 

Manuel Renaud
France


Fear Not

Fear not my Beloved
Fear not my sweet Darling
I will stay in the distance
I will return to silence
I will keep grief a secret
This wound always opens
I will hide it from your eyes
Whether time comes
The industrious
With ardour, him, the obstinate
Whether absence lasts by my side
Fear not my Dulcinea
Fear not my Heart
However long solitude had been
However, cruel it had been
I wouldn’t have ceased loving you



Manuel Renaud is a French musician and poet. He writes lyrics and excels in playing various musical instruments such as the guitar, bass, ukulele and mandolin. He also teaches guitar, bass and singing. His passion for poetry originated when he was at school. At the age of 14, he was awarded a prize at school for his outstanding achievement in French language. The prize comprised of Les Oeuvres Complètes d’Arthur Rimbaud (The Complete Works of Arthur Rimbaud).
When he was much younger, he was much influenced by British pop music. This roused his eagerness to learn and understand English. So, firstly he wrote lyrics in English and French. Then afterwards, he seriously started writing poems and still keeps writing regularly.

He’s been already published twice in French by Les Éditions Inclinaison :

– 2018, Des mots pour le voyage

– 2019, Retour au centre du monde.

He has also been published in English by Leaky Boot Press (U.K) :

2019, Beatlemania (and other real tales).

Santosh Bakaya
India

What is the metre of the dictionary?
[For Dylan Thomas]


You were a short story writer, poet, a playwright,
a literary artist, I admired so much.
Reading your words such a pure delight.
 Astounded by your obsession with words,
half rhyme, rhythm and sound, so profound.
I tried to emulate you in my poetry so -called,
embarrassingly appalled by my own audacity.
Especially entranced by the texture of sound
of that October poem [The name slips my memory]
Ah, now I remember, ‘Especially when the October wind’.

No, your imagery was not ‘overweighted
or leading to ‘incoherence’, as you confessed.
What is the metre of the dictionary?
You asked in Altarwise by Owl- Light,
and urged your father to ‘rage against the dying of the light,’
in that most popular villanelle, ‘Do not go gentle into the good night’.

 
That satirical piece, ‘A letter to My Aunt
discussing the correct approach to modern Poetry’,
was my favourite.
I can still visualize you mentoring your aunt,
tongue firmly wedged in your cheek.
The paths are hard and you are not
A literary Hottentot
Do not forget that ‘limpet’ rhymes
with strumpet in these troubled times,
And commas are the worst of crimes;
Few understand the works of Cummings,
And few James Joyce’s
mental
slummings,
And few young Auden’s coded chatter,
But then it is the few that matter.”

Well, this poem was a part of my growing up years.
Was this the time when I got hooked on to rhymed verse?

Pray, tell me, why did you die at such a young age?
Why didn’t you rage, rage
Rage against the dying of the light,
as you had so poignantly exhorted your father?
Rather timid of you. I must say.
Thirty nine is no age to die!
Why were you
in such a hurry to reach that final rendezvous?
Fie on you,
Fie on you Death!


Critically acclaimed for her poetic biography of Mahatma Gandhi, Ballad of Bapu [Vitasta, 2015], Dr. Santosh Bakaya, an academic, poet, novelist, essayist, recipient of the International Reuel Award for literature for her long poem, Oh Hark! [2014], the Universal Inspirational Poet Award [ Pentasi B Friendship Poetry and Ghana Government, 2016,] the Bharat Nirman Award for literary Excellence[ 2017], the Setu Award, 2018,  [Pittsburgh, USA] ‘in recognition of a stellar contribution to world literature. Keshav Malik award 2019 ‘for her entire staggeringly prolific and quality conscious oeuvre’, is also a TEDx speaker whose talk on The Myth of Writers’ Block is popular in creative writing classes.
She runs a column, Morning Meanderings in Learning and Creativity website, which is now a n e-book. [Blue Pencil, 2020]


Other books:

  Where are the lilacs? [Poems, Authorspress 2016]
 Flights from my Terrace [Essays, Authorspress, 2017 ]  
Under the Apple Boughs [Poems, Authorspress, 2017]  
A Skyful of Balloons [ Novella, Authorspress, 2018 ]  
Bring out the tall tales [short stories with Avijit Sarkar, Authorspress, 2019 ] 
Only in Darkness can you see the stars
[ A biography of Martin Luther King Jr, Vitasta, 2019  ] 
Songs of Belligerence [ Poems, AuthorsPress, 2020 ]
Her e-books, published by Blue Pencil, Vodka by the Volga, with Dr. Ampat Koshy,
and From Prinsep Ghat to Peer Panjal with Gopal Lahiri are amazon bestsellers.   
Runcible Spoons and Pea-green Boats is her latest book [Authors Press, 2021]

William Thomas Fearby
UK

Dylan Thomas

Your words were like pure nectar
Sent down from the heavens above
Spoken only to your guarded ears
Of mortal men and love

Your words all fell together in rhymes all so sweet
Laid down in droves of passion and heartache
The likes never before we would ever encounter
The mold you were truly destined to eventually break

You were born before your time an enigma of the day|
Your words were like satin ribbons tripping from your soul
Filling the world with gems of literature 
Making all our lives feel complete and whole

Your poetic lines hooked me like a trout in midstream
I was mesmerised by your storytelling
It painted vivid images in my eager mind
The world will always be grateful 
Of the great legacy that you left behind

The world will never forget your name
You were a genius long before your time
Dylan Thomas the pride of the valleys|
Your life will be remembered 
Through your beautiful words and rhymes.

William T Fearby is a Poet/Writer born on the 10th of May 1951.
He left school in 1966 at the age of fifteen to make his way in this World with no qualifications. All that he had was the determination to succeed. He grew up as a child of the 50s and 60s and carved his way in this world with a young wife and children from a one roomed bed sitter working two jobs for years to eventually owning his own business and buying their own four-bedroom house. In 2013 he unfortunately became ill and had to give up his business. Then, he took up the pen and started to write choosing health over Wealth, a step that he had wished he had done many years ago.

He started a poetry group on Facebook in 2017 and called it Poems of Life to promote his poetry. It has been so popular. Now, it has grown to over 240,000 members. He has been published in various online publications and magazines. He has also published his first book  called Poems of Life and it is available on Amazon.

Nell Jones
Australia

In Ceremony of a Fire Raid Past

The 21st Century’s future is the past,
Darkness brings the resurrection,
And the entrance of bear and beast,
Perpetuity dressed in old aged robes,
Arrives to raid with vengeful pillage,
To deliver us Caine, reborn,
In renewed defiance, to stain the earth.

Through Dylan’s words,
We witnessed London’s child, burning,
In fire raid ceremony,
An elegy to the first life lost.
His verse to Mankind, told of what we had done.

At nightfall,
We shoot the stars again,
from wars weary sky,
To our future in the past.

Profound and sombre, his voice,
Called to us in melancholy, for the comets,
To cast out the rapacious robes of imperial dictators,
And rip them from the dry crumbling earth,
Instead gift liberty, to the innocent sunflower in new bloom.


Through Dylan’s eyes,
We are ruined in,
The erupting future in his vision past.
The nightingale shows no sorrow,
Only bravery to the machinery of war.
A requiem sings in loud voices to the
Hypocrisy of long arms,
In reprisal for the husk of generations undone,
Shackled and forced into the glory of the murdered night.

His prose,
Plays out on the stage once more,
The half-covered faces bound and buried in ditches,
In landscape, boasting mass and single grave,
Dug deep into Europe’s epic wound.

But his thoughts,
Have passed through us like rushing water,
And the rippling companion of the past,
Pools the future in still silence,
To wear a vacant blank stare for the ominous cloud.
Spring torn from the ebb and flow,
Drifts from peaceful, blue slumbered sleep,
Woken in milky white breath,
To fall from the sky,
Into black abyss,
Slaughtered at the altar once more,
A lamb buried into the constant earth. 

Through his words, but not alone,
We have shrouded the small child with elegy,
Her demise for decades, rewarded with medals and marches.
On the bloodied streets of Bucha’s last dawn,
A town laments without song,
Forgotten in,
The snow-covered cinders, that ignited the siege,
Forgotten in ceremony of a fire raid, past.

Nell Jones (Daniella) was born in Adelaide in 1964. She has Dutch and Welsh heritage. Writing since the age of 12, Nell had her first play, Dead Man’s Alley, a work focused on the plight of homeless men living on the streets of Melbourne, performed at the Nimrod Theatre, Sydney, a second play, The Blind Forty, set on the Torrens River during the Depression in Adelaide, performed at the Seymour Centre, Sydney. She has been the recipient of a Master Writers Grant, from the Australia Council and has written several other plays for youth theatres and schools, as part of her role as a drama teacher and director in those organisations. Nell has published many works over the years, including Jack and Lily, a chronicle of short war stories and poetry. Nell’s first novel, The Lost Sister of Groningen, based on the life of her mother in WW2 and 1950’s Australia, was launched at the Tap Gallery in Sydney in 2010. It was later launched at the Ubud Readers and Writers Festival in 2011. Her second novel, A Token for Perry was launched by Libby Hathorn in Sydney at the 371 Gallery Marrickville. Her poetry volume, The Sky Is My Religion was also launched in Ubud Reader’s and Writer’s Festival in 2012 and with the support of the UWRF, was opened by Australian writer Libby Hathorn. Nell performed her poetry daily with Balinese musicians and dancers in an art space in Ubud, with paintings that were specially created to reflect her poetry volume. At the opening she performed with Balinese dancers and a 30-piece orchestra as part of the Ubud Readers and Writers Festival celebrations. She had poems published last year for the ‘How Time Has Ticked A Heaven Around the Stars,’ E book Poetry Anthology, by Infinity Books as part of Dylan Day celebrations and was featured on a poster with her haiku poem. Poem, Blazing Star for Dylan, was also featured on Vatsala Radhakeesoon’s blog, for Dylan Day Poetry Celebrations in 2021.

Nell has two degrees in education and lives by the sea in Newcastle, Australia. In 2021 she retired from teaching and is a full-time writer. She has just completed an Artist in Residency placement at Lighthouse Arts in Newcastle in 2022, while working on her third novel, Patience Perry.

Please go to her website to find out more

www.thelostsister.ning.com

Melissa Chappell
USA

At Fourteen, a First Reading of “Fern Hill”

after Dylan Thomas’ “Fern Hill”


At fourteen,
the tenebrous river
Enoree flowed through me,
child of fleeing light.
Natural isolationist,
I curled in my room
on my old, sagging bed
with the grass green
embroidered spread,
books bleeding
stanzas and rhyme,
flowing free verse,
the comfort of a sonnet.

The cricket song outside
had nearly lulled me to a dream,
until I read, lastly, a page
held too close to the sun,
Now as I was young and easy
under the apple boughs…
These words, in this poem,
reached inside, rearranging
my senses into a crevasse,
so many were my emotions,
so deep they were that
I feared I may not be able to
hold them all close.

Yet I feared that I might;
that I would be torn apart
by sheer beauty,
ripped by this terrible grace,
To drown in it,
To plunge my
sorrowing spirit in it,
was all I wanted to do.
Deep and deeper still,
take me there,
filling every sense that
I can bear.


And the sabbath rang slowly
in the pebbles of holy streams.
This was my sabbath,
holy words descending,
dripping, settling,
into the un-nameable me.
What language shall I borrow,
“Fern Hill,” you bringer of
windfall light, whose pages,
now thin as water, first
found me in my frustrated
cocoon of a girl,
and finds me now, silvering
and tender still, in
deep sabbath walks,
through fire green as grass,
passing the fields of praise,
one day to ascend the swallow
thronged loft.

Yet for now, for now,
I will lay me down in the
holy streams, passing cold,
to one day be awakened
to these words, forever fled, into
the rivers of gossamer light.

Melissa Chappell is a poet and writer residing in South Carolina, USA. She gains much of her inspiration from the natural world around her. Her poems have been published in BlazeVox, Adelaide Literary Journal, and Amethyst Literary Journal, among others. Her most recent  book  was For the Next Earth (Wipf and Stock, 2021). She was a Pushcart Nominee,and has been recognized on a few other occasions for her poetry and non-fiction. She is grateful to the many in the literary community who have helped her along her continuing journey to become a poet and writer, One spring day, she hopes to pack her bags and travel to Spain.

\

Don Beukes
France/South Africa

Good Night, Dylan

Dear Dylan – Your love light for life inspires us still to this day
as we float on the updraft of your literary legacy continuing to drink
your lexical cocktails of symbols and images of nature sublime,
closing our eyes to see through you the inspiration for your word weaving
universe as you dip your toes once more in the waters of Swansea, making
us see your longing for belonging in a universe where love lives and thrives
within your poetic lines whilst you search for the meaning of life itself or who
to trust in order to to avoid sliding into the abyss of humanity’s ignorance of
promoting equality amongst communities to establish a cohesive mindset where
literary liberty reigns supreme, free from binding constraints preventing you 
from speaking your mind, so we bid you a restful night as you rage against the
dying of the night whilst we ponder about the wonder of your universe.


Love Light – You love light as you raise your eyes to the morning of your
mourning but the shadows of death only darken your mood temporarily –
Blinding your joy, yet you refuse to be engulfed in sorrow as you chase a
new morrow, hoping for us to follow along that cliff path where a priestly
heron echo your deepest lamentations and frustrations, so you find sweet
peace in the rush of the waves crashing over your fears and pains, knowing
and hoping to continue believing that death has no dominion over you
as you gently slip into another endless revelatory embattled accusatory night.


Symphony of Humanity – You lament our discontent with futile senseless
wars causing generational eternal scars as we become mere fragments of 
ourselves in the search for the meaning of life – Who we are or who we were
meant to be but we are not afforded such luxury to gain insight into our 
reason for being so we internalise our obvious inevitable deterioration as
we prepare half-heartedly for our aging minds yet grasping on to the belief
that our grief is inevitable, so when we ponder about the wonder of your
words, let me tell how your soul still echoes in our hearts as we walk each 
day to the beat of your heartbeat still making sense of this existence, whilst
wishing you a restful peaceful and calm good night and a heartfelt bon a nuit…


Don Beukes is a British and EU Poet and writer, originally from Cape Town, South Africa. He is a Poetry Chapbook Reviewer at The Poetry Café. He has written Ekphrastic Poetry since 2015 collaborating with artists internationally. He is the author of ‘The Salamander Chronicles’, ‘Icarus Rising-Volume 1’ (ABP), an ekphrastic collection and ‘Sic Transit Gloria Mundi’ (Concrete Mist Press) and ‘The Girl in the Stone’ (Impspired). He taught English and Geography in both South Africa and the UK. His poetry has been anthologized in numerous collections and translated into Afrikaans, Persian, French, Kreol (Mauritius) and Albanian. He was nominated by Roxana Nastase, editor of Scarlet Leaf Review for the ‘Best of the Net’ in 2017 as well as the Pushcart Poetry Prize (USA) in 2016. He was published in his first SA Anthology ‘In Pursuit of Poetic Perfection’ in 2018 (eBook) (Libbo Publishers) and his second, ‘Cape Sounds’ in 2019 (Gavin Joachims Publishing Cape Town). He is also an amateur photographer and his debut Photographic publication appeared in Spirit Fire Review in June 2019.

Lauren Scharhag
USA


Naked They Shall Be One

Is the bloody man dead yet?

When he met the blue-eyed dancer, he didn’t even know
how to prepare his own eggs, this poet,
whose brain was already spinning immortal verse
when he was still a lad, which just goes to show
the untrustworthy nature of organs, foremost the loins
that speed bodies to the mattress, genetic drivers
urging us to reach for what the Yanks call firewater,
flame chasing flame, tongue and larynx caressing eardrums
over the BBC airwaves, and from either end, these candles
devour each other. Let’s see which one of us immolates first,
my love, which one of us succumbs to this mutual flux. After all,
old poets neither die nor fade away, even if their lungs
are liquifying, even if they’re left blue and gasping, dark
as his mythical namesake, fly blown, on dry land drowning, 
latter-day Son of the Wave, and gentles writhing hatch to bear
his pall into that good night. Thirty-nine years of sucking on inhalers
the way he sucks down eighteen shots in one sitting,
a belly full of mash, a chest full of slag.

And when his friends were called to war, he called himself,
with clever synecdoche, an unreliable lung,
too sick to serve his country but well enough to blitz his liver
like the Luftwaffe levelled Castle Street.
The ancient Egyptians believed the liver was the seat of love,
and she called their relationship raw, red bleeding meat,
and she called the bar their altar. She could never trust a man
who didn’t partake at least a little in the sacramental hooch,
coming to love the taste even of his rotgut sputum. One might say
that love will flush these toxins from our souls,
but still we wear these carcasses, still we’re weighted down
by aches and glands, and we, conjoined at the frailties,
could never truly hope to separate.


They said it was the pollution that did him in,
that late autumn at St. Vincent’s,
over two hundred dead of smog, and such a man as this–
no tube poked through Adam’s apple could ever suffice
to infuse him with air enough to fuel another thirty-nine years.
Neither the first nor the last artist to famously check out
of the Chelsea, just another tragic soul among all the suicides,
the Sids and Nancies, and the Titanic ghosts.
(Though we were Spungen and Vicious long before
anarchy ever came to the UK.) And while he lay
dreaming at the threshold of death’s kingdom, she sat,
straitjacketed in detox.


And from this pyre we shall be delivered,
borne on smoke and ash and whiskey fumes,
to that place that holds no dominion,
to the place of darkness and transparency,
where mad and sane are the same,
where sober and drunk are the same,
where fury and joy are the same,
where foot and elbow are the same,
where daisies and hammers are the same,
where fall and rise, where love and loss,
where what is and what could have been, 
and all and nothing are the same,
and the broken sun yet shines above
and the drowning dead may laugh again, 
and there, my love, with no lips to drink,
you and I naked shall be one. 

Lauren Scharhag (she/her) is an associate editor for GLEAM: Journal of the Cadralor, and the author of thirteen books, including Requiem for a Robot Dog (Cajun Mutt Press) and Languages, First and Last (Cyberwit Press). She has had over 200 publications in literary venues around the world. She is the recipient of the Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Contest Award (finalist) and the Seamus Burns Creative Writing Prize. She has also been nominated for multiple Best of the Net, Pushcart Prize, and Rhysling Award nominations. She lives in Kansas City, MO. To learn more about her work, visit: 
www.laurenscharhag.blogspot.com




Tony Carty
Ireland

To Dylan Thomas

Those whispering Welsh valleys laid bare upon his soul
His words enkindled many with passion truth and whole. 
Vast amounts of tenderness reached deeply in his wounds
The solitude of plentiness
Golden sands and dunes
A legacy of literature encapsulates his mind 
A momentary genius
Rhythmic beauty- bind.

Tony Carty was  born in Dublin in 1961. He has written poetry and is involved in various poetry groups, mainly on Facebook. He is honoured to be a member of ILA magazine. (International Literature & the Arts).  Tony currently lives in Crumlin, Dublin and is a musician in a Blues and Rock band.

Sekhar Banerjee
India

Probably Geranium

I need a cane chair on a plot of land somewhere,
a small place,
may be in the provinces
where buildings are lower than a tree’s canopy
when I finally give up


Every place has its own flaws, like us
Some are permanently doubtful; history made them
what they are
and the tourists search out what is still left

There needs to be vastness in front
like an ancient morning harmonium :
solid, luminous and musical. A hillock, a placid sea,
some flower tubs, probably red geranium,
or a sun-filled expanse of the ferns.
Though my scratched eye glass can look on
for nothing in particular
when I underline every other paragraph of a book
on poetry criticism and solitude


With a blue pencil made of olive wood             
I would pick out and feel
simple antonyms : day/night, black/white,
female/ male, life/death
while the warm sun snuggles up on my lap
like a sleepy feline, home-bound
at last

Sekhar Banerjee is a Pushcart Award nominated poet for 2021.  The Fern-gatherers’ Association (Red River, 2021) is his latest collection of poems. He has been published in Indian Literature, The Bitter Oleander, Ink Sweat and Tears, The Lake, Muse India, Kitaab, Better Than Starbucks, Bengaluru Review, Cafe Dissensus, Thimble Literary Magazine, The Tiger Moth Review, Outlook ,The Alipore Post, RIC Journal and elsewhere. He has a monograph on an Indo-Nepal border tribe to his credit. He is a former Secretary of Paschimbanga Bangla Akademi under the Government of West Bengal. He has recently co-edited The Brown Critique’s ‘Home’ anthology.  He hails from Jalpaiguri — an old tea town in sub-Himalayan West Bengal. He lives in Kolkata.

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