Born and raised in Romania, Mihaela Melnic later moved to Italy. Her first attempt to writing poetry occurred in 2011 and her prose and poetry are in constant evolution, taking different shapes with every new life experience.
Her first poetry collection, Change of Seasons was published in 2018.
In 2021, Mihaela wrote and published in co-authorship with Scott Thomas Outlar, the book entitled Evermore. She is currently working on her third poetry book, Layers of rust and life. Links to her published works in various literary venues and anthologies can be found on her website : https://telluricverse.wordpress.com/poems
Here are some poems and a short story by Mihaela Melnic:
In the Wheat Field
Alone in the room where the dark walls shrink, where the ceiling sinks underneath the ground and the mirrors turn into shards that watch, I figure myself in a wheat field with crows under violent brush strokes| of a painter’s madness in times that are gone.
Each shard, a memento. The crows in flight, a sweet lento. The blows of wind, an impression. Each breath, soul’s departure.
(From the book, Change of Seasons)
I consecrate this page to you for your black wings gleaming in the cars’ headlights.
Once, you must have flown higher than my imagination.
Erected now on the sidewalk, you guard a newspaper kiosk gone ablaze during a blink of your eye.
You greet me with the smile of a raven imbued in lores and history that is soaring in its own sky embodied in a nomad.
I bet you have green eyes and a soul that is white that melts and seeps through the cracks of my shaken spirit, becoming a splinter that I’d rather not pull out.
I think of those who once were alive as I twist two coins in my pocket.
They sound like rust being scraped off from the key that opens the door to the afterlife.
If Time is ours, ours are the pleasures ours are the struggles| ours are the heartbeats for us, from the others.
Ours are the glances those glances we capture in the eyes’ golden flecks, in the grains of sand of us, human hourglasses.
In electric nights let us not pine away before the liquid crystals beneath the moon in fever that knows all our secrets.
If Time is ours, then let us release the stars from our grasp and take instead the bull by its horns or the reins in hand and a deep breath let’s take!
(From the book, Evermore)
Impervious, brackish realities made of roots torn from the origins, mentality transplants, inhuman efforts, dangling shreds of goals reachable or not.
My spirit seems to be changing in the eyes of life itself that peers my every move in amused amazement
waiting for me to become aware of the nothingness beyond it, | an abyss that will undoubtedly be my boundless home
or maybe it already is while my ear is endlessly strained towards that last, fatal toll.
( An unpublished excerpt from the manuscript, Layers Of Rust And Life scheduled to come out soon.)
And in closure, the short story “The Greatest Conquest” published by Mad Swirl
The Greatest Conquest
For years Milton stood there on my shelf with the sword of St. Michael stuck between ivory pages that are dripping with demonic blood. Yesterday, I picked up the black book of Good and Evil and was resolute to read it thoroughly to better understand the military strategies described in there. I bet Milton displayed great wit. Besides, I always loved English humour.
But then, I don’t know how, I opened it at random and my eyes set on a few lines of Book Second, page 63, and who did I find there? Mammon yearning to dethrone the King of Heaven!
Unbelievable stuff. Hot as hell. I closed the book because I needed to ponder a bit. Too much information in one line.
A flashback of myself reading a cluster of books fulminated me at some point. The SS books, written by A, B, C, etc, some of which by the hand of X, credited though to Z, but only because there is not enough evidence to believe the opposite, in which a people, led by Mr. Y, one gritty, strong in his own way but damn jealous guy, desired to possess other people’s things and territories.
Not even once did Mr. Y bother to say: “Guys, listen to me, I may be a man of war but only up to a certain point. I no longer feel like razing the peaceful peoples we keep coming across during our constant march to find the land that I promised you. We should not scorch these florid hills, rather we should sip with our glances the wild swaying of the desert’s dunes that seem to dance like a woman crazed in her hips in the clutches of the blowing wind. We should go camping elsewhere and set up a luxuriant village up there, look, over there up North or down South. We’ll create it out of nothing, like father did. Come, let’s do it, we’ll have some fun!”
No, Mr. Y never said that.
It never occurred in those bloody pages that Mr. Y ever drew back from the possibility of pulling out his arsenal and settling his tent and his people into countless lands that didn’t belong to them by right. He used the criteria of a chess player caught between tough decisions on his monstrous chessboard. But these are details of little importance.
Thus, I’m afraid I’m done with Milton for now, and with Mr. Y. I’ll probably continue to ignore many things because I didn’t give Milton many chances to make me laugh and expose his war theories, and the cluster of SS horrified me before I even got to read the Apocalypse.
Once I settled Milton back on its shelf, I glanced at my cat thinking at this bitch called Life.
Life nowadays is not easy. We are guests of honor in the Covid-19 Global Pandemonium.
Some provident people have already had the epitaph “Vissi” engraved on their tombs, wisely rented a long time ago for the next one hundred years. Not without reason, but because they’ve heard that it’s good to invest in something if you had a bit of common sense and a little money left. And if you’ve been good in this life, they say, you slip straight into that peaceful dimension where seraphs have been humming their chants ever since they were invented. If you’ve been bad, you end up elsewhere and once there… The more you invested here, the more you’ll have there, they say. For better or for worse.
Maybe I should not linger among those soft clouds and tremendous circles that are fruit of recent fantasy. Mr. Y. never said anything like that.
We have a Bio Beast to deal with.
No more time for digging graves to ensure ourselves a piece of land. The pandemic worked its fulminant way throughout the globe and swept away every shovel that ever dug a hole. Mr. Y. has no idea of what’s going on here and now or he’d take the scales in his own hands, perhaps. But discerning fables from reality is our duty alone, thus, let’s stick to what we know. And we know the beauty and the purity that spring out from the ones we love. Each gesture for a good purpose makes us conquer life anew every single day when we move forward like St. Michael’s sword that tears into shreds every evil, every virus ever created by an entity higher or lower than us .
Ann Christine Tabaka was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize in Poetry. She is the winner of Spillwords Press 2020 Publication of the Year, her bio is featured in the “Who’s Who of Emerging Writers 2020 and 2021,” published by Sweetycat Press. She is the author of 15 poetry books, and 1 short story book. She lives in Delaware, USA. She loves gardening and cooking. Christine lives with her husband and four cats. Her most recent credits are: Eclipse Lit, Carolina Muse, Sparks of Calliope; The Closed Eye Open, North Dakota Quarterly, Tangled Locks Journal, Wild Roof Journal, The American Writers Review, Burningword Literary Journal, Muddy River Poetry Review, The Silver Blade, Pomona Valley Review, West Texas Literary Review, The Hungry Chimera, Sheila-Na-Gig, Fourth & Sycamore.
Here are some poems and a micro- story by Ann Christine Tabaka:
What else can be so beautiful as love shared between friends?
Warm summer days stretched out horizon to horizon.
Remembering sunshine rainbow laughter
Shared secrets & bottles of wine, as winter painted a snowy landscape beyond our windowsill.
Embracing across a universe that knows no time nor space.
Footsteps into an uncertain future, handholds upon an unforgotten past.
Forevers that lasted forever, tomorrows that may not come.
Yesterdays that glued us, in an eternal bond.
* Published by Qutub Minar Review, April 2022
Learning to Climb the Mountain
I read a book once: The Fear of Flying. It was not about flying at all. I climbed a mountain, spread my wings and tried to soar. The cat thought I was crazy as I tumbled to the ground. I was twenty then. I did not know my power yet.
Life lingered on the cusp, the old man shed his beard. Tides ran their rhythms with the moon. I idled away my life in snips and dreads, always going the wrong way, then doubling back. I was forty then, still turning pages to discover who I was.
I visited a Greek Garden once. It was not in Greece. I rushed home to plant my seeds among the thorns. The sparrows were dismayed that Doric columns did not grow. I was too old then. Too many years had crumbled beneath my feet.
* Published by The Squawk Back Magazine, November 2021
He Flies His Cage
I have no idea how birds fly. I cannot see their wings beat past my own gaze. Nor do I feel the air flow of soft feathers on the wind. I have no idea how a child becomes what it is not. He left my womb too long ago. I cannot see his future / grappling with false faith. He flew away beyond my reach. I am torn in two / feathers scattered far & wide. A gale escapes my withered lungs. Wings clipped / I am grounded. I have not gotten there yet, to that place between life and death. I tried so many times, in so many ways. I am not as strong as I used to be. I used to be strong. Life has a way of snatching our dreams before we are done playing with them. I do not exist anymore. I am just a shadow left behind in the wilderness.
* Published by ThePacific Review, June 2022
I Hear the Water
I hear the water. It calls to me from lakes, and streams, and rivers.
My mother was the ocean. She carried me on her shoulders above raging storms.
Her strength washed away islands, eroding sin. Dolphins swam in her dreams and gulls sang of her glory.
I walk on water. I am her child, the one she bore in sorrow.
Man raped her bounty, polluted her shores, but still, she did not cry.
I am rain. I will cry for her.
* Published by Valiant Scribe, May 2022
Sally always loved to play outside in the little stream that ran behind her house. You could find her there on most warm sunny days. She particularly loved it right after the rain, when the water was running fast and high. She would splash in the rushing water as she turned over each stone looking for crayfish and other fascinating creatures, especially the creepy-crawly ones. Sally liked to pretend that she was a great explorer, and the stream was a mighty river. She would make a game of carefully stepping from stone to stone, trying not to fall off into the treacherous current that she imagined. As long as she could remember, Sally wondered how all the large rocks got into the stream. There were so many, and they almost seemed to have personalities, as if they were more than just stone. Some had features that Sally found curious. They had expressions on them, as if they had faces. She was fascinated by them and felt as if they were her friends.
One late summer day, Sally decided to go out to play in her stream after dinner. Her parents did not like her being outside alone when it was getting close to dark, so she snuck out without telling them that she was going. She was full of excitement and wonder at the thought of her new adventure. She felt free and all grown up being out in her stream at dusk. She could not wait to wade in and play among her rocks.
She was just getting ready to step on a silvery flat-surfaced stone when suddenly one of the largest rocks vibrated, rolled over and stood up straight and very tall. It became a foreboding creature right before her frightened eyes. Sally screamed and tried to run, but it was too late. The rock monster looked at her with an evil glare, then extended an algae covered hand and grabbed her. Before she knew what was happening, she began to curl up tight and become rigid. Then, within moments, she became just another rock, among so many other rocks in the little stream, forever keeping their secret hidden from the outside world.
* Published by World of Myth Magazine, 2019
* Published in Journeys Anthology / The Writer’s Journey Blog, 2021
Heath Brougher is the Editor-in-Chief of Concrete Mist Press, USA 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. In 2020, he was awarded the Wakefield Prize for Poetry. He has published 11 books and, after spending over three years editing the work of others, is ready to get back into the creative driver seat for a bit. He has four books forthcoming in 2022 and 2023.
Here are some poems by Heath Brougher:
Your crow wears hats and bursts out of your chest whenever the barometer dips
scrapings, remnants rule the world the always knocked off-kilter world while feathers drip with blood in a sudden Universal guttural
after all the Universe began with a sudden explosion a “burst’ if you will but you won’t admit to it because you don’t exist.
Steel trees bloom above my head, their tinny foliage gleaming from certain vantage points
along the path in the night, shimmering, as I trek onward noticing a copper bird’s next built on the silver branches
without a smidgeon of Verdigris. I can’t help but wonder what happens when the chill of Autumn arrives
with its light aluminium breeze and the iron leaves fall clanking to the ground beneath the turquoise sun.
But for now it is warm and I pick you a metal rose, so heavy and shiny and lifeless
Imitation of Life
The Spirit of pigeons from 1800 pastorals emanates from a yonder hollow; flies with thick, paint-heavy wings.
A morning of aerial scissors snips kites from the bone colored polka-dot air. A fallen plastic goldfish no longer swims through the sky.
In a rare dream, I bought an umbrella that rained acorns. But that never really happened. It was only a subconscious projection experienced within a spurious limelight.
A boy floats down Glendale Rd in York, PA— his girlfriend [I imagine her name is Cricket] proceeded in her 1999 Jane-like summer shorts or 2002 Shannon-like tight winter jeans. Two pieces of twine adorned with an anklet to prevent her shoestrings from falling apart. She walked into the gloaming downstreet. She reminded me of love and vitality. She resembled the perfect mixture of Jane and Shannon.
I assume Jane and Shannon have disappeared forever into the legendary landscapes of my sacrosanct youth.
Lidia Chiarelli is one of the Charter Members of Immagine & Poesia, the art literary Movement founded in Torino (Italy) in 2007 with Aeronwy Thomas.
Installation artist and collagist. Coordinator of the Dylan Day in Italy.
She has become an award-winning poet since 2011 and she was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from The First International Poetry Festival of Swansea (U.K.) for her broadside poetry and art contribution. Awarded with the Literary Arts Medal – New York 2020.
Six Pushcart Prize (USA) nominations. Grand Jury Prize at Sahitto International Award 2021.
In 2014 she started an inter-cultural project with Canadian writer and editor Huguette Bertrand publishing E Books of Poetry and Art online.
Her writing has been translated into 30 languages and published in more than 150 Poetry magazines, and on web-sites in many countries.
Here are some poems and an essay from Lidia Chiarelli:
My liquid world
(amid winds of war)
to Dylan Thomas
This ashen day in March opens with dancing shadows – images carved in the air of the Spring still too far. An insidious mist enshrouds me in crescendo.
Among echoes in subtle vibration teach me, Dylan, to take shelter in my liquid world
teach me to feel the pulse of the tides that ceaselessly ebb and flow
And while time and space dissolve in the primordial roar of the ocean
teach me to fly away, with you, from the void … of this bewilderment of that insanity*
* from: Although through my bewildered way
Tribute to “I genitori perduti” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
(March 24 1919-February 22 2021)
In Washington Square where the first light gets lost and the seagulls are the lords of the wind you have found your family today. Bewilderment and silence in your every breath. Your mother’s faded smile greets you in the morning mist and your father turns to you as you are listening to your brothers’ muffled call. Then through a blanket of vapor all together you slide towards the gray horizon – extreme, borderless spaces – towards that vacuum swirl further and further away
Ocean Greyness to Jackson Pollock
There is a solitude of space A solitude of sea A solitude of death…
Emily Dickinson Solitude
in the unreal grey of these liquefied lines in the vortex of a sea of steel where shadows stretch darker and darker.
I listen to the breath of the October wind-
echoes in subtle vibrations like a slow crescendo like a gloomy, confused whisper.
The sky has a pearl glow.
The horizon no longer shines through in the distance.
(Tribute to Ocean Greyness painting by Jackson Pollock, 1953)
I put my hands among the flames
Of that summer you had no memories only red poppies small flames that burned your soul a thousand poppies open wounds bleeding inside you. Your journey in search of oblivion started in the soundless hours of the day now lost in the barren paths of the mind. Then long sunset strips sad omens stained the sky red slowly surrounding you in deep muffled silence
Rhapsody in Gray
to Tamara de Lempicka
… I mark On the horizon walking like the trees The wordy shapes of women
Beverly Hills, California, 1939
Lightly the paintbrush slips on the canvas caressing elongated bodies women behind steering wheels an enigma inside melancholy and distracted eyes.
Soaring skyscrapers take form in bold vertical lines.
Reflections of alabaster flood a road in the night interlocking games and new geometries.
The modulated sounds of a saxophone come from afar while in the light of street lamps shadows descend in long variegated spirals of iridescent gray.
EKPHRASTIC POETRY THEN AND NOW
One of the most interesting aspects of today’s poetry is Ekphrastic Poetry.
The term “ekphrastic” originates from a Greek expression for description. According to the Oxford Classic Dictionary ekphrasis is an extended and detailed literary description of any object, real or imaginary.
In antiquity one of the earliest forms of ekphrasis can be found in “The Iliad,” when Homer provides a long account of the detailed scenes engraved on the shield of Achilles. In Greek literature, the relationship between art and poetry was examined by Simonides of Keos (c. 556 – 468 BC) who stated: “Η ζωγραφική είναι ποίηση που σιωπά” “ Painting is a silent poetry.” In Latin literature, Horace (65 – 8 BC), in his “Ars Poetica” said: “Ut pictura poesis” meaning “As is painting, so is poetry.” And Leonardo da Vinci in “A Treatise on Painting” states, “Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”
Ekphrastic poetry flourished particularly in the Romantic era; a notable example is “Ode on a Greek Urn” by John Keats. This poem is the description of a piece of pottery that the poet considers very evocative. He formulates a hypothesis about the identity of the lovers who appear to play music and dance, frozen in perpetual motion. Other examples of the genre were common in the nineteenth century and twentieth century. Let’s remember two particularly significant: Algernon Charles Swinburne’s poem “Before the Mirror” which ekphrasises James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s “Symphony in White, No. 2” and Claude Esteban’s prize-winning volume “Soleil dans une pièce vide,” inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper.
But it was only in 2007 that a true literary art movement called Immagine & Poesia was founded by the poetess Aeronwy Thomas, (daughter of poet Dylan Thomas) with four other Charter Members (Gianpiero Actis, Lidia Chiarelli, Silvana Gatti e Sandrina Piras) who believed that the power of the written word and the power of visual image, when joined, would create a new work not only greater than the parts, but altered, enhanced, changed and magnified by the union. On the stage of Alfa Theatre in Torino, Italy, the Manifesto of Immagine & Poesia was read in front of the audience on November 9th 2007, at the conclusion of the celebrations of the Dylan Thomas Festival of that year.
Within a few years Immagine & Poesia rapidly spread via the web where collaborations between artists and poets are published, as well as through international exhibitions. Today, the Immagine & Poesia’s Manifesto is translated in thirty languages and the movement includes hundreds of artists and poets from all over the world.
Since 2014, the annual e-book of Immagine & Poesia has been published by the Canadian publisher Huguette Bertrand and the President of the Movement Lidia Chiarelli. Every year the e-book includes many ekphrastic contributions from different countries. The works of Beat Generation poet-editor, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and the American artist Agneta Falk Hirschman are part of the latest five editions. An on-line journal devoted entirely to writing inspired by visual art is The Ekphrastic Review, founded by Canadian artist and writer Lorette C. Luzajic.
The Movement Immagine & Poesia has particularly evolved in recent years by carrying out a message of peace, brotherhood, mutual respect and cooperation between writers and artists belonging to different countries and cultures.
On the other hand – on a purely aesthetic level – ekphrastic poetry has conveyed an incentive to the development of “beauty”: beautiful poems combined with beautiful images, almost adopting as a motto the words that Fyodor Dostoevsky attributes to Prince Myškin : Beauty will save the world.
Sunil Sharma is Toronto-based senior academic, critic, literary editor and author with 23 published books: Seven collections of poetry; four of short fiction; one novel; a critical study of the novel, and, nine joint anthologies on prose, poetry and criticism, and, one joint poetry collection. He is a recipient of the UK-based Destiny Poets’ inaugural Poet of the Year award—2012. His poems were published in the prestigious UN project: Happiness: The Delight-Tree: An Anthology of Contemporary International Poetry, in the year 2015.
Here are some poems and a short story by Sunil Sharma:
To Emily Dickinson: An Epistle
Your words comfort Across the divide of Time, space and race; You lived in isolation,
I am Nobody! Who are you? Are you -Nobody- too? Then there is a pair of us!
That is what you said in One of your famous poems That might shock today’s narcissists Poets and all others that revere Their self-image; Yet, living and dying un-loved, Your poetic soul was incredibly rich, And included the whole universe in it Like that other distinguished voice, Walt Whitman, your peer, And both of you Spoke about us, And still speak to us, Although the world hardly listens To its own great masters!
Empty Oyster Shells
Life in metros, Becomes a series Of empty encounters, Resembling Oyster shells Strung together artfully, Humming in the Sun-kissed breeze – Outside hard, The shells but Inside blank And gaping, Found on the beach, By a solitary walker, After the sunset, Left there in a great hurry, By a thin urchin, Curly-headed, In torn half-pants, Feet bare, The kid perhaps Afraid of the dark, And the soft shadows that Always follow, Such a fleeing figure, And, of the violent beatings By an alcoholic father, Cussing, cursing, On his unsteady feet, In a dark hut – Harboring many secrets, And a silent ghost Of a mother, Seen often By a crying child, The little thatched hut, Standing alone, Decrepit, At the edge Of the long beach, Like an abandoned boat, On the moonless nights, When a lonely sea sighs, Heard by that lonely child And a soul encased in A flat in a High-rise.
The Starry Night
Forced by the power cut, Suburbanite went up To his deserted terrace; Was hit by the immensity Of the starry night, Felt overwhelmed by The primeval beauty Spread out, The breath-taking magnificence Of the swirling night sky Stretched taught overhead, The eternal space That glowed with twinkling silver bulbs, And beckoned the little child gaping At this rapturous sight, along with his mesmerised dad.
The huge moon and the pale-white light Washed the blue of the vast sky and produced Strange lights that streamed down on a French village, In a different era, when things were more quiet, The darkness mild and the well-lit sky Was an enthralling discovery by Vincent van Gogh, Who had painted and immortalized this ethereal spectacle, Through his Starry Night over the Rhone and The Starry Night
The poetic painter, committed to sanitorium, Suffering from delirium and what not, Studied the curious effect of darkness and light, The two paintings still transmit The same sense of first-time wonder and delight To the subsequent viewers, living in polluted cities, Breathing fumes and pure carbon dioxide.
As the cold wind of November buffets the Father-son duo that stood silent, Before gods of yore, now not recognised, The two felt standing in a pagan shrine, Found accidentally, In the heart of a commercial city, And Overawed by this rare divine sight, Stared at the infinity and felt their own Small size.
They then understood that There exists a unique mysterious realm Beyond the sodium vapour lamps, For centuries, That has been trying again To communicate With humankind but in vain
This rich world that was once deeply understood and captured By the likes of Gogh and Wordsworth, Now lost forever for the ever competing, Rude, Aggressive, Utilitarian, Raider Called Homo Economicus.
A White River of Light
A white river of light Flows ahead and Always travels beside, On the tranquil mornings, In the grimy suburbs, Unleashed by a baby-faced wintry sun High above in a clean sky; The highway dips abruptly, And Rises up again, Like heated verbal attacks, Dying out and again revived, Among the sparring couples, And Often heard outside, Floating on putrid air, Snatches vicious, Delivered In shrill/low tones, By lovers turned warriors; The moving shadows of the trees Along the lean highway Nod and smile, And quickly Draw various intricate patterns On the rough rolled-out concrete, Like a child doing rangolis outside, The line-drawings moving about, A chiaroscuro different, Being trampled upon Mercilessly, By the manic cars and buses Speeding by; And a flight of happy cranes, Circling all of a sudden, Above the green Tree tops, A startling sight For the crying child, Looking fixed at the Blue-white clear sky.
What happens, if you get a crush on a European masterpiece?
Plenty of fast-paced action, totally strange!
Any doubts, please check with young Varun, the guy that got sucked into a series of bizarre events.
Here is the how of this fantastic tale:
The bespectacled nerd— no, it is not stereotyping a profession or professional in a media society but a bio- fact about a real man; the one excited by the machine and repelled by the solid world of the physicality— on that memorable Monday when all things move out of spin, beyond his control and logic, decides on a whim to visit a museum and falls in love with the world-famous painting Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer.
Acts, he later recalled, were not planned by him but a higher power beyond human comprehension and standing above human intelligence.
“Some force bigger than me seemed to be guiding me that day,” said he to his bemused listeners.
Visiting museums was not his red-hot passion or an artsy habit. In fact, arts repelled him. Only the software, hardware and tech tomes turned him on. Rest was garbage.
Hence, the decision to visit a place full of coloured surfaces—what you and I prefer to call the canvases—surprised his detractors and allies, both in small numbers, as he had only very few friends and since there were limited friends, the number of critics was also logically, limited.
To anyone seriously listening in the digital world and really interested in this narrative, he would freely recall and with relish, the sequence of the events set off by a whimsical desire to visit a museum. An instant that changed the restricted world of the 24-year-old forever. And introduced alien emotions to his wired brain that resembled computer software on a quick scan by a team of neurosurgeons doing research on computing programming, human brain and an extinct species of feelings called love and appreciation.
He was turning into a machine and according to some skeptical listeners, the short and unplanned visit actually saved him from becoming a complete android!
“It was the sudden liberating effect of the painting on me,” he recalled. “Kind of crush on the painting!”
In other words, he came, saw and got conquered by a slightly tilted face of a famous painted woman.
1. Just listen to his version of getting erotic thrill by a piece of artwork.
“It was a mad sensation! The pink visage left me breathless. The division between the real and the artistic ceased operating for me,” said he, tone thrilled, cheeks suffused with the memory of that fated encounter with the fantastic.
Here goes the summary for the super-busy guys with little attention span: The faint stirrings in his choked-up heart—foreign experience so far—evolved into powerful pounding of that marvelous machine that has produced the likes of Shakespeare and Blake in an earlier uncomplicated age, and soon, rising up like crescendo in fast-moving milliseconds, developed into a tidal wave and crashed over a lanky frame never admired by the aggressive females of the planet either in reality or on the FB or Twitter.
Varun roamed a solitary universe peopled with the digital images and morphed creatures. A race of the hideous folks created by a tech that could alter anything at the click of a mouse. Varun inhabited such a weird world and enjoyed it. Werewolves or vampires interacting the homo-sapiens. Bloody inter-species marriages and wars for supremacy. Intergalactic journeys. Permutations and combinations, half human and half machine, appealed. The species altered by tinkering with the basic DNA and through the genetic engineering feats.
The mundane kills!
So cyber-space became his sole kingdom, the PC, his navigation tool of that infinite labyrinth.
That got changed!
That ordinary day dawned—yawn! —like any other day. Dull. Boring. The ordinary guys were rushing to work-places; overloaded children to schools; the doddering old— the dinosaurs! —sat on the front steps, while Varun, the whiz kid, woken up very early by the screaming horns, remained in temporary limbo. Normally he woke up at a time when half of the day’s business was already over and then slowly unwound and reached his peak at midnight and slept around dawn, red-eyed and drained out after consuming cups of bitter coffee.
Something was in the air.
An alien sound finally jolted him. He sat up, wide awake, slightly bewildered. The notes sounded divine and cast a spell over the unemployed computer engineer, pulling him to its source with magnetic force.
Such sweetness! Honey dripping!
It was a tiny creature with soft feathers and tinier throat that bulged.
It is a bird! He remembered his grandpa once telling him from a different time-zone; that scene now sunk in a remote recess of a hyperactive brain.
The first encounter with tangible world has begun.
More was in store.
The bird- song entranced him.
The cynic surveyed his room and noticed the general mess and mayhem of a disorganized life of a bachelor living in a leaking attic in a mega-city—thanks to generous parents slaving somewhere in a small Indian town—and hunting for lowly jobs that never materialized.
Varun—V for his friends— wanted to be a CEO of a start-up in the Silicon Valley. Nothing else suited him.
The best! He would exclaim. I want the best!
Alas, the facts were otherwise. The CV hardly got any response from blue-chip IT firms. But Varun— oops! V— never gave up hoping and eternally waited for the golden opportunity that knocks only once. The low-paid jobs were for the lesser of the tribe. So, with the approval of industrious parents, V waited for that elusive opportunity. And clammed up internally during the long process entailed in the eternal wait of a man out of sync with reality of a market-driven society.
So, slightly energized by the sonorous notes, V stirred, washed himself and tidied up the room—the first sign of organizing the mess and taking control.
After an hour, he decided to venture out into the outside world, on the advice of a friend. They were to meet over coffee later in the day.
The moment he walked out into the real world, V felt something in the air—again.
He could feel it in his heart but could not put his finger on it. Something…somewhere…odd!
He looked around and saw that the flowers were blooming. The streets looked pretty.
New Delhi was drenched in colours.
Music was in the scented air. Euphoric, V decided to walk around and savour the fragrant air.
With his friend held up, he decided to investigate an exhibition in a nearby property, on a sudden impulse. A decision that surprised him in retrospect.
Painting and arts were as remote to him as tenderness/ mercy to an executioner or philanthropy to a greedy Scrooge!
The decision to enter the rare region of art by V was, of course, willed by some higher agency.
“I just got this idea of going in and going out of the exhibition, not lingering long. Walls covered with canvasses of irregular sizes never appeal to me. Art is abstract for me. I thought I would circulate and leave fast,” he later confessed. “I wanted to know why art appeals to some guys? Those crisscrossing lines, irregular cubes, blocks and splashes of colours? Eccentric compositions priced so high! Can we afford art?”
Only five minutes! He told himself. So he walked in with this firm resolution.
Then the destiny took over.
As he moved around hurriedly, he saw the iconic Girl with a Pearl Earring.
“I was destined to discover her,” he said over coffee.
The masterpiece was a stand-out.
And a knock-out!
Like bird-song, it again hypnotized him. He stood powerless before a great piece of art that began speaking to him, despite a location in a different time and place.
V stared open-mouthed. The girl looked back.
The spell was cast.
A breathing canvas, pulsating with energy and life!
It turned his monochromatic existence upside down!
The girl that has hypnotized millions worldwide now managed to affect him at a deeper, subliminal level.
V, the classic nerd with tousled hair, got completely bowled over by a canvas!
It was delicious!
And odd things happened afterwards.
Here is the confession of the viewer, first person singular:
I was visiting the museum and came across the painting by the Dutch master, neglected in his time. The afternoon in New Delhi was pleasant and a warm sun shone on the manicured lawns of the museum featuring the seventeenth- century Dutch and Flemish art. It was almost deserted. I took a turn and there she was.
Girl with a Pearl Earring!
Her eyes honest, gaze spellbinding! The blue-n-gold turban, parted lips, a wistful look and a big pearl in the left ear.
Then a strange thing happens!
The girl becomes animated and steps out of the framed painting!
Her iridescent beauty remains untouched by time. A face finished in 1665 becomes fully alive in 2014.
She hovers between real and ideal!
Suffused with a luster only the Renaissance masters could create!
The everyday and the marvelous meet and congeal in her glowing complexion!
Although ordinary, the girl looks extra-ordinary, exuding a vitality and charm you will not find in real-time world!
It is out-of-the-world experience!
And then, she comes over and holds my shaking hand and we step out of the hall—into the pale light of the day. Suddenly her presence dazzles the ordinariness around and turns it into a scene of golden beauty. I carry her around. Or is it the other way around? Being carried by that heavenly subject on the campus of the museum. Young people stare at me and whistle at her. Catcalls follow her graceful figure. Sacrilege! Pure and shocking! How can men be so mean? The girl, unfazed, keeps on walking. We go out on the circular streets of the Connaught Place and enter a coffeehouse full of the local crowd—middle-class, uncouth, staring. The waiter conducts us to a corner table and we sit and order coffee. The girl is demure and flutters her eyes, rosy cheeks blushing, as the nearby clients gape and lust after her through the famous male gaze. It is Delhi crowd, you know! Some guys openly comment on her Caucasian features and cut bawdy jokes in Indian English. The profanities colour her cheeks a tad red and I decide to take her out of the close space filled with lecherous men. But they start following us in the sun-lit corridors, whistling and commenting.
“What a thing!” exclaims an old man with a large tummy.
“STOP!” I scream. “She is a work of art!”
“Indeed!” he says, drooling. “What a thing!”
“You do not deserve her,” another man says, threatening, “Give her to me.”
“No. To me,” another one commands. “Never seen such a woman in real! I can murder to get her.”
“Idiots!” I shout. “She is a painting only.”
“So what! We want that woman!” They all shouted.
“She is to be revered!” I say but they do not listen.
“Quote her price!” somebody shouts. “For a night.”
“Double that amount!” another croaks.
It is sickening. For me, she is spiritual.
“We want her!” They shout. “Give her price! We want to feel and touch her and…”
Grossed out by the tone and degrading obscenities, the girl left my hand and…
“And?” asked V’s friends.
She disappeared, leaving me in the middle of a yelling crowd that finally dispersed, defeated by this sudden disappearance of the object of their collective desire. That they could not own a piece of her showed on their flushed ugly faces. A reverential figure had been defiled for me! I felt awfully disgusted!
And privately grieved for my loss, roaming endlessly among the crowds of shoppers and tourists eating the streetfood, the entire Connaught Place a huge eating joint and carnival being staged for the consumers. But my mind was not registering the details, benumbed as it still was by the encounter with an ethereal girl from a different time. I kept on moving like a zombie.
“Then?” The friends probed.
I went back to the museum on an impulse. It was getting late and sun was setting, heightening my loneliness and solitude. There was a chill in the air and inside the soul. I went inside the hall and saw the painting again, this time more intently.
To my horror, second time, it looked like any other famous painting only!
The rare connection was broken.
It remained static! There were a few visitors circulating around the paintings and talking in hushed tones, some giggling irreverently at these great works. The visitors were hardly interested in her!
I came out of the museum, aware of my loss but carrying her image in the heart on that memorable day, when, I could truly understand the meaning of beauty and art in few hours; an experience that has altered me forever…
Scott Thomas Outlar lives and writes in the suburbs outside of Atlanta, Georgia, USA. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. He guest-edited the Hope Anthology of Poetry from CultureCult Press as well as the 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 Western Voices editions of Setu Mag. He has been a weekly contributor at Dissident Voice for the past eight years. Selections of his poetry have been translated into Afrikaans, Albanian, Azerbaijani, Bengali, Dutch, French, Hindi, Italian, Kurdish, Malayalam, Persian, Serbian, and Spanish. More about Outlar’s work can be found at 17Numa.com.
Here are some poems and a prose work by Scott Thomas Outlar:
Beyond My Sphere of Explanation
These many moods of the churning cycle with the wink of moon the kiss of fog and softly glowing pink hues splashed against a violet canvas
Please show me where to place my lips upon the fiery crown to welcome home the roaring lion
I barely have a poetic breath left in the lines of my palms but I live out these visions each day and cradle them close to heart
If all I have are fragments slipping past the veil of consciousness to tease my tongue with ineffable thoughts then I will do my best to sigh sincerely
Whether we laugh or weep in the pouring rain our steps will learn to tango with the shaman king of the dancing geese
and the birds will chirp to herald spring
and the buds will shift from red to green
and all these gifts of grace will brand our spirits
Pretty bird, pretty bird soar either way across the street or hum loud enough above the music and thick tinnitus to start this poem forthright
There are two parks within one mile from home and I have walked them 3,500 times or so since returning
I try to keep my obsessive compulsions framed in a positive light soft as a feather so I can stay flighty and continue dancing as these bones crumble
The reason I hesitate to speak about my own suffering is because I know everyone else has their own bouts with the world to contend with
I lick my wounds in the woods and rub coconut oil in both eyes
God, you know the burn feels good but saps and salves are better
High on honeysuckle perfume scent of ouroboros solar mass corona taste aurora’s sweet drip yellow light enters form whet the tongue of thorns
signs of the source please sing me back safely
carrying lost thimbles home to quell the ancient thirst
I haven’t felt this way since I was eight years old but I think I’ve finally found the flavor of spring transcendence
or at least caught the white flash of momentary remembrance
during the buzz
Dispatches and Declarations (Circa November, 2020)
My memory is mostly shot. A kaleidoscope of groans and sighs shifting throughout the years. Laughter and sentimental sways. Traumas and trigger points. The subtle difference between a bleeding heart and silent detachment. The fallen leaves of autumn’s spell. Prayers of peace and heaven’s whispered love. Something sacred for the save.
Fill me with the Holy Spirit and I will write something beautiful. Or speak of terrible things concerning love, war, God, and what we all saw coming.
The Beast System has its fangs sunk deep into the body politics and culture of this world. An entrenched establishment, a decadent empire thrashing in its death throes, yet held in place by fraudulent means. The way of the wicked always weaves its deceit in darkness.
But it’s nothing to get all bent out of shape about. Schemes shriek loudest when exposed under pressure. Light burns hottest at the melt point of truth. What has begun cannot be stopped.
The New World Order globalist agenda promises to “build back better” with a “great reset.” No, thank you. The ideology is destined to fall. Hard. International communism blended with corporate fascism boils into a stew of collectivist faux-utopian hell. It is the greatest evil ever unleashed upon the earth. Stick a fork in it.
They say it all comes down to good vs. evil in the end. And I guess that battle is summed up in human society as being freedom, sovereignty, and liberty on one side and tyranny, authoritarianism, centralized control systems, and power hungry despots on the other. There’s nothing new about any of it. Thousands of years ago in the past it was playing out in a similar vein as it is today. On and on the story unfolds. One thing is for sure: it’s an exciting time to be alive no matter which side of the sand you stand on.
Each turning of the season brings along its own twists of fate. Some more unexpected than others. And so we flow and flux as best we can with mindfulness during experiences of both sun and storm alike.
In the end, there are only a few questions that truly matter. Did you do your best with the gifts, talents, and unique sills you were born with? Did you face your fears with courage, strength, and resolve? Did you act in accordance with what your heart knew to be right?
Life is not always easy, but it does weigh out fairly when balanced on karmic scales that we would sometimes like to ignore or deny the existence of. Just as there is peace found in moments of happiness, ecstasy, and joy, so too is there a purpose for every challenge, trial, and tribulation that arises along the path to test our mettle. It is sometimes a harrowing proposition to keep putting the next foot steadily forward when the ground seems to be shaking and collapsing underneath, but in those times of uncertainty we must at least continue crawling until a solid foundation is reached once more.
The greatest sin is to give in and not get back up when we have fallen. Continuing to adapt, adjust, and push ahead through all circumstances, especially those beyond our control, is a victory in and of itself. Perseverance is the golden key that unlocks doors waiting on down the line.
But what of your distractions, your impulses, your compulsions, your pulls, your sways, your turns through time?
What of your anger, your aggression, your petty annoyances over the minutiae of everyday circumstances?
What of your revolt, your rebellion, your banging of head against walls, your piercing of veils behind masks, your shatterings, your shaking of foundations?
What of your goodwill, your glowing aura, your grasping toward God, your longing for peace and love, your promises of higher ideals?
What of your holiday spirit in the Wuhan Age, your dancing heart in the Roaring Twenties, your blinding vision of Atlantis rising, your eternal optimism for golden days?
What of your sorrow, your sadness, your ecstatic joys?
All as one momentary emotion, bound tightly in disintegration, eternal yet impermanent, expansive in its temporary nature.
Celebrating International Dylan Thomas Day 2022 by Vatsala Radhakeesoon (Editor and Organizer, Mauritius)
Dear Artists /Art-lovers, Every year International Dylan Thomas Day is celebrated worldwide on 14 May .
I would like to thank Hannah Ellis, granddaughter of Dylan Thomas (UK) and Lidia Chiarelli, founding editor of Immagine and Poesia (Italy) for inviting me to conduct this event on my blog for the third time.
Many thanks to all the 7 artists from various continents who have contributed their works for this special event.
Hope you will enjoy going through the artworks featured here.
Sending Blessings of peace, love and light to Everyone!
Ruben Molina Homesickness Oil on canvas 50 x 40 cm 2017 Venezuela
Ruben Molina was born in Barinitas Venezuela on October 23, 1969.He started in the plastic arts at a very young age when at the age of 9 he took lessons in Drawing, Painting and Graphic Arts. In addition to his passion for painting, he experiments with sculpture made from recycling. He studies the great masters like Rembrandt, Goya, Monet, Sorolla and Pollock who influence his work. In 2018 he exhibited his works in solo in the museum of modern art in Merida Venezuela and in the Dubai Design District.He has been invited to participate in the 1st Sculpture Symposium in Egypt. His work has been awarded by The Paintbrush community art community in Dubai. They are also present in various collections in several countries such as: Colombia, Peru, Panama, Spain, US, UK, Holland, Egypt, Dubai, Al Ain. He currently lives and works in Merida Venezuela.
Gopakumar Ra Who am I ? Acrylic on paper 40 x40 cm 2010 Bahrain/India
R. Gopakumar is an Indian contemporary multidisciplinary NFT artist. He works in different media including Digital Art, Motion Photography, Installation, Drawing, Painting and Print.
He uses art & technology to discuss and expose the environmental and social issues of the society. He believes the work of art should change the existing visual, intellectual and aesthetic sense and experiment with finding new visual phenomena.
His works exhibited The Saatchi Gallery, London, UK, Tate Britain, UK, Kochi-Muziris Biennale (Collateral Projects) Kochi, India, Sofia Underground – International Performance Art Festival, Bulgaria, CICA Museum, South Korea, National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, India, Arte Città Amica, Torino, Italy, V-Art Digital Art Spaceship Exhibition – Ukraine, CADAF Crypto and Digital Art Fair, Paris, France. Galleria d’Arte Contemporanea Grafica Manzoni, Torino, Italy, Kinsey Institute Art Gallery, USA, ISE Cultural Foundation, New York, USA, Bahrain National Museum, Manama, Bahrain, Kerala Lalithakala Akademi, Kerala, India.
His motion photography was shortlisted by the Saatchi Gallery London and Google+ for their inaugural Motion Photography Prize.
Lidia Chiarelli All Fishes were Rayed in Blood Dylan Thomas Portrait- Iron sculpture on round steel table 180 x150 cm 2022 Italy
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.
Gianpiero Actis Tribute to Dylan Thomas 2022 Seascape painting, Iron sculpture book on round steel table 180×150 cm 2022 Italy
Gianpiero Actis (Italy) is one of the co-founders of the artistic-literary movement “Immagine & Poesia”.He often creates his works as “responses” to the poems of different authors. He has participated in numerous international exhibitions. His paintings can be found in permanent exhibitions / collections in Italy and abroad. https://gianpieroactis.jimdofree.com/
Juliet Preston Marlais great blue-green sea Digital abstract 4.2 Megapixel ,2048x 2048 resolution 2022 USA
Juliet Preston is a poet at heart, an artist by passion and an engineer by profession.
Neerja Peters The sublime Acrylic on linen canvas 48 x 36 inches 2021 India
Dr. Neerja Chandna Peters is a trained physician. she found her passion in art, about eleven years ago and she decided to pursue art full time. Through spiritual expression she found her language. To her, creating art is a form of meditation, a means to reaching bliss, so characteristic of a mystical unison with the Divine.
Her geometric abstracts are a search of the ‘real’ through abstract expression.
Winner of third prize in First International Biennale by International Association of Visual, Performing and Other Arts, Lithuania, she received Critics Choice award, Artist of the year award-and Wallace Hartley World Art Day award from World University of Design, Bharat Nirman, International Association of Art (Official Partners of UNESCO) respectively.
She participated in Biennale of Miniature Arts, Timisoara, Romania, first World Art Virtual Biennale, Columbia Arte, U.S.A., VBIG Guarulhos International Bienal of small format 2020, Brazil, World Health Organisation x Create 2030 Covid -19 Arts Festival, exhibitions at Museum of Contemporary Ukrainian Art, Lutsk, Aerogramme Centre of Art and Culture,USA ,North Dakota Museum of Art etc.
Her works have been published in Bluebee magazine, London, Flora Fiction Literary Magazine and Quarantine Zine, New York, Art-hole UK, The Knack Magazine U.S.
Faisal Mateen Based on Fern hills (1945) By Mr Dylan Thomas watercolor 15 x 28inches 2022 India
Faisal Mateen is the founder of *Art for Cause* “I Design Dreams” and “Surma Bhopali fictional character” . He is 51 and had got his PG degree in Fine art (Drawing & Painting). He has over 40 group and solo art exhibitions in India & abroad (Including 2 exhibitions, held in famous Jehangir Art Gallery Mumbai) to his credit. During pandemic ,Art for cause organised 27 international online exhibition and got many international awards.
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!
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 )
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
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.
“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 Post, Café Dissensus Everyday, The Statesman (India), Journal of Liberty and International Affairs, The Colorado Review, World 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 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’smental 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, OhHark! , 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]
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
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.
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
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.
Don Beukes is a South African, British and EU Poet and writer. 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). 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.
Here are some poems and prose extracts by Don Beukes:
I am Refugee
Another foreign face, Just another alien place – A futile survival rat race Taking place at stellar pitiful pace but do not mind me – I am just in a desperate horrific hurry as you Brand me refugee.
Endless footage document my failing crumbling courage, Desperation fuels my hesitation to abandon my Birthright habitation – Circumstance limit my Human circumference, Insatiable lust for Power my hindrance.
Echoes of loved ones I lived for once maimed – Savagely shamed, Their humanity callously claimed – Misinterpreted culture Ravenously raptured – A nation’s soul violently fractured, Extremist beast disturbingly haunted me – Its feast Devouring my very nature, A godless heinous creature.
Global coverage diarise my demise – Humanitarian Disguise expose your EU lies – Herded and cleverly Channelled you pass me along like a Nationless centurion – My personal story my passport to humanitarian glory – A perilous journey began with family across land and sea devastating heart-wrenching loss of an infant son lost tossed out into a watery grave – Choking humanitarian global cloud.
Political fallout the daily shout – I am what it is all about, Fractured status sudden realisation how much I am hated – Trump prophesizing armageddon in the US what a shameful mess branding me useless – What planet is this?
My religion your chosen confusion your hateful rhetoric no illusion – Merkel shaming the UN her passion humanely driven – Cameron foolishly debating his conscience flaking.
Excuse my perceived intrusion – Your bias not your intention – I was just never mentioned my background whispered in scriptures even historical fractures – Made to sound like leeching maggots – Have you bothered to ask what I’ve got to give?
A talent to share maybe a useful gift, Turn your prejudiced stare – You don’t really care what I can achieve – No thanks, remove your untimely white flag handkerchief and if I seem ungrateful well, that will be my own grief.
My journey now painfully perilous hopelessly penniless what existence is this – What does it mean to be truly free? I ask you this – For I am refugee.
City of Dust
We refuse to admit it
We even avoid whispering
About it but we are all citizens
Of a global city – A writhing organic
Metropolis pulsing with untapped potential
Being moulded carved expanded influenced
Harnessed affected infected yet sadly neglected
By those in authority – Our elected power hungry
Minority boosting their monetary superiority –
Just such a pity we ignore each other’s misery
Knowing many of us are not really that able to shine
Blinding light to end this global cultural fight – Killing
Our spirits each indigo demon alley nightmare night
Hoping to valiantly fight an oppressing corporate might
But we think twice who to trust giving in to material
Lusts scraping away our inherent moral compass
Lowering the peace mast whilst violently
Choking convulsing regurgitating disappearing
Clawing battling barely surviving –
In a man-made city of dust…
The Girl in the Stone
Her face remained hidden for a while within the Porous cavities of the stone I found at the back of the Garden, initially masked by ancient moss and clay deposits Hiding her bronze complexion for thousands of years but Never her obvious tears and startled expression as she Was proudly mounted on a log to watch over Monte Arabi although not yet revealed to me. It happened one orange blossom fiery sunset golden Evening staring at her blindly when for one split second A sunbeam gently kissed her bronze cheek revealing her Ancient forgotten mystique as her eyes locked in stone Stared helplessly at us – Her gaze mesmerising immediately Gripping my senses exploding questions rippling through Me wave after intoxicating wave as her battered right eye Spoke of unimaginable pain and her bruised cheek a badge Of her bravery and untold keen sense of survival – As the Evening light moved over her, I made another startling Discovery as her eternal protector in the form of a wolf Proudly revealed himself above her head.
Who was she when was she why now and how? What Was her young life like? Did she have to start a fire at Night in a deep cave surrounded by dominant males After another long exhausting hunt on the plains of Monte Arabi or did she warm up milk for them gathered From the resident mouflon still roaming this ancient land? Did she gather wild rosemary and thyme to flavour the Evening meal as expected by her male-dominated family? Did she dream of a future nurturing her own family? Did she whisper to the giant pine trees of her secret longings? Did she dream of flying away on eagle wings from her ancient Mountain kingdom longing for her own imagined freedom?
Only recently I was yet again stunned into silence and awe When two more faces in profile revealed themselves just before The golden liquid sun disappeared behind towering pine trees. Both revelations were locked on another side of the stone and Depending on the available light falling on one side, I swear I could see her father and mother alternatively depending On the light and dark shadows falling on their tired faces – It was like looking through a sliver of time allowing me to Peer momentarily into their ancient world.
She still stares at me every day and night – Questioning me Evaluating me, this girl in the stone still searching for a future Home, which makes me wonder if she was the last of her kind Hoping I would be so kind as to utter a welcoming word but Sadly she is unable to respond – Waking up once again In her ancient land with only her lifelong companion To guard over her as she hopefully stares every glowing Sunset to the home she used to know when she was free in Majestic Monte Arabi…
The Oracle Chronicles
As hordes of dark forces assemble across the parched lands known as Vygieskraal, a lonely mysterious figure slips unseen through the sacred waterfall, high above the hazy ravine splitting the three kingdoms of Belhar, Kraaifontein and Grabouw.
Not even the feared gamdroelas could pick up the scent of this elusive stranger to these forlorn lands, ravished by senseless decades of sporadic wars over the most precious prize of all; the only remaining legendary source of the life-giving water flowing to all the subjects in the three Kingdoms. Whoever controls the source, controls all the citizens. However, since all the water has dried up, a darkness has descended upon all who dwell in these war-torn ancient lands.
The knowledge of the sacred path leading to the source has long been passed on from a line of oracles, born with unknown visions and wisdom; only to be revealed when called upon by a chosen maiden from one of the three kingdoms, seeking the right of passage to secure the source for her nation.
Before she bravely entered the unknown, Eniamrach hesitated for a fleeting moment, just to take in the enormity of her task. She knew that any doubt would unleash a torrent of abuse from her family, who has offered her to the king of Belhar, Sekueb Nodmai. She just could not fail, must not fail if she was to secure the source for the kingdom. All she knew from the map passed on to her by her great-grandfather, the wise Oupa of her village, was that the entrance to the oracle was beyond the blue mist, through the gigantic ancient tree – hollowed out by years of conflict.
Suddenly the curtain of water cascaded right in front of her, as she bravely walked through it; her fear numbed by the fact that only she could ensure victory for her people and bestow honour on her family.
After a tiring journey of strange sights and smells, Eniamrahc noticed the stoic silhouette gazing at her from the top of a grassy hill. ”That must be the oracle”, she whispered to herself, as she kept her eyes fixed on the strange attire; the protective veil, the robe covering her entire body and a stare that looked right through her; knew her.
Unexpectedly the oracle spoke directly to her!
” Before you look at me and seek what only I can see, do you have what I’ve asked for?” Eniamrahc had to steel herself not to steal a split second peek at the revered
enigma talking to her. ”Yes great oracle, I have with me root of bokmakierie, essence of waterblommetjies and residue of knoffel, as you requested.”
Only then did the oracle give Eniamrahc a nod to look at her directly. Her voice sounded like a faint rumble before lightning strikes.
“You have a rare ingredient I have anxiously waited for. Only the root of bokmakierie can cause the gamdroelas to lose their vision, consequently allowing you safe passage to what you are seeking.”
Now you need to convince me why I should show you the way to the source of all life. Time is running out. Well? Don’t just stand there! Do you want this or not? ”
“How can you doubt me oh revered Oracle? I have risked my life to reach this sacred place. My journey here pre-ordained by my people and our wise and brave King Sekueb Nodmai, to whom I am promised to upon delivery of the knowledge of all life. My future and that of the people of Belhar, along with the other two kingdoms depend on my determination to succeed in the enormous task bestowed upon me. I am here to serve and I am prepared to die for it but not before I honour my great-grandfather, who led me here by revealing the source of all life to our king.’
If the Oracle had any doubts, she certainly did not reveal it. She was intrigued however to hear that an elder of an unknown village possessed the location of the secret liquid entrance to where she has lived all her life. This was indeed a revelation that would need her attention imminently but the task at hand surpassed any other concerns. This heroic maiden had a familiar life force radiating from her, a sure sign that what she was about to reveal was destined to be given to Eniamrahc.
“I am convinced brave maiden that your arrival here has been expected. I am yet to discover the identity of the elder who blessed you with this sacred knowledge of how to reach me but that can wait for later. I am convinced that your intentions are genuine and therefore I will ask you now to give me your hand and look beyond my eyes for what
you came to seek. I must warn you though that the path to the liberation of your people
will be filled with unimaginable horror and loss. Your very essence will be tested but this is what the stones have whispered. Never look back as I lead you now to where you were meant to journey to. Do not be startled by what you are about to witness. Only you will know which way to turn, which enemies to avoid and ultimately discover the very source of where we all came from. Something has gained access to the source of all knowledge but it has been blinded to prevent it from owning it. It is now up to you to confront it and destroy it. Trust me…’
As Eniamrach touched the Oracle’s hand, her very being was shaken by the visions confronting her. Not only did she have to face the gamdroelas down below on the plains of Vygieskraal but she had to rescue the cursed Bloekomboom army from the deep grotte below who would accompany her to her final destination, there to initiate a fierce battle for the ultimate knowledge, which would secure their future.
As she walked away, disappearing into the whispering woods of the Hottentotsholland mountains, all she could wonder about was why the oracle reminded her of a familiar face she once saw in her childhood dreams…
The Beyond – Deep within the revered ancient cavities of the majestic azure Hottentots Holland Mountains, lies a kingdom as old as the rocks out of which it was forged – Its hidden entrances guarded by peculiar majestic beasts, each with unique abilities to protect those in the beyond from invasive familiar hostilities – You see, of the three kingdoms left in the land of Hottentotshuisie, ‘The Beyond’ remains protected by a worthy ruler elected to ensure languishing longevity – For a nation scarred by eons of marauding senseless wars to settle ancient scores, leaving only fermenting emotional sores – It is from this place that a young meisie is being prepared to seek my wise counselling and fulfill her whispered legacy, as others brace themselves for the final gathering – Hoping to discover life eternal from a secret liquid spring – Its passage known only by me, their elected referee.
Eniamrach – Even from the moeras plains of Vygieskraal I sensed her anxious breaths as she raced across the treacherous cursed land of the gamdroelas, devious unforgiving abominations born from the destructive spells of the tokkelos, gnashing in a frenzy for an untouched meisie to feast on as the stones predicted – Only her inherited ancient knowledge of the rare boegoe herb saved her foretold life, as its aroma sent the saliva dripping gamdroelas in a hallucinating coma – At last the trustworthy kwêvoëls shrieked her imminent arrival, my premonition almost complete, for Eniamrach might just be the one to inherit the eternal crown…
Sekueb Nodmai – Her hesitant approach revealed her innocence My veil masking my true identity. “What do you seek from me? Secrets of the boabab tree?”
“Oh mighty oracle I only need your ancient wisdom to save us from a fiery prison – I have for you root of waterblommetjie and extract of bitter knoffel, also essence of wilde dagga as you requested – Will you now grant me what I came to seek?” “You have done your father and your people proud. Now return through the weeping willows and follow the call of the echoing waterfall, then recite the words of the great Sekueb Nodmai – Hurry and flee from here, do not pierce my hazy veil, Quick drink this sour kruietee – Your essence will now float away from here – Remember me when you hear
Each year International Dylan Thomas Day is celebrated on 14 May.
This year I will be featuring a group of selective contemporary poets from various continents who are fans of Dylan Thomas and are willing to pay tribute to the great Welsh poet’s works through their poetry. All poems will be in English and they will be published on my blog at Vatsalarad Writing World on 14 May 2022: vatsalaradwritingworld.home.blog.