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Category: Poetry



TonyKendrew.jpg
Tony Kendrew is a poet of Welsh ancestry who has made his home in Northern California. In 2014 he completed an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Wales, Trinity St. David, the third oldest institute of higher education in Britain - after Oxford and Cambridge. He continues his connection with Wales as one of the editors of The Lampeter Review. AmeriCymru spoke to Tony about his work and future plans. Visit Tony Kendrew's website here


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turningpoint.jpg AmeriCymru: The poems of your new poetry collection, Turning , focus on the themes of migration and identity. What inspired this collection?

Tony: My mother was Welsh and went to China as a teacher in her late twenties. There she met and married my English father. So not only did I have to figure out where I came from, but my options were on the other side of the world!

The themes of movement and identity have concerned me all my life, and my year at the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David, brought them into focus like never before. So I decided to write as my MA dissertation a series of poems that reflect on the urge to migrate and explore, how that urge was expressed in my own family and life, and how it relates to a sense of place and belonging. There are twenty-two poems, and they take two directions, one towards the history of the Welsh side of my family, arranged chronologically, the other towards the nature of nationality and diaspora in general.

A number of poems tell the stories of particular members of the Welsh side of my family, trying to capture some of the characteristics of Welshness with illustrations of the delights and tragedies of family and emigration. I also touch on the influence of my cultural and genetic heritage on my own life and work.

And though the Welsh word hiraeth does not appear in these English language poems, we could say that the collection is really an exploration of hiraeth in poetic form.

AmeriCymru: Your earlier collection, Feathers Scattered in the Wind draws together reflections on the people and places of Northern California and Wales. Care to introduce that book for our readers?

Tony: I would love to. I’ve been living in Northern California since the 80's. Each time I moved it was to a more remote and beautiful place, until fifteen years ago I found the valley I now call home. All of the places I lived inspired what I suppose we could call nature poetry, though the poems aren’t just descriptive, because I always seem to find a human story hidden in the rivers and forests and deserts. And I don’t mean that my poems tell the story of the people living in those places, but that the places themselves give rise to reflections about what it is to be human. We have been living on earth for a very long time, and I think the landscape is intimately connected with our thoughts and feelings. To give an obvious example, the river: constant but changeable, deep or bickering, “wider than a mile,” you can’t push it, and of course “you can’t step into the same river twice.” And it isn’t just landscape either: sudden encounters with plants and wildlife bring insights of their own. Our minds have been sculpted by nature.

About half the poems in 'Feathers Scattered in the Wind' were written in California. The other half come from Wales. They were my responses to my year living and learning and rambling in West Wales, on the Coastal Path, in the ruins of Strata Florida or the beaches of Ceredigion.

I am, I suppose most interested in the communication of awe. The collection has a number of poems that try to communicate that response to beauty and the ineffable, whether it’s nature, or the effect of a painting on the viewer or a piece of music on the listener.

AmeriCymru: What can you tell us about your experience studying Creative Writing at the University of Wales?

Tony: Well, it was a wonderful experience! I fell into it by a stroke of serendipity, and knew immediately that the teaching style and the faculty at Trinity Saint David, Lampeter, were going to suit me just fine. The personal attention and intimacy of this small school made me feel cared for, and the sessions with poet Menna Elfyn and dramatist Dic Edwards, and regular visits from Wales’ best writers, meant that everything I wrote went under the microscope. Just what I needed! It was a lot of work, but that‘s exactly what I was there for.

AmeriCymru: Care to tell us a little about 'Seven Views of the South Fork River’?

Tony: The South Fork of the Trinity River runs past the bottom of my property and has been my muse for the last fifteen years. It’s designation as a wild and scenic river means it goes up when it rains and goes down when it doesn’t – something that dams and reservoirs have hidden from the experience of a large part of the population. It is an awesome sight to watch the river rise and spread out across the valley. Some years ago I decided to sing the river’s praises with a group of poems describing places along its course. This became 'Seven Views of the South Fork River', which is embedded in the printed collection 'Feathers Scattered in the Wind'. The poems talk about the river in a blatantly metaphorical way!

AmeriCymru: What's next for Tony Kendrew?

Tony: I am currently on the editorial board of The Lampeter Review, the online magazine of the University of Wales Trinity St. David's Creative Writing Centre. It’s terrific to be at the receiving end of great writing and to be in touch with the other editors on the production of the magazine. I also write a regular piece for the magazine, a sort of letter from America, that gives a personal view of the issue’s theme or a literary topic that’s caught my eye.

I have enjoyed producing CDs of my poems and love to hear writers reading their work, but many people prefer to snuggle down with a book rather than hear poems and prose read out loud. So my next project is a book of short stories.

AmeriCymru: Any final message for the readers and members of Americymru?

Tony: I’m delighted to be able to meet with other Welsh Americans via Americymru. As a writer I’ve been a bit of a hermit, so it’s heartening to see these connections being made through that difficult to define something that is our shared Welshness. Cymru am Byth.


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Idris Speaks - A Poem by John Good

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Congratulations/Llongyfarchiadau To This Years Winner - Tracy Davidson



We would like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate all our competitors. 2016 was undoubtedly one of the best years yet for our Poetry Competition both in terms of the quantity and quality of entries. Our judge, Peter Thabit Jones has reached a decision and his adjudication appears below:-


Americymru/West Coast Eisteddfod On-line Poetry Competition (English language) 2016

I enjoyed reading all of the entries for this year’s poetry competition.   I was particularly impressed by the poems of Tracy Davidson, Paul Steffan Jones , Hilary Wyn Williams, Kathryn Dillard, Nancy E. Wright, James Sinclair, and Meic Alger.

 

The winner of this year’s poetry competition is Tracy Davidson .   I like the control, the careful casualness, of the poems she entered and her quiet but very effective poetic voice.


Details of next years competitions will be announced shortly and we hope that all our 2016 entrants will consider competing again in the new year. We will be contacting the winners and runners up of the poetry and short story competitions via email shortly.


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THE SEVENTH QUARRY Swansea Poetry Magazine aims to publish quality poems from around the world.

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AmeriCymru:  Hi Sian. You won the West Coast Eisteddfod Poetry Competition 2015 with your submission - 'Cynghanedd'. What can you tell us about this poem?

Sian: This is one of very few poems that I've written in English. The simple fact that I was writing in my second language gave me the freedom to be somebody else. Not that I don't write persona poems in Welsh, but the language gives an added distance from "me". Last year the Welsh literary scene was, mainly through Llenyddiaeth Cymru/Literature Wales, dominated, for better or worse, by the Dylan Thomas celebrations and I think that made me curious about the thoughts and feelings of Welsh writers who don't write in Welsh and who feel that that tradition, and cynghanedd as it ' s most extreme and obvious example, is not relevant to them. However the voice in the poem finds in the end that he can't quite escape its power. "Ni allaf ddianc rhag hon" in other words, though I was not thinking of T H Parry-Williams’ Hon at the time.  
 
AmeriCymru: When did you first become interested in writing poetry? Where can readers go to find more of your work either in print or online?

Sian: I wrote in primary school, where I had the amazing, amazing good fortune of having Gerallt Lloyd Owen as my teacher when I was eight years old. There was then a long gap (I'd gone to study science s and didn't consider myself a writer), but I started to write again as I was approaching thirty. My first and so far only volume of poetry was published in 2013 ( Trwy Ddyddiau Gwydr , Gwasg Carreg Gwalch), and was on the shortlist for Welsh Book of the Year.

AmeriCymru: You recently participated in the 'Welsh Enemies' project. Care to tell us more?

Sian: I took part in two evenings as part of this project (there were many evenings across Wales and one in London). Basically poets worked in allotted pairs to fill an allotted time slot, but were given no further guidelines. I worked with Karen Owen, a very talented Welsh language poet, for the evening in Bangor, and, as we both happened to be there at the time, did a slot with my partner, Siôn Aled, for the London evening (I read Cynghanedd that night, though it hadn't been written specifically for that event). Working with someone else always forces you to do something in a slightly different way than if you'd been left to your own devices, which is an odd mixture of fun and scary.

AmeriCymru: In addition to writing poetry you have also written novels for children and a Welsh language novel 'Yn Y Tŷ Hwn'. Can to tell us a bit more about these?

Sian: Yn y Tŷ Hwn was my first novel for adults and I was pleasantly surprised at the positive reaction to it. It was chosen by the Wales Literature Exchange to be in their "bookcase" that year. In other words a book that they promote to foreign publishers as suitable for translation. So far no takers! But they have a description of it on their site if anyone wants to find out more about it  http://waleslitexchange.org/ en/books/view/yn-y-ty-hwn

I've written four novels for children, Pwysig, Maestro, Chwaer Fawr Blodeuwedd and Gwaith Powdr , as well as contributing to other books. Gwaith Powdr http://www.gwales.com/ bibliographic/?isbn= 9781848517028&tsid=3 is the latest, based on an old abandoned explosives factory which is now a nature reserve near my home in Penrhyndeudraeth. When I first went there when I moved here five years ago I knew I wanted to write about it, and I'm not sure if I'm finished with it - it might turn up in something else in the future.

AmeriCymru: What's next for Sian Northey?

Sian: Sometime in the first half of next year there will be another novel for adults published (title still undecided!). It follows a father and daughter who have not been in touch until the daughter is thirty and pregnant. It's taken me ages to write - I was suffering badly from "second novel syndrome"!

For the next couple of months I'll be busy translating Alys Conran's wonderful debut novel, Pigeon , from English to Welsh. http://www.gwales.com/ bibliographic/?isbn= 9781910901236&tsid=5

Published by Parthian, we think that this is the first time that a novel will be published in both Welsh and English at the same time.

I also enjoy holding writing workshops, for both adults and children, and have recently been informed that I've been awarded some money as part of Literature Wales' celebration of the Roald Dahl centenary to hold workshops with prisoners. I'll be helping them to write stories for their children at home.  
 
AmeriCymru: Any final message for the members and readers of AmeriCymru?

Sian:   Simply diolch yn fawr for the interest shown in my work and all the best for 2016 be you writers, artists, gardners, parents, builders, musicians, carers, teachers, dancers, nurses...  There are worrying things happening in the world but perhaps the small things we do - read a poem in translation, cook a dish from an unfamiliar culture - will create an atmosphere where we can celebrate the differences between us and not be frightened by them. 

 



'Cynghanedd' - The Winning Entry 2015



I never did understand

the Aran jumper rules

that cable knit their lines

in fussy convoluted Fairisle stanzas.

Experts dug through documentaries - subtitled, scratching.

I doubted when they claimed

to have found a piece,

peat pickled,

perfect,

somewhere to the north of junction forty five.

A sweater sleeve

that you or I could wear

they said,

as they stretched it back to shape

on harp strings.

It dripped its dirty water

as it dried,

and in that, the puddles on linoleum,

I saw the beauty.

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Congratulations/Llongyfarchiadau To This Years Winner - Sian Northey



We would like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate all our competitors. 2015 was undoubtedly one of the best years yet for our Poetry Competition both in terms of the quantity and quality of entries. Our judge, Peter Thabit Jones has reached a decision and his adjudication appears below:-


Americymru/West Coast Eisteddfod On-line Poetry Competition (English language) 2015

I enjoyed reading all the poems submitted for the 2015 Poetry Competition. My thanks to those who submitted their work.I kept coming back to individual poems by Sian Northey, Sally Spedding, Paul Steffan Jones, Jolen Whitworth, Mel Perry, Laura M Kaminski, Darrell Lindsay, Dianne E. G. Selden, Hilary Wyn Williams, Peter Lewis, and Valerie Omond Cameron. The winner of the 2015 Poetry Competition is Sian Northey. I really like the conciseness and the careful control of her poems, the subtle use of language, and the freshness and the originality of her poetic voice, especially in the poem Cynghanedd .

 


Details of next years competitions will be announced shortly and we hope that all our 2015 entrants will consider competing again in the new year. We will be contacting the winners and runners up of the poetry and short story competitions via email shortly.


 

 

THE SEVENTH QUARRY Swansea Poetry Magazine aims to publish quality poems from around the world.

 

 

 



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Kathy Miles Wins Welsh Poetry Competition!


By AmeriCymru, 2015-12-01


The Welsh poetry competition organisers have announced the winners of their international competition. The overall winner was Kathy Miles for her poem"

‘There was a very high standard this year so it was a challenge to select the winning entries. The styles were varied but whether they were rhyming, non-rhyming, short, or long, what matters most is that these poems were written by people with heartfelt thoughts and feelings about the world around them. ‘Whether they were big names in the literary world, or new and unpublished writers, each entry was judged anonymously and the winners chosen purely on merit. This has to be the most fair and genuinely open competition in the UK. It's little wonder that its popularity is spreading and so many people from right around the world had decided to enter this year.’ said John Evans, competition judge.



The winners were as follows:

1st Prize – The Pain Game by Kathy Miles

2nd Prize – Albatross by Robert Marsland

3rd Prize – Remembrance: All Hallows by Eluned Rees



John also choose another seventeen poems for the ‘specially commended’ section with winners from all over Wales and the UK, as well as from USA and Australia, which once again highlights the fact that the Welsh Poetry Competition is a truly international event. All winning poems and judges’ comments can be viewed on the competition web site – www.welshpoetry.co.uk

‘The overall standard was once again excellent and this year more than any other we've seen a very high quality batch of entrants.  We’ve also had poets enter from every corner of the globe.

‘All winni ng poems can be read on our web site and we also have a fantastic anthology of previous winning entries from five years’ worth of competitions, which is also available from our web site.’ said Dave Lewis, competition organizer.

To get involved with next years’ competition, buy the anthology or just keep up to date with what we are doing you just need to visit The Welsh Poetry Competition web site, join our mailing list, Facebook group or follow us on Twitter.

Competition Web site - www.welshpoetry.co.uk
Competition Judge – www.johnevans.org.uk
Organiser Web site – www.david-lewis.co.uk

Twitter - @welshpoetrycomp


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'Shedding Paper Skin' by Mike Jenkins


By AmeriCymru, 2015-05-15



#fff; line-height: 125px; text-align: center; background: #859fbe;" a="" target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/Shedding-Paper-Skin-Mike-Jenkins/dp/184527508X%3FSubscriptionId%3DAKIAJVIGQN4FG3JO2YYQ%26tag%3Damericymrucom-20%26linkCode%3Dxm2%26camp%3D2025%26creative%3D165953%26creativeASIN%3D184527508X"> BUY! ........ #fff; line-height: 125px; text-align: center; background: #859fbe;"> BARKIN! .... #fff; line-height: 125px; text-align: center; background: #859fbe;"> Interview .... #fff; line-height: 125px; text-align: center; background: #859fbe;" a="" target="_blank" href="http://www.mikejenkins.net/"> Blog

"The title poem marks Mike Jenkins transition from the teaching profession to a free-ranging life hereafter"



I n this new collection of his work, there's a wide variety of subject matter and approach. His longer poem, 'Journey of the Taf', traces the river's journey from watershed to sea; a sequence of poems on the Troubles of Northern Ireland takes many viewpoints, including that of a car and a chair! He pays homage to poets, dead and alive and there's verse voicing concern about threats of a seagull (see below) on Cardiff Central station. Through all his work the poet's wit and passion is pervasive."

Mike Jenkins is a retired teacher who lives in Merthyr Tydfil. He conducts creative writing workshops and blogs weekly on www.mikejenkins.net .

BARKIN!, his previous book of poems and stories, written in the Merthyr dialect, was shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year in 2014. He has been the editor of Red Poets for 20 years.


Kairdiff Central Seagull

I've never felt threatened by a seagull before,

but this one's got 'STREET'

written along its beak,

which suddenly looks sharp

as a Stanley knife.

...

I wouldn't be surprised

by its swagger and attitude

if it wasn't into NWA or Tupac.

...

It eyes up my food

as if it already owns it

and I recall those stories of seabirds

snatching pasties or putting eyes out.

...

Those days spent by Aber pier

throwing crusts to balletic birds

seem a century away,

this creature's Kairdiff Central

born and bred, could pick

a packet from the rails

just before the inter-city's in.

...

It struts around me:

I am surrounded by a single bird!

Its pupils are two barrels

aiming straight at my cheese and celery.

...

I gulp the sandwich whole

like a heron with a fish.

Bro seagull saunters off

to mug a kid with a burger.

...

© Mike Jenkins 2015 (reproduced by kind permission of the author)

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READ THE WINNING ENTRY 5 POEMS HERE  

AmeriCymru: Hi Carole. You won the West Coast Eisteddfod Poetry Competition 2014 with your submission - 'Five Poems'. What can you tell us about your entry?

Carole: Hi Ceri. Yes, of course, I’ll be glad to. I’m very honored to have five of my poems selected this year by Peter Thabit Jones, and look forward to having my poems appear in a special chapbook section of  The Seventh Quarry .

When I first came across the AmeriCymru site I had been doing some genealogical research, and was excited to find a site for people of Welsh ancestry.  Once I joined, I came across the poetry competition page, and began pouring through my poems to find five that might make up a solid submission.  The first four poems are the most recent, and the last poem “Yesterday” was written when I was earning my MFA in Creative Writing.  I write in a range of styles, sometimes using common diction, and at other times, practice pressing into more dense, lyrical, or language based styles.  That said, I simply love the sound of language, and the montage effect of images in poems that sort of paint a tableau, or vignette, representing a moment, memory, place, or philosophical idea. This is a somewhat random grouping, but I chose the first poem “Talk about writing poems.” because it encourages the writing of poems, and it uses the word “eardstapa,” an Old English word meaning “wanderer,” referencing, obliquely, an ancient poem entitled “The Wanderer.” The second poem, “Made in the Shade” came about one day while walking, and thinking about some of the more disturbing things that are happening in the world.  The text is “exploded” to represent the sense of fits and starts, of fragmentation, and the way memories “play” like a recording does sometimes. The poem “Another Day” is a kind of meditation on duration, and it references a legendary person from antiquity, Cadmus, the founder of Thebes.

I like to mix obscure details like this with the commonplace. The next poem “Nothing is Perfect” is another sort of philosophical meditation, set within mundane experience.  Often when writing a poem the process itself, the sound of the language, leads me into a place where images begin to percolate, and the resulting poem is somewhat of a discovery.  This was one of those times.  Sometimes I experiment with different types of formal styles of poetry, so the next poem “Speaking of Rooms” is an example of an ekphrasis poem, meaning a poem that sets out to represent a work of visual art.  I simply love the Dutch painters' renditions of the interiors of homes and daily life from that time.  I kept one particular painting in my mind’s eye while I worked on this more formal poem, written in tetrameter, with five lines per stanza. The last poem “Yesterday” is another free verse poem, which is the way I usually write.  This one simply draws from some personal memories, working with images I have of one of my childhood homes, and the atmosphere there at the time.  

AmeriCymru: When did you first become interested in writing poetry? Where can readers go to find more of your work either online or in print?

Carole: I remember writing my first poem when I was 12 years old or so.  From then on I would occasionally write poems, or song lyrics, but did not become serious about this sort of writing until the early 1990s. I had begun keeping journals on a regular basis and realized that I have an urge to write.  I also read quite a bit, and began to realize how much I love the sounds of words, the musicality, rhythm, etc.  I decided to take a few poetry workshops, and then later having finishing a BA in Liberal Studies, went on to earn an MFA in Creative Writing with a dual concentration in poetry and fiction.

To date I’ve published a few poems with university literary journals, and a few other independent online journals.  Links to those poems, and a piece of flash fiction that has been published, can be found on my personal blog:

https://colourfieldsounding.wordpress.com/writing/

AmeriCymru: You also have an interest in art and fine art photography. Care to tell us more? Where can readers go to view your work online?

Carole: Yes, I have always had a strong interest in both art and photography for as long as I can remember.  Interestingly, I find my love of composition, along with an innate appreciation for “images” and “ideas” connect within my involvement in both writing and visual kinds of things.  Samples of some of my work are on Tumbler:

https://colourfieldsounding.wordpress.com/visual-art/

https://colourfieldsounding.wordpress.com/photography/

AmeriCymru: We note from your AmeriCymru profile that your ".....Welsh ancestral line can be traced back to Walerand de Monmouth, (b. 1165) who is my 25th great-grandfather!" Can you tell us a little more about your Welsh ancestry and genealogical researches?

Carole: A few years ago I became interested in learning more about my family history.  At that point I only knew that I have English ancestry on my father’s side (back to the pilgrim ship captain Myles Standish), and Danish/Welsh on my mother’s side. Now with so much information on the internet, I was able to begin constructing a family tree.  I have not been able to find much of a trail on my mother’s side yet, but on my father’s side, have been able to trace my ancestry way, way back, into the place where history becomes mythology, which is quite amazing!!!  At any rate, I am directly related to Walerand de Monmouth, and to Nest ferch Rhys (24th great-grandmother), and would love to travel to Wales at some point and actually visit Monmouth Castle, an important border castle, and the birthplace of Henry V.  I have discovered that many of my ancestors were from noble families, such as the de Neville’s (among others), and lived in castles that are still standing today.  I’m also directly related to King Alfred, and Charlemagne, among a number of other notable historical figures.  I’m especially interested in finding out more about the women in my geneology, and want to learn more about the people whose lives are not documented in the usual historical records. Within the past few years I’ve been able to travel to England a few times, and feel a very deep connection with that land.  Now that I know more about my ancestry I really look forward to traveling there again at some point before too long, and visiting Wales and Ireland, since I now know that my ancestors lived there as well.  I have much I want to research more deeply, and perhaps write about someday.

AmeriCymru: What's next for Carole Standish Mora?

Carole: I’m currently working on an MA/PhD in Depth Psychology with an emphasis in Jungian and Archetypal Studies, which requires lots of academic research and writing.  I have worked in the web and graphic design field for a number of years, and for a few years taught English Composition.  I loved teaching, am developing a couple of creative writing related workshops, and hope to return to teaching down the road.  In the meantime, I continue to write poetry, and am working on some longer pieces of fiction, two of which might want to become novels.

AmeriCymru: Any final message for the members and readers of AmeriCymru?

Carole: The AmeriCymru site is a wonderful resource for everything Welsh!  I especially appreciate the sense of a welcoming community, the special interest groups, competitions, a bookstore, courses and events.  I really encourage readers to explore the site more deeply and become involved. Since I have been a member I have noticed lots of development on the site, and feel very glad to have become a member.  I enjoy browsing the site from time to time and discovering new content. There is quite a bit of on going interaction on the site, and it feels good to connect more tangibly with my own roots, while also interacting with other people from Wales, or of Welsh ancestry.  While technology sometimes brings about a sense of disconnection and distance, sites like AmyriCymru bring people together in wonderful and immediate ways.  Thanks so much for the work you are doing to make this kind of community possible!


W e are pleased and proud to announce that the winner of the 2014 West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry Competition ( Carole Standish Mora ) will be afforded the opportunity to publish 10 of her poems in a chapbook which will be circulated with the Winter/Spring edition of the prestigious  Seventh Quarry international poetry magazine. This is in addition to the $200 prize money and inclusion in our online 'Hall of Fame'.

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READ OUR INTERVIEW WITH CAROLE STANDISH MORA HERE



Talk about writing poems.

It is like a disappearing act

or the magic

of slight-of-hands. It is art,

it is science,

it is none of the above.

 

A blind person can do it,

even the deaf and dumb.

 

A kind of intelligence

is needed, but like too much salt,

will ruin the dish.

 

There can never be too much heart.

Wishing

for a certain outcome invariably

leads to blind alleys.

 

At the same time, getting lost,

good and lost is

advisable – up a creek even.

 

If you can put on a cloak and pretend

you’re an ancient eardstapa,

that helps too,

even if you have to

look up a word or two.

 

Somedays the recipe is very

difficult to follow,

many ingredients are

unknown, or very hard

to find, or way too

expensive.

 

The hunger is strange and impossible

to appease. 

 

If the plums appear magically,

eating them immediately

is not advised.

 

It is best to gather them

into a bowl, a blue or yellow one perhaps,

and set them

on a table near a window.

 

You might also leave them for a day

or two, practicing remembering their smell,

while in some other room.

 

While in this other place, take out a deck of cards

and build a card house,

nothing fancy.

 

You might also blow it down for fun. 

 

When you’ve run out of games to play,

take down the dulcimer and sit for awhile

playing, even if  you don’t really know how.

 

Then, as the afternoon light is giving way to twilight,

you might go polish a plum, then

bite into it when you’re ready.

 

A sweetness will fill your mouth, sometimes

with a touch of sour.

 

Notice how wet the inside of your mouth feels then. 

 

And if you keep on like that soon you’ll reach the seed,

which can be thrown away or planted -– I advise the latter.

 

And, whoever said there is a way out of this mess

was wrong. – there is no way out. The trick is in

reversals – trial and all – it is worth it.  

 

There’s a trail of sorts, that is made

in the walking. Step by step

a new land. Lost and found,

arriving and leaving.

 

Or maybe, it is a kind of circle dance with words,

danced to a music only you can hear.

 

So, become a magician, cook up a storm, wander,

linger, enjoy the changing weather.

 

Take shelter here.

 

Made in the Shade

 

Growing in the gray sunny sidewalk is a green lichen

not like disintegration, though my athletic shoes are

and made in Taiwan, or China, or …

 

Still moving        captured         born

the news of the day

bites       hardened already        beyond

teeth, white, too polished, broken

fragmented minted running

as fast as it can spilling onto

screens caught as it has always been

within framed

                                           regret

 

Take Syria, the children there lack cereal choices

(aren’t there too many already?)

Take Iran, the children there sleep under cruel skies.

Take Uganda, the children there hack each others

faces because someone stole their childhood.

 

The video game skips certain parts – rewind – then replay is no better

 

Pause

 

The news of the day       born       captured           moving

still born

run as fast as you can

stop

walk slowly, don’t look back,

children are watching

now wait

the hunger this all points to is

still there

bitter hunger.

The Magnolia Grandiflora, with its seeds like bright, freshly

painted red fingernails, makes me think of Banyan trees.

 

I’ve never been to India, but some of the manhole covers

around  here are clearly marked as having been made there.

 

The night blooming Jasmine where I walked today smells like

night blooming – blooming night

 

Made in the shade –

while I try to remember that the Sun

and Moon are perpetually

dancing.

 

Nothing is Perfect

Innocence can’t save us and yet

It does compensate for things lost.

 

The well swept walk echoes with

Sounds of idle thoughts, of sweeping.

 

Hunched over to hold the hard stick

Of the broom, a quiet settles.

 

Inside focus shifts to sweeping action.

The mind slows.

 

Go on, it says, sweep the walk,

Watch leaves scatter, listen to bristle,

 

Meeting ground, the swift opening

To nothing, a clean path, innocence returned.

 

For the moment, lost things settle

Into lost places, and no thing

 

Is really entirely innocent, just young,

Newly accustomed to the imperfect

 

Idle thought, moving slowly back

And forth, obscuring something found.

 

Another Day

As we move into the day, yet

another day, we might find beauty

here, even though the land is

wasted in places.

 

In others when we look closer,

something holds forth,

a fine perfection.

 

The concrete curbs, drawn

so meticulously, outline our wanderings,

as Cadmus must have imagined obliquely.

 

The world’s delight is a brief dream,

hold still within this.

 

Speaking of Rooms

Remember when I spoke of rooms,

The ones Dutch painters fill with light

Where moments fixed and finite dwell

As people work and rest and wait?

 

I told you how I long to stay

Within those bright cool rooms

And listen to the self-same sounds

Then sit with apples in my lap.

 

Or light a fire, then by the window

Stand and gaze awhile, in stillness

Until I leave that place behind to

Make my own small picture here.

 

 

Yesterday

 

Just outside my bedroom window my mother dug in the dry earth,

trying to make a place to plant an olive tree sapling. Some days

I watched her from inside my room and examined the lead

that held  the diamond shaped pieces of glass in place,

where a three-paned window lined my blue window seat.

 

Red quarry tile lined the floors of the long hallway, of the

new house on Golden View Drive, the house where we all

were waiting for the new landscaping to grow in out front.

 

It was really hot that summer, but the tile floor

was cold  to bare feet most mornings and my new room

all blue, green, bright and cool.

 

I spent hours memorizing the curves in the headboard of my four poster,

canopied bed. Smooth shapes carved into tall posts and the delicate

turning of  the piece at the foot, surrounded  in Maplewood and white pinafore.

 

Sometimes I lay on the new blue carpet in my room, and listened

to Yesterday play over and over on my first 45. I wandered the orange groves

playing Indian, drew horses, and kept pet mice that ate their babies

if you  didn’t separate them at birth.

 

Surveyor 1 landed on the moon.

I worked at that place out back off and on with my mother all summer,

but we just kept hitting bedrock.

And my father was never home somehow – lost

            in the wrong work, when he could have been

                        with us

                                    digging.

* * *

West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry Contest - Five Poems (submitted 9/15/14)

Copyright: 2014 Carole Standish Mora



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