Ann Iverson Ann Iverson
Ann Iverson


Alone After Christmas


The collective mind
of snowflakes,
help me gather
strength
to make the earth
a friend of snow.

A gentle face
against a lonesome wood,
and blanched sky,
something to believe in.

The black lab eats the carrot nose.
I tire so and thus the person small.

Though each flake
states its case of beauty
hides and will dissolve
into something again,
greater than the ordinary.


( More poems by Ann Iverson )

 


 Poems  by Gary Langford


 
Casting

Who would you cast yourself as,
the fat chicken whose head isn't chopped off?
The turkey able to avoid Xmas celebrations?

Your favourite flower, cleanly cut,
where you never lack water, glowing,
a unique moment loved by all?

The actor who owns your dream -
how do you know this isn't the biggest lie,
acting's make-up so difficult?

If you fear the lack of words,
falling in silence, pray relentlessly.
You will land beautifully.

Others make problems of what you laugh at.
This is when you are beyond the sob,
beyond the township of sadness.

Once there you work in your garden,
humming in the calm of words,
nodding, clear and clean-eyed for you.


( More poems by Gary Langford )


Jan Oskar Hansen

War Photo

Shelled tree in the middle of a silent battlefield,
littered by the scrap metal of war. Leafless
branches stretching up as calling a higher power
to stop this madness. Here soldiers had to cross
open ground, where bullets flew like hailstones,
they fell like straw to scythe.

The photo was taken a spring day, dead bodies
will nourish the ground and the machinery that
take life, will lay idle under a carpet of plants,
even the shelled tree has bud on crippled twigs;
in the nearby town a general sits on his horse
in the square, he's got bird shit on his head


(More Poems by Jan Oskar Hansen )


 Poems by Michael Estabrook
 

Wedding Dress



My poor Aunt dies
suddenly
leaving her nieces and nephews
her money,
very much appreciated, very much needed,
with one child still in college,
another soon to be married,
and the third with
a brand new baby girl.
But Iím as far from gladdened
as far as Neptune is
from the sun.
The fresh earth atop
her grave
makes my heart thick
and queasy with sorrow.
But I donít cry until later that day,
while visiting the Staten Island Zoo,
drastically changed
over the last 30 years,
almost unrecognizable to me now,
making me feel,
for some unknown reason,
as useless as my Auntís wedding dress
from 1953
that we threw out
because it is faded, yellow and wrinkled,
and falling apart,
after all these years,
like me.


( More poems by Michael Estabrook)
 


 Poem by Christien Gholson



How we sat, and continue to sit,
on the edge

Sandstone bodies, no
faces; solid
to the eye, crumbling
under clear skies. All
the beautiful dead
here in red dust, scattered
cracked pinon shell, juniper
duff, jackrabbit pellets,
green flies. Dry jagged
ocean bottom, smooth-dune
waves. The humped red
Watchers surround us, feel around
inside us, mate with the quick
white spiders that daily excrete
our marrow, continually re-
weave us.

A crack in rock,
from a snakeweed stem
sending down roots. The Watchers,
at the edge of vision, cliffís edge,
hum. Wind rolls
through juniper, finds us.
We are poised on the edge,
a sad abyss, ancestors look
through our eyes with no
understanding. Ocean floor
at the top, next to sky; the unfor-
given and unforgivable dead
all around us.

All things are impossible now. Sky
and rock, impossible. History
and myth, impossible. The Watchers
hum. Juniper spines twist
slow. Emptiness wakes, is
continually waking. Roll
of sandstone humps rise
from red dirt; red houses
with no door, window. All things,
impossible. I have never felt
so calm.


( More poems by Christien Gholson)
 


Poem by Chris Crittenden

Past Fading

bits of me are falling away
like old coins,
the sort with odd faces,
gulped by dirt to be rescued by trowels,
or digested for eons to ignore.
 

iím brittle with sighs,
rusty with memories;
my throat feels every vein
saying goodbye foreveró
as if i were a fountain,
as if i were a parade,
as if i were a judge
unable to remember
how i told people to live.

time has always been my cure-all,
cleansing and circumscribing;
now it breaks me into ants.
ancestors blur
into fuzzy quilts of marching.

years parachute then shuffle
like the last waltz of neutered leaves.
i must let them go,
kiss them each one last time.
after that, no one will forgive,
not even i, the wounded echoes
of their testimony.



( More poems by Chris Crittenden)


A  Poem by J.P. DAS ( Bengali Poem)

History


There are no witnesses
here any more.
Achievements are immured
in palaces and caves.
Proofs of excellence
are recorded
on commemorative pillars
and the Kamasutra.
The desire for immortality
is petrified
in the citations
of inscriptions and edicts.

There is no word
of caution here,
nor any moral lesson.
That events take place
as contingents
is acknowledged unanimously.
There is no dearth
of logic and explanations
or justification.
There is a slot for everyone
in the bottomless pit
of obscure history.

In the successful hands
of the court pundits,
chapters get amended.
Saints and heroes gravitate
from the headlines
to foot-notes and appendices.
A strange conspiracy of events
pick up a forgotten villain
from the dustbin of time
and catapults him
to the throne above.

The country, the time
and the people survive
in characters, covenants,
draft compromise deeds,
blind alleys, trap doors,
secret chambers, arrows,
cannons and hydrogen bombs.
In the sacrifices of ashwamedha
and atomic weapons,
the limits of existence
are determined.
Beneath the crowding
shadow of excitement,
the civilization grows older.

People standing outside
stare with unconcern
at the successful events.
By the hands of capable people
newer chapters are written
only to be offered
to omnivorous worms of time.

Statues and replicas
pretend to originality.
Jesters become serious
and bestow philosophical meanings
on their silly jokes.
Everything finds its way
into the moth-eaten pages.
Scholars of the future
continue to wait
with undeciphered alphabets
in their hands.
Tragic anecdotes
that had already happened
are enacted yet again
as burlesques.

 

(More poems by J.P. DAS)


Poem by  K. Siva Reddy ( Telugu poem)



In Front of My Eyes


The night must burn away like this in front of my eyes.
Just like picking up oysters from the ocean's womb
we must pick up some poetic gems from the night's womb.
We must take out some life from our life and pour life into
the poems.
In slow stages our life keeps receding
the life of the poems keeps increasing.
Only from immolation, only from self-sacrifice priceless gems.
Unless we burn on and on till we become red iron
the poems cannot achieve the shape and the soui we desire.
Every day I kill a bit of myself.
The letters of the alphabet that drank the milk from my
breast keep growing in front of my eyes.
In their diverse faces, in the diverse shapes the essence
of my soul lives.


(Translation of `Wa Kallamunduń" from Mohana! Oh Mohanai,
p.95.)

 

(More poems by K. Siva Reddy)


 Poem by Alok Dhanwa ( Hindi Poem)

Bruno's Daughters

They had not willed themselves
to be made from scum and sack-cloth,
They had mothers, and
Were mothers themselves.

They had names,
And they rang from their childhood
to their last
even in the voice of those
that killed them!

They had faces.
Bodies.
Hair.
And in the sun they had their shadows.

In the plains of the Ganga they had
their hours of work, each time
they'd had to be given their dues!
Like the world was forced
to look through Galileo's telescope!

They were not ashes and lies,
They were mothers
And who is that brute, who says
that they bore their children
desiring none?

Their womb was not an indifference,
it was not a mistake
nor habit,
it was not an intoxicant
not an intoxicant,
their womb was no transgression.
Who says it was?
Which economist?

They had their lovers.
They knew the thrill.

They were mothers.
They too had their nine months,
not inside some whale
but in the whole world
Nine months of this whole world!

The world is whole
Indivisible.
It just can't be pulled apart.
Why then the hunt of motherhood alone?

Don't you ever want the whole world
to come into that hamlet
where they have killed those toiling women?

What country do they belong to,
whose citizens afe they,
when the evidence of their being
Is all but rubbed away?
Till last evening they had been
even till last midnight
among the residents of this earth,
like the Earth itself,
like the murderers themselves.
But this morning?
when they've all been burnt alive!

Does the world of the living live
On the living alone?
Yet they are there,
even this morning,
in this world.
They've their friends,
Theii poets,
Their failures;
And it tells upon our time.
Their class alone is not their time!

By tomorrow in the evening
this charred earth will glimmer
like an unbaked earthen lamp,
and it will beckon its new
inhabitants.

They were not nomads:
Their pitchers have left their hollows
on the curb of the well.
Their axe-blows show
on the white `sheesham' trunk.
They had laid out slabs
along the slopes down to the dam.

With their day-after-day
tracks have emerged.
They had all reached this place
not from nowhere, or by chance:
They had come, walking, along
the banks of the Nile.

They had doors,
Behind which lay their cradles,
festive ribbons to do the hair,
Papaya plants,
the fresh-cut grass and tobacco-leaves
drying unhurried in the courtyards.
You could even see the spear
that killed snakes.

They were not some blotch and beep.

They had their lamps,
animals,
homes,
They had homes, where
Lentils would cook on a slow fire.
Flour would be kneaded.
Salt in the earthen pots
would ooze out during the rainy days.

They had homes
Within the reach of prowling cats.

The night came there
gently down.
The moon there made
a shapely round.
There were walls
enclosing their yards,
and birds snapped up the stray bits.

There was imagination there.
And there was
memory.

There were walls there
with cloud and horn scrawled on them,
Walls
that barred the undergrowth.

Walls of the houses, of homes.
Solid wills to settle.
They had built them,
not with porcupine-bristles
or bear-nails,
but with kneaded lumps of mud.

Who's that cheat who shows them
Shot in colour
as if they were nothing but wilderness?

They were mud-walls,
not some ancient rocks;
coated afresh with mud
year-after-year!
They were homes  not a reverie.
Not hollows in a tree.
Nor mice in the claws of a soaring hawk.

Their homes lay there, not in a lion's clav~
but on the whole-world map;
in place, complete.

They were at work quite early in the morn,
their aanchals wet with the dew, and
the moon just downed.

So early in the morn they would come.
But where did they come? Where?
And why so early in the morn,
for which country?
So early?

Did they come so early in the morning
just for the masters?
Not for me?
Nor for you?

Did they come so early as to feed
just their folks at home?
How do you regard this labour, tell me!
The oil-well being rigged off the Indian shores,
is it outside my life?
Is it a routine government job?

How do you regard labour?

They never said the cities were a fraud,
or a trap.
For them, cities were not
mere prison-walls or lost litigations.
They had seen the cities,
and not with the eye of a wild beast.

Cities passed into their lives,
not as goods or as a rule,
but, above all, with their sons,
and you can see them around the chimneys
even now.

They were murdered,
they had not killed themselves!
And there is sense, even joy in that,
never to be blurred in poetry!

What was it in their being, I ask,
that they'd to be burnt alive?
in the final years of the twentieth century,
right before a land with a parliament?
What was it in their being, that
could not be bought off,
could not be used?

That, which had to be put on fire,
in the middle of a night,
in a circle of guns,
coward-like?
I am repeating things time and again,
making big news of a common event!

But all that I care for, turns
on this common event!

And I ask:
What was it in their being
which, even fire
could not destroy!


The trails they blazed were not
Swords gone mad.
Their line did not dry up
like the lines of kings and queens!

Those who owned mammoths and blind cannons,
they are but fossils in their own lifetime.
Yet, the tillers with their ploughs of wood,
are still on the move!

Queens have vanished,
and with them their memory -
now as cheap as a rusted tin.

Queens have vanished,
but the women
reaping the harvests,
are reaping still to the farthest end!


Bruno Ki Btiyan': Translated from HIndi  by . B.K. Paul/Romsa Paul/Anil Saari/K. Satchidanandan/
Girdhar Rathi.

 




Poem by Padma Sachdeva ( Dogari Poem)




DON'T CLOSE ME IN



Don't close me in
Amidst the dark
And sorrow's stifling pervasive smell
In the corners
Among the cobwebs
I see hanging
Man and his children
I do not stretch out my hands
For fear of touching them.
Let me wander among the streets
Lose my self among crowded lanes
I seek paths
Where shadows rush along
Each in isolated, eager search
Don't close me in
For I am a person
Not a soul.

Translated by SHIVANATH


 
(More poems by Padma Sachdeva
)


Poem By Rituraj ( Hindi Poem)

Poets

Poets live to an old age
Though they're always getting killed off
they are still around.

Making friends
with fools and lumpens in these selfish times
thrusting poetry books into their hands
poets laugh for days on end
they howl first and then turn silent
but the cursed poems never shut up

Poets find birds in children
and girls in birds
and flowers in girls
collect the seeds of all they've seen
and sow themselves together with the seeds

Poets hide like seeds
only to return in new forms

At least now their breed is in no danger of extinction

`Kavi Log': Translated by - Manjit Kaur Bhatia/Christi Merrill/ Daniel Weissbort



( more Poems by Rituraj)


Poem by Rati Saxena


The Journey of the Body



When the skin breathes

When the skin breathes
it leaves harshness
smoothness too
no need of
worldliness for it

wound inside the skin
spread like
the bunches of grapes
bones and muscles
share in pain
the skin does not just decorate
the body
it voices communication of inner and outer worlds

Grinding stone of time

Skin
when talks to
bones
muscles become
signs of veins

bones get ground
in the grinding stone of time
skin becomes support
till last moment

laughing pulses

Air comes running
enters in to every cell
keeps coming
in lungs
a different type of sky
flight of wings
blue colour
pulses start laughing
blood gets set for race


Bodily journey of bones

Bones know
they cannot contain in fist
Earth cannot melt them
fire cannot burn them
they will remain alive
above the identity of the body
under the water of river
in the womb of the sea
keep on remembering
the body case
and then to body


The sky of body

To stand straight
there is need for a wish
to spread the branches
like trees
catching the sky
in the arms
by strengthening roots
remain in one place

bones want to walk
coming up
bending down
they join
becoming joints
teach
bending, turning
moving fast.

the joints give
expanse of sky
to body on the Earth



The fountain of skeleton

weaving by every thread
muscles take shape
spread on the skeleton
change into a fleshy climber
the skeleton changes into
fountain of mountain

The world stood on shoulders

lines moving on
finger tips
give identity
to whole body
fingers
separate humanity
from other animals
palms write the
script of life
flexibility of fists
from elbow to shoulder
gives way to
fight with arms
on the shoulders
takes rest the world

Power of ribs

in one rib
such a lot of power
it could make
Adam and Eve
become the home of breath
the ribs
the mind sleeps here
clinging like Manjira
dancing on the rhythm of breath
in the kirtanam of lungs
attached to body
then left alone
waiting for
the apple
the snake
the curse
on Adam and Eve

House wivesí intestines

remain
in the walls of home
with the python expanse
good house wives
cook for hunger

Body

it is not
only covering
not even
flesh of fruit
it is seed
it is a long bridge
from soul to soul

Breaths

sweeping and cleaning
throwing out
the breaths
like stubborn birds
coming again and again
for making nests

The little home

Rag is running
giggling
Moha dancing on rhythm
Man sitting on wooden horse
sweater knitting
jealous stands in corner
hope kept in basket
anger is boiling
on the stove

the house of body
tweeting tweet-tweet.

Rati Saxena


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