“it was after a journey” … and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

If you look closely, you’ll see the little Rufus Hummingbird. Hummingbirds remind us that the sweetest nectar is within.


And here are the responses to last Wednesday’s writing prompt, posted late in the day – Tuesday – with my apologies. I know that for Kakali and Anjum it is already Wednesday dawn. Colin, Paul and Sonja are still fast asleep. In just a few hours bogpan will be getting up and getting ready for work. Only for Lisa, Miguel and me is it still Tuesday, around dinner time. Phew! It’s been that kind of day for this poet.

Last week’s prompt, Brightness Beckons, January 10, was about transformative moments and I believe these poets have risen to the occasion, some by a thread and some all-in, but each one delivered a well-considered work. Enjoy!

Do join us tomorrow for the next prompt. All are welcome, no matter the stage of your career.  It’s all about exercising the writing muscle and meeting other poets.


Released

In utter despair
heart-broken open
stroke after stroke,
water engulfs me,
cradling, warm,
absorbing goggle-trapped tears.

Released, they said,
from one hell to another—
not free, not free to go home,
released from youth jail
to adult jail to wait for trial,
released, they said, cruel sentence.

Swimming my prayer,
please,
I can’t do this any more,
his pain,
merging with mine,
drop into drop.

Ears to hear, broken open,
voice in my head:
You must continue
they need you
he needs you
you can do this

Who speaks?
imagination or God?
mysterious mentor,
self pity called out—
Lady Justice, Compassion, Love—
who speaks?

Stroking the white-blue water
image etched on liquid canvas,
heart sliced open,
blood drops falling,
gold needle pulling golden thread,
closes red pulsing flesh.

Water holds me,
windmill arms can’t stop,
thunder breaths hauled in
puffing past ears that hear,
scolded, emboldened, submerged—
resurrected.

He, sitting behind bars,
sixteen, innocent,
Me, swimming,
free,
I can do this. I must.
Water.

© 2018, Lisa Ashley  (www.lisaashleyspiritualdirector.com)


it was after a journey

of fourteen hours
by plane and train when
arriving at a lonely station
in the far North I approached a man
who’d obviously been
standing in the road outside
for a hundred years
and was therefore likely to know
his way around like the back of his hand

– I want to go to Etlic I said
– Etlic: you’ll need to go to Mrs Warrender
who runs the boat service; you see that trail…

he pointed down a long sea-embattled peninsular
down which the yellow trail snaked
into the distance; it seemed that Mrs Warrender
had a boatyard in some village
at the end of it

active mind in ailing body
set off along the track
which went though tunnels with deep puddles
over many stiles and up through manholes
which was entirely appropriate
for a man in a hole struggling
with many other pilgrims
intent on making the next boat to Etlic
which he failed to do

throughout the following day
I maintained an active image of Mrs Warrender
whom I must have met in some other life

***

Don’t ask me where ‘Etlic’ is. I dreamed about the place so it must be somewhere! It had a kind of Bright Hope attached to it!

© 2018, Colin Blundel (Colin Blundell, All and Everything)


Gustave Doré’s illustration of Canto III: Arrival of Charon; public domain illustration

Almost a Song

“Per me si va nella città dolente…”
Dante Alighieri

You haven’t forgotten
you won’t forget…
In ices is swelling
the river again and trawling
roots and weeds,
and foam.
It leaves the shores bent,
mirrors,
swamps and frost.
But on the day
it kindles a glow.
With movements
spiral of
the hands,
I’m folding the air
after the beasts –
to that one threshold
(what does it say
no, I don’t know).

And the death ones leave.

© 2018, bogpan Bozhidar Pangelov – (bogpan – блог за авторска поезия)

“Per me si va nella città dolente” … The Inferno, Canto III, “Through me the way to the city of woe”  


Vinegar

And a clean cloth is what she needs
to scrub the smeared pains of her heart

just as Jill needed vinegar and brown paper to repair Jack’s broken bonce

after he fell carrying a pale of water,
but her spirit is not in a bucket,

but in a pane of glass that needs cleaning so she can see clearly the obstacles

in her way and be a pilgrim
and wipe tears from her granddaughter’s eyes.

© 2018, Paul Brookes  (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)

Every Key She

puts in the door is her 21st when she hauls her late five year old screaming

daughter to the dentists to get her braces tightened, folk looking askance

as the child shouts for help as if she’s being abused and milking the attention

and five years later after her final visit
to the hospital she puts the key into her

echoing house when she would have been glad to hear her daughter’s voice.

© 2018, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)

The Neighbour’s Traveller

crawls along a mountain’s shoulder,
down a verterbrae of spines,

into the leaf mould of birth
where it cradles a knapsack of beliefs

in a bonegirdle. Pioneer savage
come to swap gifts with half
dressed gentlemen.

His garden drystone wall
of philosopher’s stone

waits for an answer to a question
it has forgotten. Meanwhile spiders hunt

spaces between carefully placed slabs.

© 2018, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)


Indefatigable

a sower here

— showed
a belief
as rising up

as change, as malleable

thought to call it god —

I spoke not knowing what I would say

just as easily —

the growing mountains of
refuse
mean something
equally
as insurmountable as speech
to really
satisfy

and that leaves the
obvious quiet

thematically dragged out on cue

— dream in cycles

each of these things committed
in silence — think
of the plethora —

guard as treasure

dub She

(c) 2018, Miguel J. Escobar 


#The Song Of A Dewdrop#

My chest twisted as a dying leaf
That had it’s last swing on  that grey hill
When suddenly I saw a dewdrop ,
A pearly corn on that dying leaf
In the rosy -pink light of dawn
fondling  a scarlet flower
Dazzling and giggling
in the wintry breeze .
Sparkling like diamond nose pin
That glitters and glistens on a queen’s nose
Or as a glossy prism  on the grassy leaf
It sang mirthfully
One beam of hope still  surpasses
That grey agonised mountain chest

©2018, Kakali  Das Ghosh


Post-Op. 2009

I’m roused from sleep again,
the nurse’s fob watch
twinkling silver
as she take my pulse.

She whispers an apology:
must do my obs.
check nothing’s come loose
and we grin.

I’m multi-tubed,lie flat
like a beached octopus.

I tell her I don’t mind.
I’m glad she disturbs
these drifting hours
between midnight and morning.

I’m glad of soft lights
above my bed,
glad of electric suns
along wide-awake corridors.

© 2018, Sheila Jacob 


.on spring #2.

black bird sings early, the same bird calls late.
new light drowns darkness, spring spins around.
black bird calls early, the same bird calls late.
sonnet sings ten beats to another’s spare sound.

who asks for word, who knows which hour it starts,
which minute, which rule of rhyme or reason.
making of lines , counting the breaks, our hearts
open. this is february, split season.
moon draws the tide, upper river pools
on spring, a note , a sonnet , a dance
where light or other prayers redeem fools,
those who rage the world sons may change perchance.

on spring we write in fourteen lines, to date,

black bird sings early, the same bird calls late.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher  (Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA and Sonja’s Drawings)


Pilgrimage Toward the Light

     after Dr. Allama Iqbal’s poem, “Pilgrimage to Eternity”

O Restless spirit what seekest thou , since
awareness dawned, in innocence encased
bits of paper became letters symbolic ,
what messages were lost and  received
unknown unseen till strange sounds
sailed through the cool silent breezes
and the heart beat faster,fingers grew cold

eyes roamed the boundless skies, finding no cuts or breaks
birds flew trembling fluttering closer to each other
as the golden ball seemed to sink out of sight, finding darkness
behind the eyes turned to the skies again, behold, bejeweled
was the roof with diamonds arranged, twinkling for long hours
becoming small, disappearing from vision yet still present
‘Know that they are still there’ only hidden by Light’

Hidden by Light? and a voice called ‘Allah ho Akbar’
The Greatest is He, Prayer is better than sleep
prayer is better than sleep’ and the sight descends
to touch the earth,flat dry strong stony rough solid
The heart beat faster again…

‘feel the inner strength,the magnetic touch the Light’
slight pain in the back I felt, head down, bent in
body slipping instantly, invisibly flying to nowhere
in semi darkness, I reached a room square in shape
a small window opening near the ceiling, a single bed
lay in the center, on the floor…I smoothed the folds of
the white sheet, satisfied that all was set, I returned…
or was brought back…I awoke …the light streamed on

‘He made the day  for work and night for rest, and the
day allowing sight ‘there was no chaos, all was pure
clean ethereal and with great speed…

I heard another voice, ‘not now later’ a voice so clear
the night slipped away making way for the lightc
it grew brighter moment by moment, the eyes
roamed from one end of the to the other,seeking
what dost thou seek?
I still don’t know…

the light grew yet brighter till
the glow was whiter than any light , blinding…
the appeared small shapes like people sitting on
the floor bowing towards one point…brightest in the center
IMG_20170426_152958_467

and ‘the gleam increased’ unbearable light’
the Lamp as it shone revealed more Light
and I felt weak in the limbs…
where are the stars of the night?

the rainbow in the clouds
the colors on the ground
the amazing shapes in clouds
carrying holding water drops

I sailed through and through
flew like a bird, who holds their
wings,held me too, no desire for
food nor thirst for a drink just nothing
yet so much…yet felt only …
unseen purity “Light Of Divine Love’

© 2018, Anjum Wasim Dar  (EternalLights, Life Style and Strange Stories and Poetic Oceans)


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

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American- Israeli Poet, Michael Dickel (War Surrounds Us) will be in Hamilton Ontario, Tallahassee Florida and Long Island, NY

“That some of those labelled as enemies
have crossed the lines to offer condolences
at the mourning tents; that the mourning
families spoke to each other as parents
and cried on each others’ shoulders;
that we cried for the children who died
on both sides of the divide; that the
war began anyway; that hope must
still remain with those who cross
borders, ignore false lines and divisions;
that children should be allowed to live;
that we must cry for all children who die”

– Michael Dickel, (Mosquitos) War Surrounds Us


“Thanks to musician and artist Zena Hagerty and HamiltonSeen (film-makers) for inviting me [Michael] to Ontario as a writer-in-residence to work in collaboration with other artists.

“Also, thanks to poet Michael Rothenberg and #100TPC for also inviting me to Florida for a residency, later in February.

“If any  people in our wider poetry community seeing this in or around Hamilton-Toronto or Tallahassee areas and have connections to help with arranging potential readings or campus visits during February (first part in Ontarion, second in Florida), please be in touch with me via Facebook chat / messenger if you are willing to help. I expect to be in the NYC-Long Island area the last week of January (28 Jan–03 Feb), also. Paying gigs would especially be appreciated, to help cover my travel expenses (which the residencies don’t have funds to cover).”

—Michael

Watch for more details on time, days and locations to come under “Events” in upcoming Sunday Announcements. ./J.D.

You can read my [Jamie’s] interview of Michael: The Poet as Witness HERE and his essay A Defense of Activist Poetry HERE. Michael’s Amazon page is HERE.


Note: If you are reading this post via an email subscription, it’s likely you’ll have to link through to the site to view this video.


MICHAEL DICKEL a poet, fiction writer, and photographer, has taught at various colleges and universities in Israel and the United States. Dickel’s writing, art, and photographs appear in print and online. His poetry has won international awards and been translated into several languages. His chapbook, Breakfast at the End of Capitalism came out from Locofo Chaps in 2017. Is a Rose Press released his most recent full-length book (flash fiction), The Palm Reading after The Toad’s Garden, in 2016. Previous books: War Surrounds Us, Midwest / Mid-East, and The World Behind It, Chaos… He co-edited Voices Israel Volume 36(2010). He was managing editor for arc-23 and arc-24. With producer / director David Fisher, he received an NEH grant to write a film script about Yiddish theatre. He is the former chair of the Israel Association of Writers in English. Meta/ Phor(e) /Play is Michael’s blogZine Michael on Social Media: Twitter | FaceBook Page | Instagram | Academia  Michael is also an a member of The BeZine core team.


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

 

SUNDAY ANNOUNCEMENTS: Calls for Submissions, Contests, Events, and Other Information and News

CALLS FOR SUBMISSIONS

Opportunity Knocks

BEAR DELUXE art, culture, environment on the brink considers submissions of nonfiction, fiction, essays and creative nonfiction, poetry, art, illustration and cartoons on an ongoing basis. Compensation and one-year subscription. Details HERE.

CALIFRAGILE Poetry‘s editor, Wren Tuatha, says “in these times when the Earth and humanity seem so breakable, as if they might break each other, we search for answers in the air. What’s our next move? What did I just see on the news? What does this moment demand of me? Poets interpret their screens, sing to nature, and admonish us our selfishness. Califragile is a portrait of turning, questioning, stretching, stepping up.”  Details HERE.

COTTON XENOMORPH a newbie “journal produced with the mission to showcase new and ecstatic art” focused on social justice. Its editors categorize it as a “no creeps” publication … that is, no xenophobes, sexist, fat-shamers and the like … much the spirit of The BeZine. Nice!  Poetry, fiction and visual arts are of interest. Details HERE.

COFFIN BELL, a journal of dark literature a quarterly – is getting ready to publish its second issue, April 1, themed monsters.  The editors seek poetry, flash fiction, short stories, and creative nonfiction “that explore dark themes” not necessarily traditional horror. The say, “Send us your political horrors, dark political thrillers, your waking nightmares. Details HERE.

CONFRONTATION literary magazine considers poetry, stories and nonfiction. Details HERE.

HARPER’S MAGAZINE does not accept unsolicited poetry but does consider fiction and nonfiction manuscripts, art, illustrations and photographs.  Details HERE.

OPEN JOURNAL OF ARTS AND LETTERS “has as its primary ambition to gather, publish, and popularize notable contemporary writing and other fine arts and to promote the work of its contributors to a varied and discerning audience in the English-speaking world and beyond.” Publishing interests are: flash fiction, creative nonfiction as essay or memoir, poetry.  Details HERE.

MUSE, a children’s magazine published by Carus Published (the publishers of Cricket) is published collaboratively with Smithsonian  for children ages 9 and over. It features science, history and the arts. They accept commissioned features only so you will have to query first for the themed issues. Details HERE.

PIGEON PAGES a literary journal features diverse voices, emerging and establish feel compelling stories, proses pieces 4,000 words or less. No poetry. Details HERE.


THE BeZINE, Be Inspired, Be Creative, Be Peace, Be. Submissions for the March issue – themed Peace – closes on February 10 at 11:59 p.m. PST .

New rules: Please send text in the body of the email not as an attachment. Send photographs or illustrations as attachments. No google docs or Dropbox or other such. No rich text. Send submissions to bardogroup@gmail.com.

Publication is March 15th. Poetry, essays, fiction and creative nonfiction, art and photography, music (videos or essays), and whatever lends itself to online presentation is welcome for consideration.  No demographic restrictions.

Please read at least one issue and the Intro/Mission Statement and Submission Guidelines. We DO NOT publish anything that promotes hate, divisiveness or violence or that is scornful or in any way dismissive of “other” peoples.

The BeZine will be published on quarterly schedule in 2018 and for the foreseeable future:

  • March 2018 issue, Deadline February 10th. Theme: Peace.
  • June 2018 issue, Deadline May 10th. Theme: Sustainability
  • September 2018 issue, Deadline August 10th, Theme: Human Rights/Social Justice
  • December 2018 issue, Deadline November 10th, Theme: A Life of the Spirit

Suggestions for sub-themes are still being reviewed. Send yours to thebardogroup@gmail.com. (Current suggestions  include: domestic abuse, eckphrastic poetry, the meaning/importance of poetry, and restorative justice.)

The BeZine is an entirely volunteer effort, a mission. It is not a paying market but neither does it charge submission or subscription fees.

Previously published work may be submitted if you hold the copyright. Submissions from beginning and emerging artists as well as pro are encouraged and we have a special interest in getting more submissions of short stores, feature articles, music videos and art.


CONTESTS

NATIONAL POETRY SERIES open competition guidelines  seeks book-length poetry by U.S. citizens living in the States or abroad. Submission fee $30. Competition closes on February 28, 2018.  Details HERE

PAZ PRIZE FOR POETY awards one $2,000 prize every year – the even years – for “the publication of a previously unpublished book of poetry originally written in Spanish by an American resident. The 2018 prize will open on May 1 2018 and run though June 15, 2018.  Details HERE.

THE CAROLYN FORCHÉ PRIZE FOR HUMANITARIAN POETRY is $1,000 and publication. The prize “is awarded for a poem on the theme of improving people’s lives or reducing suffering, especially widespread suffering. Examples of humanitarian poetry include poems about refugees, humanitarian aid, escape, rescue, war and conflict.”  The  winner and ten finalists will be published in the upcoming 2018-2019 anthology, Elusions: Refugee Poems, to be published by WaterWood Press. Submissions begin March 15, 2018, and close August 15, 2018. $10 submission fee. Details HERE.

Carolyn Forche / Photo by Slowking4 under GFDL 1.2

“Different people have articulated … [poetry as] the natural prayer of the human soul. I feel very blessed to have this vocation. ” Carolyn Forché

 

 

 


THE 2018 INGRID JONKER PRIZE FOR ENGLISH POETRY has an open a call for submissions. Publishers or self-published poets are invited to submit three copies of any English poetry debut published in 2016 or 2017 for adjudication to:

Ingrid Jonker Prize Committee
c/o Finuala Dowling
Centre for Extra-Mural Studies
University of Cape Town
Private Bag|
Rondebosch 7701
Cape Town

The Ingrid Jonker Prize is awarded in alternate years to the best debut collections in English or Afrikaans.  The winner receives a cash prize dependant on the interest accumulated in an account originally established for this purpose.

In 2016 the Ingrid Jonker prize for a debut collection of poetry in English was awarded to Thabo Jijana for Failing Maths and My Other Crimes (uHlanga Press)

The closing date for submissions is Wednesday 31 January 2018. Entries should be accompanied by a cover letter with the contact details of the publisher and poet, as well as a declaration that the submission is the poet’s first collection of poetry published with an ISBN.

For the rules and regulations of the Ingrid Jonker Prize, see http://versindaba.co.za/2011/03/23/die-ingrid-jonker-prys/

For further information, contact Finuala Dowling, Convenor of the Ingrid Jonker Prize for English Poetry
(finuala.dowling@uct.ac.za).

EVENTS

  • LEDBURY POETRY FESTIVAL , 29 June – 8 July, 2018. Scheduled presentations, featured speakers and other details HERE.
  • SKAGIT RIVER POETY FESTIVAL 2018, La Conner, Washington, May 17-20. Tickets on sale now. Workshops, featured poets, tickets and other details HERE.
  • FAIRWAY GALLE LITERARY FESTIVAL,  January 24 – 28. The festival is celebrated annually, in and around the historic Dutch Galle Fort, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, located on the southern shores of the tropical isle of Sri Lanka (Ceylon). Details HERE. (Looks like some events are already sold out.)

 


More details
Martin Luther King, Jr., president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Mathew Ahmann, executive director of the National Catholic Conference for Interrracial Justice, at a civil rights march on Washington, D.C. / Public Domain photo

DIFFERENT TRUTHS, A Global Participatory Social Journalism Platform ” is a Social Journalism (a form of Collaborative Journalism) platform. Based on the tenets of Participatory Journalism, Social Journalism creates a synergy between Citizen Journalists (any lay person, who is not trained as a journalist to voice their opinions) and Professional Journalists. Social Journalism is a media model consisting of a hybrid of professional journalism, contributor and reader content. It is similar to open publishing platforms … Social Journalism helps to strengthen and deepening Democratic Values. It upholds the best traditions of secular, non-violent, non-racist and casteless society. Different Truths upholds non-discriminatory traditions, where Special Needs people have equal opportunities. It aims at unifying the Peoples from various parts of the globe to create the world without boundaries – a Global Village where Peace and Prosperity rules.”  To publish work to this platform – articles, poems, short stories, pix and videos – check out detail under “submission” in the blog roll to the right HERE.


YOUR SUNDAY ANNOUNCEMENTS may be emailed to thepoetbyday@gmail.com. Please do so at least a week in advance.

If you would like me to consider reviewing your book, chapbook, magazine or film, here are some general guidelines:

  • send PDF to jamiededes@gmail.com (Note: I have a backlog of six or seven months, so at this writing I suggest you wait until June 2018 to forward anything. Thank you!)
  • nothing that foments hate or misunderstanding
  • nothing violent or encouraging of violence
  • English only, though Spanish is okay if accompanied by translation
  • your book or other product  should be easy for readers to find through your site or other venues.

TO CONTACT ME WITH ANNOUNCEMENTS AND OTHER INFORMATION FOR THE POET BY DAY: thepoetbyday@gmail.com

TO CONTACT ME REGARDING SUBMISSIONS FOR THE BeZINE: bardogroup@gmail.com

PLEASE do not mix the communications between the two.


Often information is just thatinformation – and not necessarily recommendation. I haven’t worked with all the publications or other organizations featured in my regular Sunday Announcements or other announcements shared on this site. Awards and contests are often (generally) a means to generate income, publicity and marketing mailing lists for the host organizations, some of which are more reputable than others. I rarely attend events anymore. Caveat Emptor: Please be sure to verify information for yourself before submitting work, buying products, paying fees or attending events et al.


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

 

“The Horizon Written” – music by Joseph Alen Shaw, inspired by an Ed Roberson poem, introduced here by John Anstie


A new composition from composer, Joseph Alen Shaw, is indicative of a man of considerable musical talent, who doesn’t let the grass grow under his feet. Not for the first time, has he used poetry to inspire musical composition. Last year I was flattered that he asked me to write a brief text on the seasonal theme of Autumn. The haiku triplet was beautifully woven into a song by some alchemical musical magic and is here. This also appeared in the October ‘Music’ themed edition of The BeZine. The title of his new piece, he explains, was taken from the text of poem, As at the Far Edge of Circling by Ed Roberson. In my view, the music fits well with the text of the whole poem. You can judge for yourself.

The new composition, The Horizon Written, was commissioned by musician, Elliott Walker, the Church Organist at St Paul’s Rotherham in the UK, specifically for their Festival of Remembrance, which was held last November. Joseph’s own words in his blog, best describe it. The blog also contains a live recording of the music. (The link to his blog is at the start of this paragraph).

I hope you enjoy his music as much as I do.
John Anstie (My Poetry Library, FortyTwo … of Life, the Universe and Everything and The BeZine)

Photo courtesy of Junior Libby, PublicDomainPictures.net


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY