.sports day. – . . . and other poetic responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

[On writing:] “There’s a great quote by Julius Irving that went, ‘Being a professional is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don’t feel like doing them.'” in an  interview with Budd Mishkin; New York March 25, 2007.)” David Halberstam (Author, Glenn Stout (Editor), Everything They Had: Sports Writing



The last Wednesday Writing Prompt, The Bottom of the Ninth, May 29, 2019 was a call to “write a poem about any sport that engages you. What delights you about it?  Perhaps for you the topic lends itself to poetic memoir?  Maybe you’re a soccer mom or a baseball dad. Do you see your fave game as a metaphor for life? Or, as a poet and writer, do the idioms delight you?”

I’m charmed by the responses (and you will be too) from Paul’s moving I Watched Athletics With My Mam to Anjum Ji’s cultural introduction to cricket, it is once again a rich response to Wednesday Writing Prompt.  I never knew chess was considered a sport. I had to look that up. Thank you, Bozhidar.  Every writer will sympathize with deb y felio’s unexpected twist and Jen Goldie’s game effort, well done. You’ll be engaged by Sonja’s signature chiseled poems, Sheila’s poem, part triumph, part homage to her dad, and the sensual elements of running in Irma’s Quiet Run.

Readers will note links to sites if available are included that you might visit these treasured poets. The links for contributors are always connected to their blogs or websites NOT to specific poems. If the poet doesn’t have a website, it’s likely you can connect with him or her via Facebook.

Enjoy this Tuesday collection and do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt, whether you are a beginning poet, emerging or pro.  All are welcome – encouraged – to come out and play and to share your poems on theme.


I Watch Athletics With My Mam

I sit on her soft bed, rest an arm
on a spare pillow. Mum’s pillows
stack behind her as we watch a
tv placed where her dress mirror stood.

Chemotherapy means she does
not like reflective surfaces.
All house mirrors have been removed.

Once she cried as her hair fell out.
She cried as she gained each pound weight
because she takes the chemicals
to stop her dying, stop the spread.

Together we watch lithe bodies,
sharp muscle tone dash for the end.

Once she was ‘petite’, now Mum’s fat jowls, bingo wings slop on the bed.

Her home is spotless, a show home.
Every day we polish, scrub,
vacuum, she wants it welcoming.

She nods off half way through the
100 metres, I soft clap
the winner as she would have done.

I remember good times, and smile
at her laughter, gleam in her eyes
when she sees another winner
dash over the race finish line.

Next week she looks forward to Oakwell,
a new fan of Barnsley FC.

I never go as I don’t like
football, regret my selfishness
and time not enjoying her life.

She will sit in her hired wheelchair
yell and clap at their confidence,
vitality, their will to win.

© 2019, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History. Imagination.)



Prolific Yorkshire Poet, Paul Brookes

FYI: Paul Brookes, a stalwart participant in The Poet by Day Wednesday Writing Prompt, is running an ongoing series on poets, Wombwell Rainbow Interviews. Connect with Paul if you’d like to be considered for an interview. Visit him, enjoy the interviews, get introduced to some poets who may be new to you, and learn a few things.

The Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Jamie Dedes

  • Paul’s Amazon Page U.S. HERE
  • Paul’s Amazon Page U.K. HERE

More poems by Paul at Michael Dickel’s Meta/ Phore(e) /Play



Quiet Run

Crash boom ba dum ba dum ba dum boom
Drum practice or brothers wrestling?
Vroom vroom whee-ooo whee-ooo waah!
It’s mine! I got it first!
Stop annoying me!
Sister slams door
I tie shoes
Bye Hun
I
Run
Away
Quietly
Footsteps shushing
Faster to capture
The scent of mowed, mulched lawn
The feel of sunset’s soft breath
The taste of silent sanity
Glistening saltily on my cheek

This double nonet incorporates Patrick’s Pic and a Word Weekly Challenge #189 – Quiet and also Jamie’s Wednesday Writing Prompt to write about any sport that engages me.

I have never been a “sporty” person – I was usually one of the last people picked for teams and I was definitely the last person to finish the mile run in high school (collapsing at the end just to prove how unsporty I was!). I didn’t even know my high school had a football team until I started dating one of the players. And I only learned about the rules of the game when I started watching football in college.

My first foray into sports was running which I discovered in my early 30’s. I figured if I could walk, then I could run since putting one foot in front of the other didn’t seem to require that much coordination or other athletic ability. Yeah, right. Still, I was smitten by the race medals and the opportunity to have some “quiet me time” when I ran. As my family can attest – I am a much nicer person after a run!

© 2019, words and illustration, Irma Do (I Do Run, And I do a few other things too ...)


Novel Approach

first draft better in sports than writing
the bull pen has no ink but still
prepares for the pitch to come

contracts yield higher numbers
with travel paid to tour
with team members
effusing praise on one another

critics abound
from prepaid seats
hoping to catch
a big hit

Patrons fill bars
Pa’tron fills glasses
waiting for arrival
of that day’s stars

One for the books
when things go well
easy to know the beginning
and the end

A promise for unending
sequels
a multi-game deal
with signing bonuses

How do writers
learn to play
this kind of ball?

® 2019, deb y felio (Writers Journey)


Ghost Baseball

Why can I still smell the glove,
feel the smoothness of the leather.
Why does the sound of the crack of
the bat still linger, the joy I felt hitting
one for the team as a child.
Why does running so fast I might fall
just to catch a ball, excite memories.
Why are these things in my bones?
Why are these memories so strong?
Perhaps we build our confidence by way
of those things that give us strength.
The things that gave us self- esteem.
There’s no strength, as powerful as a team.
These are childhood memories,
joyful memories of comradeship,
friendships, bonds and trust.
Childhood memories I can still taste.
Visions that still linger in my mind as
a warm summers day, the sweet
odor of the grass and the laughter
rising from the delight of my friends.
I am not a professional, nor do I still
play Baseball, but I can still smell,
feel and forever linger in the joy of baseball.

© 2019, Jen Goldie (Jen Goldie and Starlight and Moonbeams … and the Occasional Cat )

A Means to an End

I chose to try using idioms.
Using sport idioms to work together
isn’t as easy as I thought.
Each has there own special meaning
and is designed to be an expression of
that particular sport.
I gave it a shot,
but I’m throwing in the towel.
So here’s what I’ve got.

*****

It was par for the course,
he was in a sticky wicket,
Had to take it on the chin,
He wouldn’t take a dive
Or throw in the towel
Or even run interference,
He’d roll with the punches,
And be first past the post
No desperate Hail Mary passes
Could help him go the distance
He was down for the count,
Down and out, and sidelined,
Until someone in his corner
And in a ring side seat,
Threw his hat in to the ring,
Then the punch drunk
Sunday Morning Quarterback
Got off his padded couch,
And In his boxers and sport T,
Began to dance and sing,
Take Me Out To The Ballgame,
I’m the Slam Dunk King!

*****

© Jen Goldie

As a child and teen, I did participate in Sports. Five-pin
Bowling gave me a start. My parents were avid bowlers
and bowled in league play. I went along. I was quickly
lured into the game and was coached by a wonderful
Woman named Doris Luke who ran a Young Peoples
League for the Youth Bowling Association. Starting at
3 years of age gave me an edge and I competed with
The seniors, still racking up the crests and trophies. When
I think back it was the comradery, not the competition.
It was my Dad taking me to tournaments and consoling
me when, as they say, I froze and didn’t give it my best
effort. It’s o.k. he’d say, next time. I still have most of those
crests but somehow the box of trophies disappeared.
I still have the bowling shirts and wonder, when I was so
small.

© 2019, Jen Goldie (Jen Goldie and Starlight and Moonbeams … and the Occasional Cat )


Hockey Sticks And Oranges

It was the closest I came
to flying as I sped down
the right wing. Wind keened
across the playing field,
teased the flimsy flap
of my wrapover skirt
and whipped my hair
into a chestnut tail.

I made the school team,
used the new stick
Dad proudly bought me;
tapped, flicked or swung
the ball to the striker,
heard the clash of wood
against wood and cheered
when she scored a goal.

We paused for breath
at halftime, sucked segments
of orange and shivered,
our arms goose-pimpled.
We didn’t always win-
finished bottom of the league
one season. Bad luck,
Dad said, keep trying.

After he died I tried
harder; leaned forward,
stick poised, impatient
for the bully-off.
Then I ran with a sting
in my eyes, mud on my shins
and morning’s wind
in the small of my back.

© 2019, Sheila Jacob


.sports day.

i do not wish to win the race nor even take part in it

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

.walk.

do you like the feeling, walking ahead quickly, moving forward, loosening limbs. pushing

through wind, through water, rain slanting. shouting, counting the rams, shadowing

shepherd. wee mouse on the path, beady eyed. these are the hopeful days, weak sun

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

.hoping for a hero.

i search for champion, hoping for a hero. it gives me clothing.

the sort i will never wear. i do not do sport only walking

and swimming, nothing competitve. it is a shame

the pools are at a distance, needing time and effort. I feel younger in

water and see no reflection with out glasses. i understand

a health and nutrition app can be most helpful these days, and while

i type this i hear the gardener down the big house mowing lawns since

early morning.

now tis mid afternoon.

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher


Sheh-Mate

I like the chess.
The figures are equal
and clear the rules
(with a little superiority
after all of the white).
And various gambits
the Queen’s and
the King’s ones
are the beauty.
And in the Sicilian
Defense
the dagger is hidden
but perks up
(it is only
the ancient game).
I am not interested in
the result
and all sorts of the ratings
(boring)
but the pulsating Insight.,

now:
Мate for the Queen!
Queen for the King!

Clarification – according to chess rules mate is given only to the king.

© 2019, Bozhidar Pangelov (bogpan – блог за авторска поезия блог за авторска поезия)


‘ Sports’~ Is it Cricket ?
کھیل موقع مقابلہ شروع ھویؑ اک جنگ

Match game chance, be it anywhere on any land

be it  sword, spear, bat ball, gun or lance,
forces have fought in thicket and on wicket
dauntless ,  fearless , songs sonorous have
been sung, arms raised , aimed and swung,

pride and steadfast hate, in arenas Greek

or green grounds, what mighty contest up rising
For no reason just or sound, no crime no blast
no war no treason, just another cricket season,
But this game is a combat on war like footing
padded gloved helmeted , ready for the shooting

thick as autumnal leaves head to head like sedge
police and crowd together will watch the match,
all around the fence, circled, from  edge to edge,
how many will hold, stare and breathe their last ,
as wickets fall, bails fly or hands miss a catch,

all eyes on London the final battle ground
a place eternal justice ordained and bound
no Trojan horse or Aegean sea, no ship or gift
or gun, just a velvet green, a white orb, three
to three, twenty two yards of hit and run,

to be weak on it, is unthinkably miserable
no contestant spared, no mistake forgivable,
who will the new possessor be, of a cup,
some say the blues, some say the greens,
yellows, reds, maroons, blacks, or carmine

result anxiously eagerly excitedly awaited
whatever it may be, millions are awake,
hearts beating, hands together in prayers,
the best will soon be , what odds are at stake
aim is، protect the wicket’ and make a high score

game of skill, strategy entertainment, a fight 
the rest is with  umpires two and the third
it should be honest  fair play, all skill no check 
no tampering trick it or else it would  be war
and ‘Not Cricket’،may the best team win،

to be’ the star’

© 2019, English and Urdu poems, Anjum Wasim Dar

کھیل  مقابلہ  موقع 

تلوار نیزہ  گیند بلا   تیر  ےا بندوک  خوب  چلے گا کھیل
بے باک بے خوف  نغمے  بہادری  کے گاتے  ھوےؑ بازو
گھماتے  ھوےؑ نشانہ  لگاتے  ھوےؑ  فخر سے اکھاڑے  میں
اترے جیسے یو نانی شمشیر زن ، سبز میدان میں جمے گا 

کسی زمیں پر شروع  ھویؑ  اک جنگ

مقابلہ زبردست، بے وجہ  ،نہ جرم نہ دھماکہ خونی
  اک کھیل کا موسم جاری،سماں ایسا،پہنے ٹوپی
عوام   پولیس  مانند  خزاں کی   پت جھڑ کے   ڈھیر
چارون  اطراف میداں کے کھڑے دعکھیں گے  میچ 

دستانے پیڈ ہلمٹ بھاری شروع ھویؑ اک جنگ 

کتنے آیں گے اور جایں گے دوڑیں گے بھاگیں گے
گریں گے گرایں گے وکٹیں  اور پکڑیں گے کیچ
سب نظریں دنیا کی لندن شہر انصاف کی جگہ ھے
نہ بحیرہ نہ بیڑہ نہ کاٹھ کا گھوڑا نہ تحفہ نہ دھوکہ

 چاندی کے کپ کہ لیے شروع ھویؑ اک جنگ

سبز مخملی گھاس پہ سفید گیند تین تین وکٹوں کے 
بیچ   لگایں   گے بایسؑ گز کی دوڑ ، مار اور بھاگ
کمزور کی جگہ نہیں یہ نا ہی ڈرپوک کی نہ غلتی کی
گنجا یشؑ نہ معافی  نہ زمانت ، کون جیتے گا یہ  رنگ

رنگیں لباس میں شروع ھویؑ اک جنگ

نیلا سبز  میرون پیلا  یا  کالا تیز  یا نرالہ  کس کی کٹے 
گی پتنگ  کون ھوگا بے رنگ  کون بچاےؑ گا وکٹین  اور
بناےؑ گا بڑا سکور  کون کرے گا سب کہ بور، جاگ رھے 
ھیں لاکھوں نتیجے کے انتظار میں  ھاتھ جوڑے دعاوؑں میں

سچا کھیل کرنا نہ فراڈ کویؑ نہ دینا دھوکہ نہ کویؑ چکر 
ورنہ کھیل نہ کہلاےؑ گا   یہ  کرکٹ نہیں  یارا جو محنت 

کرے بنے وہ چمکتا  ستارہ شروع ھویؑ اک جنگ  

A Preamble

Respected G Jamie Dedes Sports Prompt this week has coincided with the opening of ICC World Cup International Cricket Competition 2019 being held in England.
For me the prompt was like the drop of a silver stone in a clear water pond creating ripples of fond nostalgic memories of life in the early years when sports events were followed almost with near religious sanctity. Radio and newspapers were the main source of information. Listening skills were sharpened and newspapers helped in creating scrapbooks of key players of national and international teams. Collecting and compiling and organizing data was the best learning activity. Before I share my poem I would like to share a few pages from my memoirs with my readers. I am sure this would be an interesting  addition  to the growing variation of contributions to Respected Jamie Ji’s exciting thought provoking and thoroughly enjoyable weekly prompts. Thank you Jamie Ji for creating these wonderful writing opportunities. 

Indoor or outdoor ‘Sports’ had a sacred place in daily activities as a favorite hobby and leisure time occupation at home in the early years of life in the new country.The 1950s and 1960s reflect high standards of national team performances in the games of field hockey,tennis, cricket, squash, and athletics.The whole family was deeply involved in each match tournament or international competitions.My interest in Sports was the result of the high enthusiasm at home specially manifested by my loving father. He himself was a good hockey and tennis player. Indoors the games played with family members were Bridge (a card game) Carom and Chess. In fact the truth was the ‘absence of digital technology and television which left ample spare time for healthy sport activities. An occasional classic movie like ‘The Cruel Sea’ ‘Gone With The Wind’, To Kill a Mocking Bird’, ‘The King and I’ and specially the comedy series of Laurel and Hardy were a treat enjoyed  at the local Cinema Houses.

© Anjum Wasim Dar

Here one can see father in his white sports shorts  black blazer and white socks and sports shoes , commonly called then, the ‘PT Shoes’. He is holding my younger sister, his third daughter. Almost every evening a couple of tennis games in the nearby GHQ Tennis Courts were part of the weekly routine. The weekends would be set aside for home affairs.
An ideal personality for many friends and family my Father’s smoking style would always be captured too. During the International Cricket matches of Pakistan with either England Australia or India (these were the top  teams in those years) after office hours listening to the running commentary of the match on the radio was not missed.

>
Field hockey was another favorite.I remember when Pakistan was playing the quarter final match with Germany in the Olympics in Rome in the 1960’s. When Germany scored the equalizer goal father was quite disturbed. Listening to the commentary he would remark, ‘Oh No, why give a back pass, there is no back pass in hockey, one needs to play forward , attack the opponents goal’ Pakistan won by 2-1 score and later also won the Gold medal  by defeating India in the final by a single goal.The historic goal was scored by Nasir Bunda. The excitement and anxiety of the match involved everyone at home. The game was fully enjoyed by all and we learnt much about sportsman’s spirit and how to accept defeat bravely. Other important lessons were following rules, sharing and making  efforts as a team. Over the years sports has undergone tremendous change, from white dress and a red ball to multi colored clothes and a white ball  and from the radio to live digital internet / telecasts.

I still believe old times had a special charm in  sports and to top it all Pakistan has a former cricket team captain and a world cup winner as its Prime Minister. The Political party symbol being none other than the ‘cricket bat’, obviously…

© 2019, essay, Anjum Wasim Dar

Behance  … artwork
Poetic Oceans poetry on WordPress
Poetic Oceans  poetry on Blogspot

“POETRY PEACE and REFORM Go Together -Let Us All Strive for PEACE on EARTH for ALL -Let Us Make a Better World -WRITE To Make PEACE PREVAIL.” Anjum Wasim Dar


ABOUT

Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poems in I Am Not a Silent Poet
* Remembering Mom in HerStry
* Three poems in Levure littéraire
Upcoming in digital publications:
“Over His Morning Coffee,” Front Porch Review

A homebound writer, poet, and former columnist and associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, I Am Not a Silent Poet, The Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, an info hub for poets and writers and am the founding/managing editor of The BeZine.


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton



 

Brother Francis and Sister Moon, a poem by British poet Sheila Jacob

S. Francesco, Subiaco, Provencia de Roma

O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.

Excerpt from the beautiful “Prayer of St. Francis,” popularly attributed to Francis, not written by him at all but more likely by his friend, Giles of Assisi.



Brother Francis and Sister Moon

He’s wandering the lanes of Assisi
while other men sleep
or find pleasure
in their sweethearts’ arms.

Holy man Francesco.
Il poverello.
All skin and bone
beneath his patched-up robe.

He’s chosen
Lady Poverty’s embrace,
begs for his bread
and shares it with outcasts.

The merchant’s son
who shed his fine clothes
at his father’s feet
and took the narrow way.

He tamed a killer wolf,
some say; calls the earth
his Mother, talks to flowers
and herbs, birds and fish.

Holy fool, roaming barefoot
until a full moon
at the sky’s plumb centre
illuminates his path,

pulls fields and trees
into its orbit
of overflowing light
and he runs to the church,

climbs the tower,
rings the bell.
and summons townsfolk
from their beds.

They wait in the courtyard
for news of fire or pestilence.
Look, he cries, look up
and see the moon!

© 2019, Shiela Jacob

The Illustration is purported to be the oldest surviving depiction of Saint Francis. The fresco is near the entrance of the Benedictine Abbey of Subiaco, painted between March 1228 and March 1229. St. Francis is shown without the stigmata. It’s a religious image and not meant to be a literal portrait. The photo is shared here under License Art Libre 1.3

SHIELA JACOB was born and raised in Birmingham, England and lives with her husband in Wrexham, on the Welsh border. Her poetry has been published in several U.K. magazines and webzines. She recently self-published a short collection of poems that form a memoir to her father who died in 1965. She finds her 1950s childhood and family background a source of inspiration for many of her poems.


 

ABOUT

Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poems in “I Am Not a Silent Poet”
* Three poems in Levure littéraire
Upcoming in digital publications:
“Remembering Mom,” HerStry
“Over His Morning Coffee,” Front Porch Review

A homebound writer, poet, and former columnist and associate editor to a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, I Am Not a Silent Poet, The Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, an info hub for poets and writers and am the founding/managing editor of The BeZine.


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Living with Dying … poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

“There is only one law in the universe that never changes– that all things change, and that all things are impermanent.” Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying



The last Wednesday Writing Prompt, A Hunger For Bone, May 2, was on living with dying. We’re often in denial about this constant in our lives. The reality may hit us with the death of a friend, a sibling, a parent, a school mate. Today seven poets share their experiences and observations in writing that is honest, intimate and moving. You may find you need a tissue or two.

You will not fail to be touched by the sincerity of newcomers Sharmila Pupu Mitra and Marta Pombo Sallés (a warm welcome to both) and with the work of our “old timers” Gary W. Bowers, Paul Brookes, Kakali Das Gosh, Shiela Jacob and Sonja Benskin Mesher. Thanks to each for their willingness to touch our hearts and share their work.

Join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are encouraged: novice, emerging or pro. It’s about the love of reading and writing poetry, sharing your work, exercising the writing muscle and getting to know poets who may be new to you.


A HUNGER FOR BONE

I grew up thinking
My mother to be
The strongest
         Woman
In the world; a
          Woman
With very healthy
And happy bones,
Because, she was
Always working,
Moving lithely, like
           A white cloud:
Light on her feet,
Quietly labouring
All day long at various
Household chores.
…Did not know then
What was in store
                        For her.
Over the years,
Pain in the lumbar-
sacral area started
Coming in burning
                       Waves
And her spine,
Which carried her face
Began to bend.
Even before the end
Of late youth
She began to stoop.
Then I was a girl;
Not exactly starry-eyed,
 not exactly a coveted
Pearl,
And I knew my mother
To be everything
             That none other
Would ever be.
I worried.
Day and night
Her pain assaulted her;
                      My mother.
Pain became
A way of life for her.
Years later,
When I was able to
Confront that liquid fire
In her bones–spine,
Radius, sternum, femur,
Pain spread everywhere
In her body growing frail,
It was–you can guess–
Very late.
But, we decided to finally
Address it, let the cause
Be discovered.
Test results showed
Why she was getting bowed–spinal TB!
THE BLOW TO ME!
Now she is free of it;
A huge loan has run up.
But we have won over
That dreadful pain.
But what is the gain?
Penury.
Fear that a slight injury
Can fell her again
           And hurt her brain.
Fear, that our synthetic life together, with our
Courage dragged through fire, may have
Become blighted.
Since then I have felt
Deep inside me
A hunger of bone.
Bones in my virtual wings
Are strained to the
Breaking point; my flight
                          Of fancy
Goes by fits and starts.
We and our old house
Creak every now and then
With the burden of the
Slow moving years,
Carrying our heavy hearts.
The liquid rush of time
Is somehow slowed down
As we take each day
As it comes, up or down,
Wherever
We are.
We will never give up
Though it seems easier
            To let it all go.
             In our bones
There is another kind
Of fire now. Another hunger.
Hunger for hope
That we will cope.
Our innocent animal children
Give us the fuel
To keep our fire burning,
Despite losses churning
Churning churning
Up the murky memories
Of past years, the memories of betrayal, neglect…
A hunger is in our bones.
Hunger for hope.
Hunger for healing.
We are trees with
               Bare brown branches
Hoping for another spring.
.
© 2018, Sharmila Pupu Mitra
.

Sharmlla Pupu Mitra

SHARMILA MITRA aka SHARMILA PUPU MITRA was born in the beautiful small town, Jalpaiguri, in North of West Bengal, India. She teaches English and is a poet. She tells us she is in love with words, and spends her time thinking how to use words to express her most intimately felt experiences. Her journey has been rough. Sharmila lives in her ancestral home in Kolkata, with her elderly mother and her rescued fur children. Life is a kaleidoscope to her.


Last Moments

Last moments together
peace of mind and spirit
magic energy flowing
my hand holding yours.
The pain has vanished
now sleep peacefully
take in all this love
I am giving you.
No grass in the park
no plants in the lake
though colorful flowers
give hope for your leaving.
The sculpture remains,
see the confident gaze
how she stands resolute
how she tells life to go on.

© 2018, Marta Pombo Sallés (moments)

Marta Pombo Sallés

MARTA POMBO SALLÉS is a German and English teacher working in a high school near Barcelona.  Marta has taught both languages since 1990. She says that at work and in her free time she feels the need to create things.

Marta was also featured on The Poet by Day yesterday in the post Poets Helping Poets.

CATALÀ: Hola a tothom, em dic Marta Pombo Sallés i sóc professora d’alemany i d’anglès en un institut a prop de Barcelona. Ensenyo aquestes dues llengües des de l’any 1990. Tant a la meva feina com en el meu temps lliure sento la necessitat de fer coses creatives.


turnstile

as my friend tom
grappled with another uncle’s succumb
to heart diease
he emailed an assertion
i will not forget:
“we’re all chunking up
to the turnstile.”

as my friend jeff
composed his last message,
and anti-seizure medication
did its eldrich thing,
on many screens in many homes
a horribly cheery woman’s voice
told listeners that use of this medication
may lead to suicidal thoughts
or actions.

as another day meets its midnight turnstile
the probability that turnstile day
for me
is imminent
is incrementally higher than it was
24 hours prior,

but i am not a bit more ready.

© 2018, Gary W. Bowers (One with Clay)

the skull of her son

it took a year for dna confirmation.
there were a scattering of bones
and a skull
missing the lower mandible.

the county called her
and she came down
from the high country
and at her request
they showed her
her son’s remains.

soundlessly weeping, smiling,
she carefully lifted
the bleached brainpan
and looked into the sockets
of the skull of her son.
she ran her finger over
the smooth cool top
and murmured his name.
she kissed her finger
and pressed it gently
against the skull-top.

she wanted the bones as is
but the law of the land said no.
they cremated
the sun-sterilized bones
and gave her the ash-filled urn.

she was astonished
at how heavy it was.

© 2018, Gary W. Bowers (One with Clay)


Sister’s Life

An evangelical church at seventeen
who say they will decide
what boyfriends she can have,
and when she can see them.

A clairvoyant who tells her at twenty-two:
“Your husband will be military,
you will have two children,
your spirit guide is a Native American Indian.”

A son and daughter with her Army husband.
He tries to control her need at twenty-four
to sell the kid’s unwanted toys,
have a life outside her home.

Carboot sales where she enjoys the buzz
and money selling at twenty-six,
kids in tow, a profit and loss,
a hope after she divorces him.

A Native American Indian spirit guide
at the foot of her bed at thirty
tells her “You will die young,
and join your hankered mam in afterlife.”

A nail in her tyre, or over the limit
after celebrating at thirty-five
her employee’s twentieth birthday,
her car turns over on a hard shoulder.

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

Her Fur Elise

I awake to Beethoven as Mam taps the upright
piano downstairs in the through lounge

where morning light highlights dark brown dining table
And varnished coffee table both polished

with Pledge until you see yourself. Later
chemo will make her petite fingers fat,

Fur Elise break into fragments as disease progresses
and piano sold as her hands come to rest.

***

She covered the piano with Laura Ashley
wallpaper off cuts from doing the walls.

As I unclamp one of my late sisters trapped Chinchillas, free its feet from the piano mechanism it bites deep.

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

I Watch Athletics With My Mam

All house mirrors have been removed.
I sit on her soft bed, rest an arm
on a spare pillow. Mum’s pillows

stacked behind her as we watch a
tv placed where her dress mirror stood.
Once she cried as her hair fell out.
She cried as she gained each pound weight

because she takes the chemicals
to stop her dying, stop the spread.
Once she was ‘petite’, now Mum’s fat
jowls, bingo wings slop on the bed.

Together we watch lithe bodies,
sharp muscle tone dash for the end.
Her home is spotless, a show home.
Every day we polish, scrub,

vacuum, she wants it welcoming.
She nods off half way through the
100 metres, I soft clap
the winner as she would have done.

I remember good times, and smile
at her laughter, gleam in her eyes
when she sees another winner
dash over the race finish line.

Meanwhile, she looks forward to Oakwell,
a new fan of Barnsley FC.
I never go as I don’t like
football, regret my selfishness

and time not enjoying her life.
She will sit in her hired wheelchair
yell and clap at their confidence,
vitality, their will to win.

Note: Mum died of cancer in 1997

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

My Mam Is

nothing if, not thorough.
Victorian reminder on a wall
full of telling aphorisms:

What will the neighbours say?
Our home shows us how
we treat ourselves.
Buff away grey clouds,

bring out the blue, make every
wood bell, crocus, daffodil
open their flowers today,
place a spruced up nest

for every chaffinch, green
and goldfinch, blackbird, dove.
Open all windows to “freshen”.
Clean outside and in,

see yourself without smears.
Tidy the memory home.
If you can see a job needs doing,
then do it. Why leave till tomorrow,

something that needs doing today?
Empty every drawer,
cupboard, wardrobe, surface,
scrub them clean, let spiders scurry off.

Launder, dry on the line winter’s
sombre deep cottons and woollens,
neatly fold away, in freshly
lavendered drawers.

It shows you respect yourself.
Rinse every item
of crockery, cutlery,
some unused for years.

Return them to scoured drawers.
Burnish copper ornaments,
delicately brush capodimonte

figures, feather dust top of doors,
skirting boards, deweb high corners,
Shine gas fire with Brasso. Polish
tables and furniture with Rosewood

or Lavender Pledge, all furniture pushed
into centre of rooms, to vacuum.
A person is what they do,
not what they say they will do.

Decant bookshelves,
every book cover cleaned.
Roll up, sling over washing line,
slap and beat dust out of all

rugs and doormats. Strip beds,
turn mattresses, air sheets.
It’s a warm spring day.
A clean home is a clean soul.

Bleach bath, sinks.
Glister chrome taps. Blue toilet.
Fragrance bathroom with Lemon.
Defrost fridge, full milk

bottles in a sink of cold water.
Unload and brush out garage,
vacuum Datsun Estate outside and in.
Weed patio and border, cut

straggly grass for first time this year.
Black bag food beyond sell by dates,
or out of fashion.
Likewise, shine your shoes,

pick bits off clothes,
straighten your skirt, tie,
tighten your belt.
A smart person is a smart mind.

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


#His dying footsteps #

Snowfall churned the wind
Gone through his ashes
I called him
None answered
The ridges through back the echoes
Of his dying footsteps
A balefire lighted in
That heath
Recalled his funeral
His white visage
Shivered fingers
Languid cheeks
Still stare at me
Awaiting for the
Undesirable last breath
On his steadfast .

© 2018, Kakali Das Ghosh


In your sleep

After paramedics found you
I counted lost hours
you’d spent alone
becoming-so it seemed-
more and more dead
as the sun rose,
curtains stayed closed
and your telephone rang and rang.

A nurse would have seen
blue lips, felt no pulse,
pulled the emergency cord
but you refused another
hospital stay, worn out,
at ninety, by the chafe
of cannulas, sticking plasters,
starched white linen.

You slept, one final night,
in your own double bed;
lay, pyjama-clad,
beneath a brown blanket,
the green quilt
you still called an eiderdown
and pink polyester sheets
blush-bright on your body’s chill.

© 2018, Shiela Jacob


.he wanted a garden.

have you collected seeds of many years, packed, labelled, dated.

have you died, and left the table unprepared. i have them now in boxes, a gift.

from those who love. they will bring me work, joy, an independent air.

seeds need water.

sun stays later.

i have imposter syndrome, never diagnosed yet googled when heard on radio live .

there may be too many additives these days not enough honesty grown.

she said i should have something new in the greenhouse.

i have, i said, and thought of you who

planted the seeds.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher (sonja-benskin-mesher.net; Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA paintings; sonja-benskin-mesher.co.uk; Sonjia’s daily blog (WordPress) is HERE.)

.. old blanket ..

I watch the blanket breathe,
hope it will never stop.

white, cellular, keeping warm,
the one I love, so vehemently.

scares me, this intensity of feeling,
that never stops,

and continues when the blanket lays quiet……

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher (sonja-benskin-mesher.net; Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA paintings; sonja-benskin-mesher.co.uk; Sonjia’s daily blog (WordPress) is HERE.)

 


ABOUT

“#MeToo: rallying against sexual assault and harassment, a women’s poetry anthology” edited by Deborah Alma; “Persephone’s Daughters,” empowering readers and writers who’ve experienced gendered abuse

Will be out on March 8. Pre-order HERE.



#MeToo Anthology, The Back Story

by Deborah Alma, Editor

The #MeToo (Fair Acre Press, March 8, 2018) anthology came straight out of a long thread on my Facebook page in October 2017, just as we were talking about the Harvey Weinstein allegations on the news and before I had even heard of the #MeToo campaign. I asked women friends of mine to add their name on the thread if they hadn’t experienced any form of sexual harassment in their lives and I was surprised to find that of the 200 women that started to share some of their stories , 2 or 3 told us that it had never happened to them. My surprise was not that there were so few, but that there were any women at all.

Of course over the years we have shared these stories with our friends, sisters, mothers, partners and sometimes with the police, or in court. It has been the water we swim in as women. But saying something publicly has always been difficult and brave. The words would stick in our throats, for so many reasons.

But something was released and given a space within social media. It was easy to add our voice to the rising shout of #MeToo. We felt the sisterhood. Many women were emboldened by this to share more difficult stories, more details.

I’m a poet, and an editor and someone suggested we collect these stories somehow and it was obvious to collect them as poems. It was what I could do.

I am very proud of this book, proud of the poets for sharing and for the courage in putting their names to their words. I have been amazed by the wonderful collaboration in its making; all of us women.  Jessamy Hawke is the daughter of an online friend and she came forward and offered to make new line drawings for the book, the striking cover was made for the book by my friend Sandra Salter and all the work of editing and publishing was donated. Jess Phillips MP gave us her introduction and it’s been endorsed by Amanda Palmer and Rachel Kelly amongst others.

I do recognise that it is a painful and difficult to read a great deal of the time. But when taken slowly, and with reading only what you can bear, I trust the reader will hear its rallying cry of anger and impatience. We have had enough.

© 2018, Deborah Alma

DEBORAH ALMA (Emergency Poet) is a UK poet, with an MA in Creative Writing, taught Writing Poetry at Worcester University and works with people with dementia and in hospice care. She is also Emergency Poet prescribing poetry from her vintage ambulance. She is editor of Emergency Poet-an anti-stress poetry anthology, The Everyday Poet- Poems to live by (both Michael O’Mara), and her True Tales of the Countryside is published by The Emma Press. She is the editor of #Me Too – rallying against sexual harrassment- a women’s poetry anthology (Fair Acre Press, March 2018). Her first full collection Dirty Laundry is published by Nine Arches Press (May 2018). She lives with her partner the poet James Sheard on a hillside in Powys, Wales.



POETRY FROM

#MeToo: rallying against sexual assault and harassment

 

Freeing the sources of light

Make friends with the light.

It’s been years

since you watched summer turn bad,

 

felt warm grass chafe your bare legs

and his old man’s fingers

trespass beneath the dress

 

you never wore again.

That hot summer

you dashed to your childhood garden

 

but the sun glared,

music buzzed from the wireless,

stung a secret place, the Everlies

 

and Elvis called heart:

always tender, baby,

always untrue.

 

And summers afterward

echoed bus rides to city parks

where he kissed your mouth,

 

fondled your arms.

The sun blurred, twinned

into headlamps,

 

pinned shadows on the wall-

but it was decades ago.

Welcome the light,

 

you don’t need a sky’s worth,

just a lodestar for the journey.

White roses in a glass vase,

 

candle-flame at dusk and the moon

in winter, carrying

its bowl of borrowed sun.

© 2018, Sheila Jacob      


Bitch

Always just within reach, it is the desk-drawer revolver

or the switch that is flicked when a woman says No

and means No and knows her own mind

and makes herself inconveniently clear;

 

it is the cocksure roar of boy used to his own way,

one more of the ones we warn each other about,

whose reputations we pass around like classroom

secrets, names itching from girl-hand to woman-hand,

 

the ones who just adore women, who say their wives

really don’t mind, the ones who wonder, aloud,

and publicly, what hitch qualifies you to claim

this space for your small fierce self,

 

the ones who will scrape back their chair, stand up

in the kitsch restaurant, tongue catching on the latch

of that single syllable,the alarmed door he will shoulder

open becoming the exit she will depart through. 

© 2018, Jane CommaneAssembly Lines (Bloodaxe, 2018)


Irish Twins

attic rain

the backyard swing

off kilter

We share an attic room. In the corner is an old double bed that smells and sags on one side. My side. Late at night I hear my heart beat. Loud. So loud he will hear it. He will think my heart is calling him up the attic stairs. His footsteps are heavy. He smells of old spice and cherry tobacco. My eyes shut tight. I know he is there. I feel his weight. Never on my side. Always on the side she sleeps. When the bed-springs sing their sad song I fly away. Up to the ceiling. My sister is already there. Together we hold hands. Looking down we see our bodies. We are not moving. We are as still as the dead.

© 2018, Roberta BearyContemporary Haibun Vol.14 (Red Moon Press)



PERSEPHONE’S DAUGHTERS

The Return of Persephone, c.1891 (oil on canvas) by Leighton, Frederic (1830-96); 203×152 cm; Leeds Museums and Galleries (City Art Gallery) U.K.; English, public domain

PERSEPHONE’S DAUGHTERS is published online, in print and in film. This magazine’s content is based on a mission to empower women / femme individuals who have experienced various forms of gendered abuse (sexual, emotional, physical, racial, verbal, etc), or other forms of degradation (harassment, catcalling, threats, etc).  Persephone’s Daughters welcomes all identities.

Online Sunday Stories feature personal accounts of those surviving abuse. There is also a film submission category that aligns with the mission. Accepted works are featured online on Film Fridays.  Of note is a post-election mini-issue, a writing and art collection by people who are negatively effected by the outcome of the 2016 U.S. election. Proceeds from the sales of that collection go to the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, which provides services, legal help, and advocacy to unaccompanied immigrant children fleeing trafficking, conflict, poverty and more.

The editor’s say that submissions for Issue 5 will likely open in April. The theme is “Sexual Assault Awareness.” Sunday Stories and Film Fridays are currently open for submissions. Link HERE.


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY