back in Essex County
the haze across
the yellowed bean fields
like mist of mountain river
on a morning like this
when I ate rice congee
and saw fishermen casting
from the banks
when the Yangtze
had not yet reached the
readied for the dam
I drive the same road
of so many late Septembers
when pumpkins ripen
like globes rolled in
when the chill of endings
drifts as mist
a pair of white horses
motionless at the fence
Psalm 4 for the ||Goddess
This is the lore:
you couple with young men
(as rain moves against the dry earth,
as sky touches sea.)
I imagine you against the horizon.
For you are the promised land,
and lovers kneel on thee.
April Bulmer’s poem is an excerpt from her new book, The Goddess Psalms (www.serengetipress.ca). Her work often focuses on women’s spirituality. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org [please cut & paste email address into your e-mail]
Poem for Peace in Two Voices
Penn Kemp’s “poem for peace in many voices” has been translated into 125 languages. Pendas Productions has published two volumes along with a double CD. Some translations and an eponymous videopoem are at www.mytown.ca/poemforpeace; our performance schedule is at www.mytown.ca/pennletters. Penn and translators happily participate in Beyond Borders. www.pennkemp.ca
Beauty Across Borders
In the beginning it is found on the underside
of its protective habitat, a yellow egg
changing from saffron into transparent grey.
Its tiny head visible beneath its fragile eggshell.
In its newborn capacity it consumes
a measure of itself in milkweed, eats
voraciously to become mobile, ready to pupate.
Its magic gland weaving a silk shield,
a green drop that slowly mutates into a chrysalis
of emerald and gold. Its inner self transforming
into ringed spiracles, multifaceted legs
meant to grip new twigs, hang upsidedown
until one miraculous day, it unfolds
into a stained glass wonder of orange and black.
One blow can crush its fragile form yet Danaus Plexippus
will leave this garden birthplace, rise ballet-like
into a still autumn air, to travel great distances.
Its migration as sure as the seasons of this earth.
It travels without passport, a borderless journey
threatened by unseen terrorists of nature.
As a monarch, it rules over all the insect kingdom
with the power to transmute its tiny frailty
into a vehicle of toughness and sweet
unexplainable memory, alighting everywhere.
Touching briefly on our ungreen existence,
our own frail earthbound selves living in bordered fear.
Born in Newfoundland, poet/artist Peggy Fletcher is author of five poetry collections and five chapbooks, the most recent FROM THE RESERVES, Beret Press. She is married with five grown daughters and is a strong advocate for peace and nature. She currently resides in Sarnia, Ontario.
Road to Havana
On the bus to Havana
the 4 lane highway is bordered
with the shrunken bellies of drought marked palms
We pass a tractor stalled and steaming
in the good rusty earth
for want of spare parts
of punitive power
another crop delayed
We share our journey
with pre-revolution relics
the rolling remnants
of plump fendered Fords and Chevys
Tough side-carred Yugoslavian motorcycles
Massive and menacing Soviet trucks
which unsupported now
remain steadfast in their duty
it is threadbared
made cobbled to work
bentbacked and sweating
refusing to buckle
I am reminded
that nothing is taken
for granted here
Recycling is a foriegn concept
where nothing can be wasted
This is survival
a necessary culture
I am also made to remember
that these quiet people
who give so much to others
are at war …under siege
and though they would not ask it
I am always inspired
R.D. Roy recently performed at the Union of Cuban Writers and Artists, the University of Havana, and the Cuba International Book Fair while on tour with the Canada Cuba Literary Alliance. His poetry book “Three Cities” (Hidden Brook Press) was launched in March at Hot Sauced Words in Toronto.
In which the Writer wonders whether Auden was right
Poetry makes nothing happen over and over. Nothing
slides into your life and heaves itself onto your tall
lap. What a load of old bollocks. Nothing weighs
you down; you squeeze out from under and it lolls
at your feet, never shifts itself. Nothing’s a lazy bastard.
Its great galumphing absence slows you. You trip
over its long naked tail on your way to the cellar,
where you want to hide from the nothing ripped
from poetry. Spiders spin webs between your fingers.
Arachnids know from nothing. So does damp.
Something shuffles from behind the box of books
you saved from the fire, curling adventures and camp
manuals, something small shambles out. It’s
near-sighted and does not love your excuses.
Something’s ugly and nothing’s got the long
sick suck of shallow good looks. It’s got its uses.
It burns the fat of time in heat units of revision.
Your undivided attention. Nothing’s your decision.
Tanis MacDonald lives and writes in Kitchener, Ontario, where she is assistant professor of Canadian literature in the Department of English and Film Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her new book, Rue the Day, is available this April from Turnstone Press. Visit her online at www.tanismacdonald.com.
(For Chris, On The Occasion Of His 23rd Birthday)
“To truly comprehend space one needs to feel the weight of time; and to truly comprehend time, one needs space to move about.”
Somewhere in that vast and open country
between the father and the son
there lies a lonely border
unguarded event at Doppler blue horizon.
This is the interstice
where father and son
dare only nod each to the other
as they pass
at compass points.
Past this checkpoint in time,
both become more than before:
fellow travellers —
fellow travellers with different passports
who know why spacetime
is one word
who know that time travel is
not just possible
but as inevitable as graves
as finite but unbounded
who know that forever after
is forever after
and the arrow of time always pierces the heart
but do not regret
that in that space of forever after
whenever they travel together
they will share this burden of time.
Ken Stange has been a League member since the 70’s. He is the author of 7 books of poetry, fiction, and art and hundreds of periodical publications, including in scientific journals. Website: KenStange.com Editor of Nebula Netzine: KenStange.com/nebula Publisher of Two Cultures Press: Two CulturesPress.com Personal Art Gallery Site: KenStange.com/gallery