Poetry Drawer: Her Tied Hair Has A Loose Strand: Directions: Dirty Faces by Phil Wood

Her Tied Hair Has A Loose Strand

Vexed, tight-lipped, the look
enough. He grips a fork,
there’s work, no time to vent.
He wants the jacket off,
the dungarees aren’t clean,
it ain’t Sunday.

His daughter’s reproach
to look away. The house
needs tidying. Her dress,
brown as crops in drought,
pinned with a cameo brooch.
I wet my brush.


A laconic farmer, weather knapped,
nodded. His labour not mine.

The path wrinkled a balding hill,
knuckled rocks, no water clamour.

A lamb bleated, some bees bustled,
a breeze lisped, my mind pettifogging

like fish flicker light in ponds. I paused
my climb. The solitude proves

elusive, this path a pentimento
of others. It reassured in a way.

Dirty Faces

No verdant splendor on Constable Drive,
where kids kick balls against a graffiti hall
and tags proclaim that Banksy is their Dad.
The colours spray a leaf of Autumn’s shawl.

A virtuous Madonna will not grace
this Raphael. A cul-de-sac for hordes
of scallywags, all schooled with grown-up faces.
They paintball play on those with posher doors.

The traffic slows on Turner Road with sleeping
policemen. Scamps, tooled up with artist hearts,
will grime your car with dirty sponges, demanding
no coins. What they do they do for art.

Phil Wood was born in Wales. He studied English Literature at Aberystwyth University. He has worked in statistics, education, shipping, and a biscuit factory. He enjoys chess and learning German. His writing can be found in various places, including recently : Fragmented Voices, Gwyllion, Black Nore Review and a featured collaboration with photographer John Winder at Abergavenny Small Press.

You can find more of Phil’s work here on Ink Pantry.

Poetry Drawer: She is by Kumar Ghimire

My notion of heaviness
Rests upon arms of her.
Spring of my face
Can be felt in
in the weather of her face.
She is gentle
gentleness can be seen in her words.
She is great.
Her greatness can be seen in her gentleness.
Flowers gets jealous
for the aroma of her compassion.
Time stops to see
The beauty of her love.
Bees try to rob sweetness
Of her kindness.
Pages of skies might be filled.
Even ink is made up of ocean water.
But she is beyond expression.
She is within me.
She is sweet and kind.
Whom I call as mummy.

Kumar Ghimire is a Nepalese poet. His poems have been published on many national and international magazines like Sahitya Post, Polish Magazine, Synchronized chaos, writers club etc.

Poetry Drawer: I Follow in the Footsteps of Generations: I Think of You: To Seek the Sky and Never Know the Ground Again by Edward Lee

I Follow in the Footsteps of Generations

Using an obsolete map,
drawn by a hand
not my own, I
search for the centre
of myself, knowing
I will never find it,
but finding my steps swift
and easy with the possibility,
like a treasure hunt
guaranteed to end
with treasure, no matter
how many find the place.

I Think of You

For one hidden weekend
my dick became
part of you, your cunt
a part of me, like homes
made for only one soul,
before being left empty
when that soul moved on.

Then, real life began
and we never knew
each other again,

not as intimately
at least, encountering each other
in corridors and meetings,
the occasional conferences
and wide lunches, our bodies
whispering to each other,
your wedding band
drowning them out
with frantic whispers of its own,
insistent and louder
than its whispers of before,
the whispers we had so
gloriously ignored.

To Seek the Sky and Never Know the Ground Again

The wax from my wings
has melted and scalded my skin,
while my feathers released
dance higher than I ever could,
free as they are now
from the confines
of the gloriously
inglorious ideas
of men.

And the ground
has greeted my body
like a lover intent on harm.

I am broken,
but breathing,
and already my bones are healing,
their sound audible
over the rasp
of my lungs.

I will rise again,
because I can,
because I must,
the sky above me
all I can see,

the sky above me,
and I below it
where I was never meant to be.

Edward Lee’s poetry, short stories, non-fiction and photography have been published in magazines in Ireland, England and America, including The Stinging Fly, Skylight 47, Acumen, The Blue Nib and Poetry Wales. His poetry collections are Playing Poohsticks On Ha’Penny BridgeThe Madness Of QwertyA Foetal Heart and Bones Speaking With Hard Tongues.

He also makes musical noise under the names Ayahuasca Collective, Orson Carroll, Lego Figures Fighting, and Pale Blond Boy.

His blog/website can be found at https://edwardmlee.wordpress.com

Poetry Drawer: She walks in liberty, not her own by Vaishnavi Pusapati

She walks in liberty, not her own,
When she thinks of her homelands,
That now exist nowhere but in her mind,
Homelands that they had fled years ago,
Memory takes where the body can’t follow.

When she thinks of her homelands,
She thinks of women’s hands,
Drawing water from deep seated wells,
Hands busy praying, shackled by noisy bangles and rings, tokens of courtship,
No different from bells chiming on bobbing heads of cattle, tokens of ownership.
Hands riding like spiders on sewing machines as life tightens around.
Hands, because everything else disappears under rolls of cloth, rolls that are stamps of imposed modesty, rolls enough to cover the earth, rolls that wrap her down to the marrow of her bone, like a long leash.
Rolls, until one cannot tell the silhouette from the downcast shadow on the ground.
Each silhouette indistinguishable from the other, prints on reams of cloth
Frayed at edges, faded here and there, masquerading without a sound.

If she speaks it is called gossip, if her hands are not busy, she is cut to size.
Hence all you hear are her bangles and busy hands, waking before sunrise.
For you, Freedom, she risks her life and liberty, to give you to others, protests all,
Burning down like candles, each to each, giving feet to freedom, hands to dreams.
In your name, Freedom, they finally do for themselves, what others care not to do for them. For you, some leave behind all they own. They carry what their hands can hold and hold on to you, a million on the move.

Vaishnavi says ‘She walks in liberty’ is inspired by Byron, but with the ongoing Iran protests in mind.

Poetry Drawer: About a Schizoid Going: All Sanity is Purple: Poetry for the Damned: Side by Side, Their Mindscapes Stirred: About Recovering Beauty: Mockery and Sons: The Schizoid Spreading: …Mad Dawn for the Crows: 1987: The Ward by Jim Bellamy

About a Schizoid Going (after Philip Larkin’s ‘Going, Going’)

I thought I would pass through time –
A sense that, against the crowds,
There would still be sanity in body-and-mind,
Where the nurses shout and climb
Such flowers as freedom shrouds;
I thought I would pass through time

Mid deaths and desks and side streets
And mind-revelled cloisters, but suns
Have always split Man’s thoughts so far;
And when the sane mind retreats
And when the bleak insiders come
I can only rethink every easy car.

The mad are fuller than we are, just
As birth will always be gone
However we kiss it about;
Wrap the brain around trees, if you wish:
The foam will be smothered beyond.
-But, what should I think now? That

The sane are freed? Or that minds thrill?
Easy it is to be too young, but
This mind must seen aged, and doubt
Must cede away all sanity and Love –
More times, more bad rages filled,
More sadnesses, more mental cuts. These

Are the drafted spectacles of us all
That we, at odds with Life, will collate
As five per cent of our thoughts (and nine
Per cent more in the inner mind) move
Our grave works into spoiling veils
(More, contusions!) For minds

Are criers; o, to get nearby the hot sea
Interns a mad sail…
It seems, just here and now,
To be maddening all too fast;
Despite all the flexed thoughts left teased
At this teetering instant i feel somehow
That sense shall never really last,

That, before minds snuff it, wholeness
Will think aside a gallows in the heart –
First truths, then surely blind gurus:
This roll in minds is all to hard to win,
Now that thought is a softly foaming art.

And this is certainly our sanity gone,
The meadows, the spheres, hot veins,
Our furling and uncurling, the
Scented and sensibly cleaned. There shall
Be sane looks; but all that now remains
Shall be for all time shot and laid bare.

All Sanity is Purple (after Philip Larkin)

The hash-pipe breathes, the cedars dourly sway
And so ‘Dear schizoid darling, I am afraid?’.
Funny how bad the madness roams.

I could wend half of my brains, if I wanted,
Rolling in the bones unburied, canted
Over to catch the ribald of a fix
Which is bred and fled from a petri-dish;

Just think of all the rare minds that have flown
Direct into madness just by being drilled
With hawks and stasis, rather the fast thrills
of lamplight, or the noise of the moon

Looking up and up through the floes of the moon
Thinned to a prayer-harked praise.
This life, unspun, is madly instilled.
‘All sanity is selfish.’ No-one just now
Believes in the mind or the mental stash

Talking to God (who’s mad too); the big lash
Is the maddening of people who are nice to you,
Which means doing nothing, but somehow
Saying, ‘All sanity is purple.’ Are

these bad lines, then, vying for madness?
Vying for steeples and chapels that dig
Deeply for the ‘devil’ (who’s a mad bad ass)?
‘But try to feel, because, however sanely
Madness tries to show us how we should be
Appear infectious. A chuckle, too. Oh!

Only the young can be sanely strewn.
Their minds are shorter, shall be tamed;
Theirs is a floatless time. Now, see!
Sitting on the Ward brings us no light,
Brings us instead to darkest night.

Beyond the bones stand sadness and remorse.
‘This is the fucking truth, of course?..

Poetry for the Damned (after Philip Larkin)

sometimes you hear, ninth-hand,
as schizoid epitaph:
‘he just sheared off his ears
and went far away..’
and forever the voices will sound,
contagious and disproved,
this sad madness, this
patronising groove

and voices are right, i guess.
we all go mad
at having to be here:
i detest this tune,
its manically frozen junk,
the mad looks, the old beds;
this poor life, raping, screaming:

so hear it said
‘He just sheared off his ears
and went away’….Let
this voice see you stirred,
let things like women crawling,
or bastard babbies on the prowl
assure of you and your calling. ‘If
He did, She did’

It’s words like this that say
‘Yes, swagger the slut-spooned roads,
crouch in sex follicles
proud with patent shaving’..If
it weren’t so confidential,
such a considerate step back
would not dictate an object,
but would stay the course:

mad looks, bad beds; real Life made
comprehensively NORMAL.

Side by Side, Their Mindscapes Stirred
(after Philip Larkin’s ‘An Arundel Tomb’)

Side by side, their mindscapes stirred,
The doctors and the nurses lie atoned,
Their doctored habits vainly shown
As pointed grinning, stylised leap
And that mad glint of birds
The minute tablets underneath rude sleep.

Such glibness of the mental lock
Barely rolls an eye, until
It turns their laughing gauntlet, still
Rasped about mind-ether; and
One sees, with a gasp of schizoid shock,
Their fans outdrawn, raping through sand.

They do not think to live too long.
Such wakefulness in litany
Is just a detail pity sees:
A mad-man’s massed and melted face
Shrugged off in helping to prolong
The cocking veins amidst old lace.

They do not guess how early on
In our tortured, wasted life-voyages
The prayers must change, or come to damage,
And burn the gold patients away;
How soon those giddy pleading eyes begin
To flit, but not see. Childishly, they
Resist, blink, through kicking kinkered breaths
Of time. Crows fly, berate. Night

Each winter, hordes the past. A bright
Pittance of healing screws slaps the insane
Groan-gridded ground; and up from masks,
Grey friendless maddened pupils flame,
Washing true identity away.

O, now, crawling in the gallows of
An emptied, endless grave, blue laughs
Star-sadden the eyries of a busted brain;
Above these traps of misery,
Only rectitude remains.

Minds have transposed sin into
Closed coops. Their aimless impropriety
Has barely come to mean anything;
And our most manic, utmost wish is
What will survive us is purely dust.

About Recovering Beauty
(after Philip Larkin’s ‘Ambulances’)

Proud and professional, these beds
thread proud blooms of mystery, give
back a long, lingering orb
to every schizoid smile. Bright,
glossy, fay, charms on their backs,
they come to rest on every ward:
all streeted slab minds are visited.

The nurses strewn midst warts and brogues
or children running from the trees
past cells and wimpled swingers seize
each wild and whitened face that tops
each champing blanket; momently,
as madness matters swathe and marry:

And sense now the rolling scentedness
that cries beneath all dreams made blue,
and for a second greet the high soul,
so healthful, mad and fucking true.
The patient wards conceive. ‘My, My’
they whisper at their own dismay.

For formed away in some deep wound
may flow the insane yell of lust
round lonely living so near death’s end,
and what was revered in its dead crust
amongst blind tears, the wrangled rend
of familial mummy dadas, there

At last time starts to heighten. Far
from the constraints of christs that lie
unreachable inside life’s tombs
the doctors fart and let sex fry
through closer things than what has come,
and thrill to mind-mess all men are?

Mockery and Sons (after Philip Larkin’s ‘Dockery and Son’)

The doctors were senior to you
‘Weren’t they?’ said the girl. ‘They qualify for politeness!’
Bad-booted, mad within, I nod. ‘And do
You pray for them or how?’ I remember when
Pram-mounted, breast-buckled, and still entirely bright
I used to hang upon the desks, to give
‘My Vision’ of those ‘Adults in the chairs.’
I try the tablets, take things down and ‘live’ then

Swallow..The dawn spreads mentally above.
A bone bell chimes. I lie straight above
Annals of carers, pass along and glide
Madly from my view. But the doctors, my God.
Any churl’d think they made the Earth
In ’93, when ‘god’ fell ill.
If they be senior, did they get their charms
At the beginning, when…? But I am that withdrawn,

Sly in my blinking, public gaze, sharing tombs
With madder men, mad boys. Well, it just shows
How nobody…How no-one…Screaming, I suppose
I was asleep, retching on the croons
And the hospice-glares of London, where, deranged,
I made a filthy sign, and chugged along
My mind to see self’s end and then, the strange
Purloining and departing of my innocent song.

Unscented by mamma moon. To have no sanity, no life,
No love or lust still seemed completely right.
Only a dud humerus registered the knock
Of finding out how much had gone of mind-time
How spryly from my mothers. Massed doctors now:
Only children, they must have wanted, and played rude
Enough to.. No, that’s not so: rather, how

Convinced they were of what my mind must do!
Why did they think that thinking meant release?
To me, a mind means confusion. Where did these
Manic mindscapes come from? Not from what
We think cruelest, or most want us to be:
These steel-shut eyes, like Wards. They’ve all the style
Our tiny lives give to them: well, just for a while,
Then suddenly, completely shut away, and,

How we die here; look back on them, run
Like vesicles, thick and gross, embodies none
For Doctors, for medications, nothing,
Nothing with all a Doctor’s promise of a gloat.
This mind is first factual, then entirely mad.
Whether or not we use it, it dies,
And leaves behind what little something may,
And rage, and then the only plural of that rage.

The Schizoid Spreading (after Philip Larkin’s ‘The Whitsun Weddings’)

‘All year, through the sprawled minds that swept
For centuries inland,
A low and sloping word was routward kept.
Loud skies went by, thought-straddled battles, and
Endless voices floating on a cough;
A rattle smashed completely: pleasures dipped
And died; and now and then a spell of sparks
Defaced each week of beauty, truth and wrath
Until the endless year, now crude and stripped,
Encroached upon a hospital of stars.

At first, I did not notice what a noise
The madness made
Each patient that I stopped at: time deploys
The dints of mental illness like a grave
And down the cold steeled wards, the groans and skirls
I took for porters hissing midst their veils,
And went by pleading. Once I’d slept there, though,
I heard them, grimacing and screaming; girls
In pastiche, torrid clothing, heels and nails,
All drugged completely, watching me flail,

As if out on the end of a scent
Raving and complaining
To something that denied them. Lost, I bent
Backwardly and forwards, now defamed
And heard the horror once again and shrill:
The brain with bad welts beneath its boots
And furrowed foreheads; nurses proud and cracked;
An empire shouting Slut! And then the ferns,
The spitting gloves and tablets on the rack,
The cocoa, coffee, medicated flaps

Marked off from me, who was now all adrift.
Yes, from ward to ward
And whitecoats by the yard, and naked breasts
In the hands of detectives, the schizoid shores
Were bleating like a fiend. All down the mind
Fixed children danced abroad. My rest was ground,
My pale complexion lost and always blown,
And, as I moved, each waif seemed to define
Just what I saw contorting. Nurses frowned
At something killed; doctors assumed the real?’

…Mad Dawn for the Crows (after Philip Larkin’s ‘Saturday Show’)

‘mad dawn for the crows, but crows cram these callowed veins.
within, like closing doors, the weekend has begun.
frogs (the mind’s gel, the mind’s mentor), and lizards,
(the reins on a mental bit); ahead of them, the freaks,
(jackknifed and eaten); amongst the freaks,
clicking cogs (all clockless and chilling). denouncements,
gabbling, clash within a weekday man, whose
dollar bills are strapped to some bricks and mortars; but
there’s more than merely money. purple clowns, (marooned
men); a hobo with a begging heart; a tear weeping weed;
and then the mad laughter. for each weekend scene
is linked to faces: faces not given to life: faces
that crap inside four winds; faces whose owners are
demented. and now come the wired-offs ones; the
howling brothers and sisters; then the thighed bents of
glowering peachers; and then the bright vivisectors
who eyeball brains for stains; then the blanching breaking
sadnesses of sufferers and the dark and intershining
veracities of sex ushers, fallowed and burned to the core
by their idiotic cottonreels; then the umpteen heads; and
the vermillion of broken thinkers, and the burned up fire
and the breast murdering vomiting saviours, and the tired
red busbies, thugs, needlers, tramps, and angled fools,
all worthlessly brained and overturned, and the beeless hives
burgeoning inside mad dust. All these, outside dreams,
prove a schizoid saturday is here and cumming, and
the called cut girls, soaking in their shoes, turn thrice inside
spind sin

o the bricked in babies, and the manacled mothers; the
stereo meadows boundering into nothingness
and the crawling, champering tears of card, moving on for
inevitable moons, and packed drivers not caring, dead,
and the overloaded lorries and the rumba loaded trucks
and the pitiful wastes in the stoned. these, outside
all sentient wondering, prove that Friday is over-
the men with guns, the mastiff breeders, and the veiled
depictions of pornstars staring down from every
billboard, and the lazy wives, and the saddleswaggerers,
and the plugfaced husbands on the prowl. all of these
are outside the Sanity Sermon, and, as if proving god’s mistake,
hang themselves up in bedsit kitchens for tiny boys to look at
as the stars look down. in the mind’s exchange, the
evening is coming to an end, as, dismantling, the slow
exigencies of the brain range from life to death, death to
light, and from incandescent green to red.

below, there are sharp rocks and cliffs, some vicars crying, and
angels scrying this world for jade as its siren whistles
down cut shins – and as doctoring proctors and padres and muggers
and the meadow maidens with hair as soft as slush
and, of course, the cretins in the corridors, and the reason behind it all
the reason for this, their Schizoid Saturday, slavering and hurtling
upwards, and beyond, where no-one, not even the saviour himself
may bring red cars around and about
into something more than searing mind-pain, into
something more than the intensely sad and ordinary.’

(After Philip Larkin’s, MCMXIV)

and the knife-shops and wynds
meandering to nowhere
the coins and pounds unsung
in pockets roaring under
sickness, as the day grows
greyer than the Thames
that flows due north-

inside the skulls of men,
no answer is now heard
to questions passing under
funereal mien, black as thunder.
burned by souls of children,
with the clarion heard outside,
each wedding, fluke must flow
from the mouths of women…

this is the word i heard
when god’s man denounced
each spurring bastard bird
the skies beyond the clouds
lay driven with the dead
and all i heard was real
tonight began to fall
and thrall whereat no fear
perfused the brightest eye.

never such itinerance
never before or since
has come to wipe away
the language of this mind,
nor in this barren place,
where terror slicks thick
around the tithes in heart,
might infancy concede

to charge the codes of love
whence life begins to find
the sliding scale of rot
that burns inside the heads
of the hedons on the hills,
as the fields of london grow
crueller than the night
this night beyond all seeing?

The Ward
(After Larkin’s unfinished poem, The Dance)

Madness, sadness, scabs – all bad things, boy: far
too bad to be diluted by ‘The Ward’;
that simple, fiddle-browed pretence at each
atom of the thoughts that really….’ But contusive speech
slows at my equally contusive brain,
that in the sharpened rivers sees
the games in maddened houses, maddened ruts.
Bright handles purr in the apple trees.
The sun is cold. The cities are touch dry.
Syringe. Tablet. Needs.
All this, simply to foam like a star?
Half-killed, half-companioned by the drill,
I let myself by shambled spirit be haled
out across the skies and divots of the dawn.
No pretence now. Hard scars harp round the scorn
and man each reproach. The night has almost failed,
and the quaint rubbing pliancy –
some hand I have been mad enough to veil –
disclaims me from an upstairs window and comes
more than madly into my lure:
Mad, bad territory…
And, once more, the nurses, doctors, still
in their same old coats, charm-ballooned and chained,
the floors vibrating with alarm, the
not you, not me on every lip. I edge amongst the boys
towards a surface and, lacking lividity, poise
on its pledge – serviced, demured and calmed
by every tablet and injection,
emitting low squeaks and gleaning back to view
the whole melee of madness shifting, crowding –
and, with my peeple in the upper skies, lose.
Why cry? the scene is writing and loud.
Assemble socially, be entertained
by my sitting in this dress, in the rooms like these,
saying I cannot think – saying more about when
I could Really drink stone, or, in bed,
listening to the voices – be led
off into the shaking looks and stares, and then
beyond the glistening hands, where glazed faces
swagger into violence at my sitting there,
and your lies greet me midst foreign spaces,
and your charms are disparate,
and I wish entirely for sanity
and moments on remand, by which the stacked
faces might move. Clumsily, though, as
something starts up, your look’s embarrassing
and forever lustful: everything
I look for is deception – the red ploys,
the clad-eyed girls, and through the doors,
the spinning plates of dinners. Grown
less real than ever, this sudden place
strikes me at once as a stage-name, or
a wasteground hard to tell truths by; I
feel the impact, glib and raw,
of a tremendous yearning, answering back
as if I had no questions. In the drugged
and snarled muse of the moment, beneath
cover after cover, I permit a few movements
of my head; you suggest eating, but
my chest is full of food, quickens and tightens
at the destinies of souls, at
each croft descrying of love. For
something acutely local – me
as I can only be – has taken you down
into something acutely transitory, like
the slightest touch, or impulse, or
deflection of the mind. Why
we act eternally,
why we snatch and cry, is
not the reason for the fingers, but
the reason we slacken together. I
am caught by your tears; they stand
effusive and lovely, where the band
strikes up another tune, and they,
midst tempos doffed, take small things
by the hand and fly. I wonder
whether this sudden place is all; I
wonder why we die. Then
I creel back to the stars, where they’ve
surmised that anyone thinking is dead, and
find you and a cup-of-tea shrinking and
casting off survival. Lost in music, then,
you look at me, as if bereft, and
outline me with sharpening altruisms, so
yearning, full and fine, that I
cannot keep my step. This tense
elation is a turn-off, though,
it means so little to the voices, and,
localised in half-way houses, is
better of forgotten. Couples
now arrive, leave gaps and cross
words with angry strangers, falter
and cleave away. I lean forwards, lest
I go on swimming, and souse my throat
with imminent smiles. How right
it is to look away, I do not know, yet
here I stop and pray, and let
you have your innocent guilt bewrayed
to switching partners in a stabbed, bad set:
how useless it is to invite
the madman, how sad
to see my own life again! I ought to
go, be gone, get going; instead
I let doctors tell me how they are
and are going to be, and
sweep some coke from the kitchen, breathe,
and lie in hectares of sand. You tread
heavily to The Ladies, and see
my coat hanging subsistently, and
the chains and taps and basins falling,
falling into the sun. Chuckle, please,
for now the doctors hum
a merry, revelled tune, and go at once away.
See! they need pennies and pounds! I
ought to change when I see you waving, but,
until I have crossed your smile with a rumour,
I shall be first dark, then light. This
is the serious earth; its deep dark chill
is omen-laden and museless. Chuckle!
for now the wards lie, content and laughing.


Jim Bellamy was born in a storm in 1972. He studied hard and sat entrance exams for Oxford University. Jim has won three full awards for his poems. Jim has a fine frenzy for poetry and has written in excess of 22,000 poems. Jim adores the art of poetry. He lives for prosody.

You can find more of Jim’s work here on Ink Pantry.

Poetry Drawer: Dreaming Under the Summer Stars: The Scent of Roses and Starlight by Myrtle Thomas 

Dreaming Under the Summer Stars

I think we searched the roots of the night
feeling our way through the stars and moonlight
bumping into our own shadows.

                    you wrote my name with the stars
and made a love song with the wind
I watched the night play with the heavens.

walking barefoot in the summer grass
   with the scent of lilacs and the kiss of rain
and thunder was rising in my heart.

               silence was sung by a string of stars
and the moonlight fell upon us with its fingers
dreams were reality and you left like a shadow.

decades of nights and hours of summer dreams
       fade with time but grow larger in memory
where time can’t control this kind of passion.

The Scent of Roses and Starlight

a soft kiss moves within the night’s mist
     and the stars bend their eyes from heaven
because I loved this strange blush upon my shoulder
time brings back the memories of the immense light
     as it overshadows my deep blue eyes.

these eyes that had no sight without him in them
no vision without the love that was a mere falling star
there are no feet that could carry my soul away like he has
time revolves around each lost moment in my eyes
and memory lives and dies each second in my soul.

to never notice the sky being so large and empty until now
maybe the stars have chosen to hide me from my dreams
to cover my lips with clouds of intense loss and silence
or to sever the fragrance of roses and moonlight to my mind
there comes a remembered thirst upon my spirit.

to live in the daylight and only wade through darkness
or to stumble in the pale light of a lasting lunar passion
O’ where are the stars I once saw and counted as riches !
where am I  to be lost in the midst of strangeness !
to walk in the shadows cast by the bending stars.

Myrtle Thomas is a contemporary poetry writer who writes of ranging topics and observations of life. She has been published in the ‘Otherwise Engaged A Literature and Arts Journal’ and in ‘The Writers and Readers Magazine’. She lives in the USA and is retired from a large manufacturing company which affords her time to write.

Poetry Drawer: Nikisch: Boskovsky: Richter: Mäkelä by Neil Fulwood 

Neil writes: Each poem in the sequence seeks to distil the essence of one of the great maestri, either by capturing their personality or focusing on a formative moment in their life or career.


The father, they will call him,
of modern conducting:

the man who cut the guy ropes
on the past, detaching the art

from periwigged tradition,
staffs beaten on hard floors.

The man who set the blueprint
for a century and a half

of maestri – economy of gesture,
communication as a non-verbal act,

the score as holy writ, understood
on the deepest, most intimate level.


Intended or not, there’s a hint
of the vaguely pejorative:
waltzmeister instead of Maestro;
the chocolate box evocation
of old Vienna on the album covers.

It’s too easy, the cloyed recoil
from the Musikverein’s opulence.

Listen: done-to-death repertoire
is brought back to life, agile
and joyous as it was ever meant to be

with a seriousness of purpose,
a depth, that would befit Bruckner.


Maestro, choirmaster, organist,
harpsichord virtuoso; workaholic.

Driven; relentless; no quarter
asked of himself or given.

Workloads shouldered in an agony
of against-the-clock momentum.

“My time is now” – raison d’être
as epitaph in waiting. Self-discipline

as an act of self-destruction.


In interview, he is charm
itself; enthusiastic
to the point of boyish:

the transformation comes
as he takes the stage,

metaphysical as it is palpable –

a rising, a deepening;
something to do with stature,
with aura. Something to do

with an almost impossible synergy.

Neil Fulwood was born in Nottingham, England, where he still lives and works. He has three collections out with Shoestring Press: No Avoiding It, Can’t Take Me Anywhere and Service Cancelled, with a fourth scheduled for publication next year.

Poetry Drawer: Text-messy age: Strange, dear, but: I-less in Gaza by Mark Young

Text-messy age

The e-mail kiosks lock
on to me as I
cruise the Mall. My exo-
skeleton — beltbuckle,
glasses, the tips of
my shoes, even the
decidedly feminine gold chain
I have around my wrist —
lights up with messages. They
are not for me; I am being
mistaken for someone
else. But there are few
shops in this part of
the strip & I’m a snoop be-
sides, so I read them with
half an ear, even though
my heart is in the jeweller
looking through their
recipes for eloquence &
my soul is in the toystore
set on rich dark fruit
cake laced with brandy.

Strange, dear, but

true, dear. The Cole Porter song enters
my morning mind as if it had every
right to be there, as if it lived there &
was returning home after a night out.
But not simply the song, a specific rend-
ition of it. k.d. lang’s, first heard on the
Red Hot + Blue tv special & subsequent
album compilation. What is stranger is

how to interpret the locus of the singer,
of the mindsong. In the video, k.d. lang
sings as if she is person who is being
sung to; & in my mind, it is also as if I
am the recipient. To personalize, it is the
not-I singing to the other which is me. It’s
a tableau that has a logic only because
of its similarity to that Magritte painting

La reproduction interdite in which a man
is looking into a mirror in which his re-
flection is thrown back, but as if seen
from the back. Twenty years ago I wrote
of this painting: “Shown from the back
the image is androgynous — think k.d.
lang in her man’s suit phase.” & here she
is again. Strange, dear, but true, dear.

I-less in Gaza

Nothing makes sense
anymore. Everything
does. I bind my camel
to a smokestack
at the edge of an
anticlimax & set the
guidebook alight to give
me light to better
read it by. The hidden
pattern in the last
flicker of a hologram
tells me I’m
in Machu Picchu
where I shouldn’t
be. Entropy arrives
to peck out my I-
balls. Equilibrium. It’s
a eunuch experience.

Mark Young was born in Aotearoa / New Zealand but now lives in a small town in North Queensland in Australia. His most recent book — his sixty-second in fifty-five years — is with the slow-paced turtle replaced by a fast fish, published in 2023 by sandy press.

You can find more of Mark’s work here on Ink Pantry.