2016/09/21

Touch of the Butterfly

Ever watch a butterfly touch down?
There’s no screech of tyres or smoke puff,
just the fractional stopping of time
as the selected leaf or red bud
trembles imperceptibly and
braces for this,
the softest
kiss.


Glen Phillips (Western Australia)
From Glen's forthcoming book Crouching Tigers: China Poems 1

2016/09/14

Oblivion

morning has to come
at some point.

you are the sole pedestrian
measuring the length of the body
trailing your shadow
under the street lights.

it all belongs to you.
the night sky and vacant streets.
the passing cars that do not stop for you.
and the voices whispering
into the distance, especially.

and when it begins to rain
you will not seek cover
or turn back towards the room
where you are living.

you know that no one can help you.
at this distance everyone is gone
and the rain is telling you something.


Robbie Coburn (Victoria)

Salt

It all comes down to
the division of land
the subtraction of trees
the addition of fertilisers
the multiplication of wheat
the sum total of salt


Horst Kornberger (Western Australia)

2016/09/07

Syria

This is Omran. He is alive.
He sits, face bloodied and tearless.
He sits, his five year old body too little
For the orange ambulance seat.
His legs too short to reach the floor.

This is Omran. He is alive.
His knees and legs are dusty from the rubble
That his family may still be buried under.

This is Omran. He is alive.
He sits mute, alone, still.
All around, the sounds of war, sirens,
Traffic, men shouting.

This is Omran. He is alive.
One minute playing with a toy truck at home.
The next, bloodied and buried.
This is Omran. He is alive.

This is Omran. He is alive.


Jhilmil Breckenridge (India)

2016/08/24

Inconvenient Numbers



The video is a slightly shortened version of the following poem.

When a tower falls elsewhere, the ash settles in my city.

I study how heavy the air becomes. I try to make peace with war; instead I learn lessons in rupture. What it means to not know.
How to be okay with not knowing.
How to search for answers through the past.

In the year 1978 —
          soft brown shoulder-length curls
          big eyes and a milky complexion —

my mother is ten years old when a nun at her convent dies.
She is buried in a black cloak.
          With school closed for the day,
          death comes wrapped in a caravan of joys.

When my grandfather tells her God listens to the prayers of children,
she prays for a nun to die every night
so she can stay home from school.

In the winter of 2001,
          I am ten years old.

The city my mother once knew sits on an altered map.
The planes have changed direction —
the high-rises my grandfather built
          have crumbled into debris.
          The clouded smoke that stood around New York
                    has long dissipated into Lahore, and Islamabad, and Karachi,
                    all across the playgrounds of my mothers childhood,
                    into the sanctity of my grandparents home.

A generation later,
I have no need for wishing stars —
bomb threats become routine and keep me home from school.

Back in 1978 my mother would spend her nights stargazing:
          It used to be so quiet, she tells me.

But in 2012
God watches over a different city —
          the drum of dulled heartbeats shines brighter than the most vibrant skies,
          the night is girdled with funeral processions
          and there is a faint rumbling over the mountains targeted as terrorist bases where civilians live.
                    Their screams are a backdrop melody,
                    a ripple in an ocean full of water:

we are told to ignore the white noise.
          Their bodies become sites of target practice —
          blindfolded and bound
                    they are dropped to the ground like lines of dominoes
                    They are torched into embers without warning
                              and the night burns,
                              somewhere a cricket chirps,
                              and still,
                              it is a hollowed silence.

In a few years when the numbers are tallied
          and the ash cloud dissipates,
the dead will be statistics on charts we will study when regret won’t matter anymore.

          In the year 1978 my mother did not know
          when you wish death upon someone else
          you begin to write your own eulogy
                    you are asking God
                              to turn your gardens into battlefields
                              to bury your nation
                              as you watch your city’s skin wither into ash —

ash skin is not a prayer that ever falls onto a wishing star from the lips of those who have something to lose.
          My mother didn’t know how much she had to lose once.

Now no matter how hard she tries she cannot take back her wish
          or bury it beneath a black cloak —
                    black cloaks cannot hold the scars of our sins:

                    our mistakes become unholy
                    when we choose to hide them.

So listen to the white noise;
                    it is the sound of a people burning,
                              torched by those who never realised
                                        a wish once made can never be undone.


Zainab Syed (Western Australia / Pakistan)

2016/08/17

Stars

If I had a child
I would tell them
Hold your stars in your hands
You never know when someone may tear away your sky


Remilekun (Fiji)
First published on the author's website

2016/08/03

On seeing Kiama

When I reach the first glimmer of the sea
my heart sings.
Is it my sea-faring DNA welling up
or the sheer beauty of the day?

Gone from my head are concrete bollards,
road work and forty miles an hour,
cyclists pedestrians police cars,
watch for the cameras

I slow to savor the glisten, the gliding swell
the furling white, the tiny figures
surfing the lift with boards
in salt wind.

Let the road ragers toot, P-platers
overtake     This is my own moment
I am halfway home
looking at the sea.


Jennifer Dickerson (New South Wales)

2016/07/27

for a moon

what tiny wants
to put here
for a moon


Jackson (Western Australia)
Written with the Magnetic Poetry Kit