Cyclamens and Swords Publishing
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On this page: poems by Andrea Bostrom, Birgit Talmon, Carolyn Mary Kleefeld, David Fraser, Dina Yehudah, Eira Needham, Elhanan ben-Avraham, Emery L. Campbell, Haris Adhikari, Hazel Haberer, Rifkah Goldberg, Jonella Allen, 

The following works are copyright © 2012. All rights reserved. No distribution or reprinting in any form whatsoever without written permission from the authors.

Andrea Bostrom

Andrea Bostrom lives in Versailles, KY, with her husband Erik, her macaw Kalik, German Shepherd Otto, and horses Sizzling Jazz and Recency       

Unwelcome Gusts

Here came the March tornadoes
Storming out like wild June Brides
With a fury that said they hated us

We used to think Winter was bitter
But the Brides flew in without invite
And proved to be the heavier hitters

Picaroon Moon

The moon swells full
And my blood is a tide
Breaching and breaking
The shutters of my eyes

The orbits will not close
And the Iris rejects rest
Until that pirate moon
Sails back into its nest

The Dragon and The Peacocks

The peacock marbles
Roll to the dragon
As he laughs
With fiery snort

His talons caress
And lift them up high
Preparing to play
A celestial sport

With sharp flick
A flip to Venus
And bounce off Mars
Then rebound off Saturn
And a celestial fall
Returning to earth
A silent descent
So that nobody sees
The Worth........

The dragon smiles
At his lucky returns
As his celestial marbles
Not looking certain
Roll upon his hearth

Birgit Talmon

BIRGIT TALMON is Danish-born. While living in Beer-Sheva she worked as a licensed desert guide as well as at the Ben-Gurion University. A soprano, she has participated in several opera with the Philharmonic Choir of Tel-Aviv. Works as translator: Danish, English and Hebrew. Has studied prose and poetry with eminent writers in Israel and writes in the above mentioned languages. She publishes poetry and short stories in all three languages in anthologies and literary magazines both in Israel and abroad. Has served on Voices Israel Editorial Board. Her works may be seen on her website

Word Sonnets









Carolyn Mary Kleefeld

Born in England, poet, prose-writer, and visual artist Carolyn Mary Kleefeld grew up in Southern California and studied art and psychology at UCLA. The author of eleven books, she currently resides, studies, writes, and paints in Big Sur, California. Her writing has been translated into Romanian, Korean, Arabic, Bulgarian, and Braille and has been required reading at universities internationally. Carolyn’s art appears worldwide in galleries, museums, and private collections.

Mysteries Of Big Sur
for Vince Clemente

From the foggy night,
a muffled sea roars
like an untamed beast
of the wilds.

Across the high-crowned
mountain range, lions prowl unseen;
their hides match the summer straw
they lurk behind.

Here, on this lost isle,
salvation is found, refuge
from the weariness of the world
in the gleaming nights and unhurried days.

As wispy mists
caress the canyons,
bathing the daisies,
a mysterious rebirth
quietly graces Big Sur.

O Crest Of The Wild

O lover of my gentlest dreams,
O tides that bejewel my shores,
I discover you in the peacock’s wing,
yet also in the brute force of wind.

My heart lies down
upon your feathers, lush,
warmed by the secrets you whisper
to the mossy green of my soul.

And here we are again,
on the crest of the wild,
wandering the early spring meadow.

For now, we live the foam’s breath.
That is enough—it holds everything.

Here I Find You

I find you in the yearning,
in the last plea of twilight,
in the darkening silhouettes of trees,
in the seemliness of things.

As the quietude unfolds
within the somber, settling house,
redwood walls lose their ghosts.
For the moment, only silence
inhabits the dusky sea.

And here in the seed
you dwell, in all faces, no faces,
in the enveloping darkness expanding,
pulsing with life—
yet beyond this, in the nothingness,
in the blue well of silence,
in the stillness of the eternal communion.

The Moon’s White Harvest

The harvest moon
pours its white wine
through the black forests
and over the cliffs
that crash to the sea.

This holy wine
quenches the thirst of night
with silent extravagance.

Passively, the sea waits
to be touched again
by the sovereign mistress
of its haunted dreams.

At last, once-somber waves
struck by lunar light,
blossom wildly with silvery fruit.

Rollicking and dancing, undulating
amid the passion of whirlpools,
waves and moonbeams wed
in the tyranny of a Dionysian night.

David Fraser

David Fraser lives in Nanoose Bay. His poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Rocksalt, An Anthology of Contemporary BC Poetry. He has published four collections of poetry, most recently Caught in My Throat, and a book of poetry and poetics titled On Poetry, with Naomi Beth Wakan.


See how light is trapped within the jar
so far through space to reach us here,
but I fear it’s fleeting at its best
and not at our bequest that it arrives,
affects our lives with smiles and woe
for when it decides to go, shadows fall,
a darker pall across the window, chilled
as in the minutes, hours, the days are filled.

At The Bottom of the Field
with acknowledgements to Patrick Lane

At the bottom of the field
rats gather in small clumps
beside the fence post that lurches
over where the lambs broke through.

The rats are safer in these shadows
where the falcon cannot see them move.

She Packs the Flower Beds with Leaves
with acknowledgements to Philip Levine

She packs the flower beds with leaves
and in a month the snow will drift
across the garden and worms will
begin to drag each stem
beneath the soil, their silent work
while waiting for the spring.

Dina Yehudah

Dina Yehuda began writing when she was 12. She was inspired by her seventh grade English teacher, Penelope Bozarth, who demanded excellence from her students. Dina grew up in New York and studied English literature in Columbia University. She came to Israel and married her husband Yair in 1981. Dina lives in Mizpe Netofa in the Galilee. She has seven sons and a daughter and feels truly blessed with her family and community.


Once in that vast candy store
I was handed so much change
that pennies scattered everywhere
now I long for nothing to change.

There was no joy like almond joy
no thrill like a shake and fries
but now I eat my flax and soy
to stay healthy, wealthy,wise.
My carbs complex, milk lactose free
my rice and eggs unfried
but still I think oh pity me
if Ben and Jerry died.

Eira Needham
Eira Needham began life in Seven Sisters, a small mining village in South Wales, She now lives in Birmingham UK with her husband and Dalmatian Max (not to mention a number of reptiles) Her poetry is eclectic and has been published in print and online. Recent acceptances for publication include Linnets Wings, Leaf Garden and Touch, Journal of Healing.

Cookies at Grandma’s

I love to dip my Butter Crunch
in steaming Yorkshire Tea,
to yield a soft consistency --
a finely tuned degree.

I never dunk them very long,
because they crumble up
and leave an awful soggy mess
that sticks inside my cup.

I took my son to Grandma’s house
when he was just a boy,
and plunging shortcakes in his tea
he smiled with heartfelt joy.

“Oh! don’t do that dear,” Grandma glared,
“It’s rather rude,” she said.
“Well Mummy does it all the time.”
I felt myself turn red.

Sophistication disappeared,
I am a slob -- it’s true!
Yet I am sure when all alone,
she dunks her cookies too.

The Nestling

She stumbles on its 
breathless body, 
tumbled from a sycamore
-- memories flash back.

He arrived quietly
entwined in his lifeline,
hurriedly wrapped
in a hospital blanket.
Voices hushed
as they rushed him away.

One glimpse, 
no whispered

The attic stored her secret 
for forty years -- teddies danced
in the barren crib on a white shawl
crocheted by her mother.

In boughs above her, a hen screeches,
Again, grief swoops like a vulture
ripping her insides.
Mortal cries combine with avian.

Shrouding the featherless 
flesh and bones 
in a pink print hankie, she lays 
it in a tea carton coffin
and hums Rock-a-Bye Baby.

Moist soil is prepared  
beneath endless arms 
that embrace
its moss lined cradle. 

earth to earth
dust to dust

Poppy seeds are scattered.

When buds bloom, 
crumpled crimson, 
she still hungers –

Did his eyes twinkle blue, 
reflecting her image?

Where is he nestled now?

Eternal Peacock

Once vivid cobalt, it slumps 
against my kitchen tiles, 
plumes lacklustre and scratched --
feet swollen from paddling 
overlong in sudsy water.

I draw back time's curtain
to peer into her cluttered kitchen
as she chops a kaleidoscope of vegetables 
on the bird’s cream underbelly;
York ham and salad for Sunday tea
and sliced white bread, spread 
with salty Welsh butter.

Since pneumonia stole her away,
her board rests
on my aging counter top
waiting for the timer to ping,
when renovations will begin.
A new pine pig reclines
in the second drawer down, soon 
to unite with me 
in culinary delights.

As feathers fade 
their splendour 

Elhanan ben-Avraham

Elhanan ben-Avraham is a poet, painter, muralist and illustrator living in a small village outside Jerusalem. His large murals may be seen at the Beit HaNoar Haivri, and the Philip Leon Center, Jerusalem.

Elhanan and Goliath
1 chronicles 20:5

Little press got Elhanan
for Lahmi, Goliath’s brother,
though both enormous challenges,
born of just one mother.

For ruddy David got the fame
for taking down Goliath,
now everyone recalls his name;
of Elhanan, all is quiet.

Though affable Elhanan, wily and sprite,
fought Lahmi the giant to death,
a footnote of Scripture was all they would write,
the story was told in one breath.

Lahmi emerged in mischievous mail,
his spear as tall as a tree,
Elhanan’s sword seemed small to prevail,
it barely came down to his knee.

Constrained by facts he started low
for all that he was worth,
and to his knee did strike a blow
to fell a tree of mighty girth,
then to soddy earth he fell,
and so piled up extremely well.

Giants come and giants go,
it’s very plain to see,
but this one brave gigantic show
is writ of history.

Elhanan lived, courageous and bold
as David’s faithful trooper,
as one of his brave and fighting fold
of men to be called Super,
now his tale comes forth to light,
long buried, hidden and scrolled, 
it’s about time and only right!               
that his wonderful tale be told.

Emery L. Campbell

Emery L. Campbell is an award-winning writer of poetry and short works of fiction and nonfiction. A selection of his poems and translations from classical French poets This Gardener’s Impossible Dream: A Not So Green Thumb (or Why I Took Up Poetry Instead),Multicultural Books, was nominated for the 2006 Georgia Author of the Year Award and a poem chosen from it received a nomination for a Pushcart prize. Campbell’s second book of translations Selected Fables and Poems in Translation was published in late December 2010 by Print1 Direct of Marietta, GA

His work has won awards from the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, the Georgia Writers Association, the Georgia Poetry Society, and numerous other state poetry organizations.

Campbell and his wife, Hettie, a native of the Netherlands, live in Lawrenceville, GA. 

A Bad Hare’s Day
(Glose form)

“The turtle lives ‘twixt plated decks
which practically conceal its sex.
I think it clever of the turtle
in such a fix to be so fertile.”*

A turtle racing with a hare
was losing badly till he saw
that brother rabbit took no care
to mull if he could safely dare
recline to ease a painful paw.
He’d had too many lengthy treks;
indeed, his foot was worn quite raw.
He stretched out on a bed of straw
and thus incurred a heavy hex.
Though turtle lived ‘twixt plated decks,

a heavy load to drag along,
he nonetheless kept plodding, drawn
by his belief he wasn’t wrong
to seek success. His legs were strong;
true, speed he lacked, but he had brawn—
he manifested muscle flex—
and so he vowed to carry on
(though not, of course, as did Don Juan,
for turtles’ love is quite complex;
they practically conceal their sex).

The rabbit meanwhile lay asleep,
a slumped, deep breathing, furry mound,
unmindful how the hours could leap,
no clock to blurt a waking beep,
unconscious on the straw he’d found.
His foe could not be said to hurtle,
but all the same he covered ground,
stepped soft, took care to make no sound;
just ten more yards—the final hurdle.
All hail triumphant, clever turtle!

At last the hare jumped up, awake,
saw slowpoke was so far ahead—
near out of sight, for goodness sake!
He leapt to try to overtake
his rival. In despair he sped,
but ‘twas too late. In meantime, Myrtle,
our hero’s wife, with kids he’d bred,
stood waiting with their arms outspread
to cheer him on and to engirdle
their Papa, eminently fertile.

* From “Hard Times” by Ogden Nash.

Bubba’s Bedtime Bugaboo

Whenever Bubba goes to bed he’s seized
with shivers going up and down his spine.
In hopes that he could get his problem eased
he seeks assistance from a shrink, a sign

that he has nearly reached the breaking point.
“Each time I climb in bed I think a guy
is under it. My mind is out of joint
from fear. It makes no difference how I try,

I can’t get over it,” he says. The doc
replies, “I’ll help you out, but it will take
a weekly visit for a year.” The shock
when learning of the fee makes Bubba shake.

He says, “I’ll need some time to think about
it.” Months go by. One day the doctor meets
a happy Bubba on the street. “No doubt,”
the latter offers as he smiles and greets

the doctor, “you have often wondered why
you never saw me back. I just could not
afford your fee. But I’ve been mended by
a local barman whose advice I sought.”

“And how, if I may ask, did such a man
assist you? With a cure plucked from the air?”
“‘The bed’s four legs must go!’ That was his plan.
So now I’m sure there’s no one under there.”

Toward a Less Offensive Bumper Sticker

Our salivary glands fulfill the need
for moisturizing mouthfuls that we munch.
Without them we would soon be off our feed,
for how then could we masticate our lunch?

A slice of toast would end up in a wad,
an arid aggregate to make us frown.
We’d struggle to ingurgitate like mad,
but in the end the food would not go down.

The fluid so engendered serves as well
for polishing our shoes. Combine a bit
with Kiwi paste, apply, and buff like hell.
What’s more, the work required keeps us fit.

Said glands are useful gifts, though without wrappin’s.
When circumstances call for it, spit happens.

Unsuitably Suited Suitor

Rain drops drum on a skin that’s waterproof,
an antiquated, corrugated, furrowed metal roof;
they flog with a flagellating fury on the tin,
flailing but falling short of flushing fluid in.

Inside the shingle-sided solitary site
stands a striking, strong, and stately armor-suited knight,
secure in the certainty his outerwear won’t rust
as long as no liquid leaks; in this he puts his trust.

When storm had stopped a stylish sylph of presence passing sweet
sat stiff astride a steed that strutted straight along the street.
On glancing up she glimpsed the gangly gallant gawking down.
The tantalizing teaser trailed, attractive through the town.

Sir knight knew no more news about her, so the sturdy stud
strode stoutly down the stairway, senses stirring in his blood,
to drum up detailed data on the dainty demoiselle,
like looking up her label and her domicile as well.

He hustled till he had to hand her handle and her haunt,
and furthermore he found she had faint virtue left to flaunt.
He clanked and clattered on a course that carried him to her,
his hardly innocent intent right restive to aver.

She smoothly showed him in. She said she’d seen his shameless stare
and knew he’d seek her lodgings for a vision of her…bare.
She lingered in the lobby, led him on with languid looks,
proceeding in a twinkling to try tricks not learned in books.

She lay revealed, resplendent, less her dress he’d helped her doff.
As he bounced in bed beside her she cried, “Take the armor off!”

Haris Adhikari

Haris Adhikari is from Nepal. He is a graduate in English and American literature from Tribhuvan University. A member of The Society of Nepali Writers in English, he is a teacher of English by profession. Also, he is the editor of Misty Mountain Review, an online journal of short poetry. His poems have appeared in The Enchanting Verses Literary Review, Buddhist Poetry Review, Mad Swirl, Of Nepalese Clay, Poddle (Poddle Publications, Dublin), Locust Magazine, Snow Monkey Journal, The Applicant, and Cuckoo Quarterly, among others. His other works are coming up in Essence Poetry Journal.
To read his other poems, visit this link:

Is the horizon an illusion?
Or the eyes faulty?
That height, that expansion,
that cauldron shape upside down,
that elusiveness
to go with me 
wherever I go. 
Even today
it’s heavy upon me
like it ever was. 
Between the walls
On both sides          they are,
erected               to the infinite –
W A L L S       that do not answer
so many                 a question.
Their length       goes with me.
But they’re                ever the same.
Neither they corrode       nor do they fall.      
B L A C K                           is their color.  
R I D D L E,           their name.
The passage,         a river –
Oh………            I must flow!      
I know nothing as I go
I know nothing as I go,
I just go like a thistledown, flying 
away, far away
making ranges
in the air, not knowing
who I am
in this vast, evergreen
question of being.
I just go like a flake of snow
on the ridges of my road, melting
to melt again.
I just go like a creeper
to droop down 
as I lose the balance
at the top of a tree 
I hold tight;
I hurt myself, swinging
in the dark forest
of my being;
I know nothing, as I go,
of myself, of this design,
I know nothing as I go.
Hazel Haberer

Hazel Haberer is a veteran member of Kibbutz Tzora since 1955 when she made aliyah with her husband Chanan. She was a member of the Habonim Dror Zionist movement in South Africa prior to aliyah. Hazel has 3 children and 9 grandchildren. She has a Bachelor degree in Psychology from Wits. University in South Africa, has written and performed a number of humorous skits in Hebrew and "Ingloo" - a synthesis of English and Hebrew - and a small selection of poems, some published.

The Metronome

Imagine life
As a metronome
Oscillating to and fro.
Tick, tock,  life goes by
Memories flash
On and off.
Childhood moments,
A treasure trove,
Young and carefree years.
The awkward teens,
The first clumsy kiss,
Gladness and sadness
Adulthood,  motherhood,
Pendulum swinging,
Life  relentlessly
Moves on.

Children grown up,
Their children born,
I am growing old.
The golden age
In full swing,
With attendant 
Joys and woes.
Living one day 
At a time,
How quickly time ticks by.
If only one could slow the pace
Of the inexorable

At The Bus Stop

A pretty young girl, scantily clad,
A Haredi man with
Earlocks, streimel.
Is he ogling the young girl
With lascivious thoughts?
I ponder… 
Two young men in waistcoats
Holding hands,
Possibly gay,
I imagine…
A young mother with twin boys,
A business man with briefcase,
A tourist with backpack,
All uninteresting.
An aging woman
In femme fatale attire,
The pendulum no longer swinging
In her favour.
Does she envy the young girl
I wonder…
My imagination has 
Run the gamut,
Here comes the bus.

Rivkah Goldberg

Rifkah Goldberg is an artist and a poet. She has been writing poetry since 1996. Her poetry focuses on two main themes: human relationships and the recent situation in Israel. 
Her poetry first became known in Israel through readings at the "Jerusalem Poetry Slams," a performance poetry group.   She is also a member and regular contributor to Voices Israel Group of Poets in English and the Israel Association of Writers in English (in their magazine "Arc"). 

Coming Across Me 

In memory of Ivan Schwebel (1932-2011)

The first time
Stole up behind me
Clad in shorts clutching
Half-filled shopping trolley

Took me time to unlock my gaze
From the beautiful decrepit buildings
With symphony of shades over
Unlikely assorted goods

“Do you know who I am?
Don’t know anyone else 
Who paints Jerusalem
As we both do”

Very different
Yet also the same
Grateful caressing love 
For every stone, house and street

Addicted to bright, bold colours
Feel of the brush, touch of the canvas
Laughed when I called it
“A harmless madness”

Struggling with my easel
Outside your favourite café
Heard you had walked to your death
In your “Safe Place” a few days ago

For as long as I am able
To drag myself out to paint
Jerusalem’s ever-changing shuk
I will miss you coming across me


Jonella Allen

Jonella Allen is a poet living in the Hollywood Hills. She listens to traffic passing on the 101 Freeway while drinking coffee and contemplating all the clichés of life, love, and loss and then trying to avoid them. Over the years her bills have been paid posing as a high school lunch lady, a banker, and a seller of fountain pens.

The Prejudice of the Egg

It is here, between these tapestries and under grey shingles that I play.
Unfurl the bedroll and build a campfire in the closet.
Kiss the girl.
Sinister tales that have no beginning lurk at the edge of my rotting gate.
It creaks and the Devil produces intoxication in a piggy bank.
The shower races along leaves and twigs under the canopy.
Drip. Drip. Drop. Bambi is afraid of the thunder. But it passes.

An organ grinder appears through the curtain. It is not the wizard.
Each crank of the handle forces cheese through the grater.
Kiss the girl.
I close the book and take off his glasses.
My arms stretch across the pool to stamp out the cigarette.
I don’t smoke.
I inhale deeply, fluttering my lids as the cloud wages war over blue and white buoys bobbing in the chlorine stringing together the past and the future.
The cardboard fireplace in the lifeguard tower is lined with socks, each with an Orange in the toe and brimming with walnuts that splash into the shallow end.
Pitter patter of little hooves on the roof.
Pitter patter.
Patter pitter.
Pit. Pit. Pat. Scrape.
Hooves scramble losing traction like roller skates on gravel.
Pat. Pat. Pit. Scrape.
Reindeer tumble past the curtain. Santa’s beard catches on a rusty hook.
Scrape. Scrape. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Make sure everything is well blended.

Chop the chicken. The whole chicken. No head and not running.
Sitting on the counter I hold my arms and howl.
Mother crunches the bones, pulling them apart into bite size pieces.
Bear and elephant dance with spears around the cauldron.
My bowl is full of cereal and milk. I insist it rests on the floor.
Eating like a dog without benefit of spoon or fingers. Lapping the milk.
Spoons are used for cutting out hearts.
Kiss the girl.
The rug peels back and the table sinks while chairs take up arms.
Crabapples collect in the upturned Frisbee,
The oversized green Frisbee that the day before had carried Indian war paint.
The sun-faded Frisbee, cracked and waiting like a land mine under the fence,
The fence leading to the rotting gate.
Drip. Drip. Drop. Bambi is afraid of the thunder. But it passes.

My bedroom sloshes with water rushing in from the storm. It needs a place to rest.
The killer whale drifts in on a wave, looking with her tiny blue eye for a meal.
If I stay very still, maybe she won’t see me. She flashes a glance at my cereal bowl.
Kiss the girl.
Clothes spin in the washing machine guided by a lighthouse on the cliff.
Churn. Churn. Rumble. Pause.
Churn. Churn. Rumble. Pause.
Churn. Churn. Rumble. Pause.
The dirty water explodes into the sink, overflowing, spilling onto the floor.

Wall sconces flicker and burn the degree growing dull in its red border.
Kiss the girl.
Frogs pirouette to Romeo and Juliet, leaping over the rotting gate.
Kiss the girl.
The campfire in the closet extinguishes.
Kiss the girl.
The piggy bank is empty.
Kiss the girl.
The Devil takes his due.
Fuck the girl.
Bread ties and candy-coated chocolate still twist the spoon.
Drip. Drip. Drop. Bambi is afraid of the thunder. But it passes.

Blue Eyes and Dark Curly Hair

Burg is on the phone.

I didn’t mean to answer but the black rotary dial phone was ringing and it hurt my ears so I answered just to make it stop and now I’m stuck because even though I haven’t said anything, not even ‘hello,’ Burg knows it’s me with my snarled hair and snot filled tissues.

He wants me to come over.

I don’t want to go but then I find myself asleep on his couch under a quilt.

Burg is nowhere to be found and the couch isn’t his it’s mine, my orange and green couch and my orange and brown quilt. I fell asleep in the living room and the white cordless phone, the kind with the antenna you have to extend to get any reception, is ringing.

I don’t mean to answer but I do and Burg is on the line and he knows it’s me with my dirty fingernails and a Band-Aid on my shin even though I don’t speak.

He wants me to come over.

I don’t want to go but then I find myself baking cupcakes in his kitchen.

Burg is nowhere to be found and the kitchen isn’t his it’s mine with my yellow daisy wallpaper and glitter specked linoleum. I’m baking cupcakes for my daughter’s birthday and the avocado green phone, the one mounted to the wall, is ringing.

I don’t mean to answer but I do and Burg is on the line and, even though I’m not breathing, he knows it’s me with my pierced nose and blood soaked loafers.

He wants me to come over.

I don’t want to go but then I find myself stuffing the apron in the oven and grabbing my keys.

The hallway stretches away from my apartment, the blue-grey carpet shifting like the tide under my loafers, and the stone steps lead up to the front of Burg’s building. The doorman is missing but the intercom rings and, even though I say nothing, Burg knows that it’s me with my bad breath and torn jeans and he tells me to come in while the extended tone of the nine key cuts him off and the door begins to buzz.

I don’t step forward.

I teeter on the edge.

I leave everything behind as I back down the steps, shuffle along the hall, turn though the kitchen, and sit down on the couch pulling my cell phone from my pocket and begin to dial.