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On this page: poems by Maude Larke, Michael E. Stone, Mindy Aber Barad, MJD Algera, Neal Whitman, Patricia Har-Even, Patrick Osada, Zvi Sesling, Paul Hostovsky, Paul Raboff, Rena Lee

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


Maude Larke

 


 
Maude Larke has returned to writing after years in universities, analyzing others’ work, and to classical music as an ardent amateur. She has been published in Bird’s Eye reView, the Syracuse Cultural Workers’ Women Artists Datebook, Naugatuck River Review, Oberon, Doorknobs and Bodypaint, the Society of Southwestern Authors, Flowers & Vortexes, and The Story Teller.
 
 
 
From an Emptier Shore
 
the lake, 
 
never losing words, 
gleamed its bright phrases 
in the grayness 

I sat 
minus weighty thoughts 
and felt only the need 
the loss 

stone is soothing 
taking in the heat of anguish
and holding it 
long after I have gone 

 
 
Head Litter
 
somewhere between the sharp 
 
and the cancelation, the black and the white 
finger three and recalcitrant finger four 
the tart wedge thrusts in; 
          a neighbor’s ineptitude 
          libretto words 
          the weather in Stockholm 
the path is lost 
the spaces become dyslexic 
and my neck puts itself in its clamp  

the only solution found so far – a repeated 
“where is it?  where is it?  where is it ?” – 
the lamest of stopgaps 
in the multiple gaps 
of sudden doors 
popping open

impossible to make a weight to keep hinges unworn
as what is present is already extreme
and sobbing for jettisoning
and subsequent straightening of vertebrae

to make of the time of music a space
like a ten-year-old’s imagined heaven
where she can stare at green until it becomes
and not move once

to slip back into paths 
where not even heaven glinted
where whirling black allowed for dervish chant  
and music held only itself and its silences and breaths
and the only thing sudden was subito

to subside, to lose, and in that way to imbibe
dig the well 
place stones
polish them
follow the lines
fill between them
repeat
repeat
lie supine
fold in the flapping edges
then
unfold 


Michael E. Stone

Michael Stone was born in England in 1938. His family moved to Australia in 1941, where he received his schooling. Michael was awarded academic degrees in Australia and at Harvard University. He holds an earned Doctor of Letters degree from the University of Melbourne. Michael lives in Jerusalem with his family, writes and publishes original poetry as well as translating. His translation of Adamgirk', a medieval epic about Adam and Eve in 6,000 lines, was published by Oxford University Press.


Links and Letters

Land links, mobile links, 
satellite links, email links, 
internet links, fax links.

fast, yes. 
round the world now, now, now!
here to there at once, once, once!
wonder upon digital wonder.

not ink on paper, 
this modern writing,
monitor glowing and
pixel on pixel off.

Not actually seeing people
in the flesh,
even on Skype links there’s
no breath, no touch,
no real eyes to see, 
no smell and no taste.
By the senses we learn other people.

The new links are so swift
there’s no time for imagination 
which used to envelope a letter
(the scented note, the dried flower)
the very handwriting that spoke
by its slant and shape, 
form and care.

No reading a hundred times, 
no writing with pounding heart
word squeezed out after word,
and no waiting an eternity,
for the postman tomorrow.

Quicker, not necessarily better or richer.


Golden Grains

Wood’s grain shows nature’s growth,
layers of rings mark years past.
Their lines, colours, whirls and patterns,
hide modest beneath bark's bumps.

Lustrous smooth polished wood,
is velvet beneath eye's caress. If you
plane heedless across the grain
you deface its deep hiddenness.

Live life's line along the grain,
warming and smooth and deep.
Chase not gold against life’s flow
down the path to the land of death.


Clear and Cut

The morning was clear and cut,
Cold, and the air chimed,
Tingling, quite clear to the ear,
The crystal sun in the blue.

Sharp winter chill,
Buildings cut out with razor blades,
Pop-up silhouettes,
Straight edges, sharp.

Each tree separate,
Cypress and pine stand.
My eyes dazzled
by the eastern sun.

 

 

Mindy Aber Barad

Mindy Aber Barad moved to Israel in 1977, has a BA from Washington University (St. Louis), and an LLB from Hebrew University. Her poetry, stories, book reviews and essays have been published in Poetica, Wild Plum, Current Accounts, the Jerusalem Post, the Jewish Press, CyclamensandSwords.com and other publications both on and off line. Mindy is the Israeli co-editor of The Deronda Review.


Baltimore 1967

Festival of Freedom
the table is set
with silver and fine china
we are no longer slaves
the door is open
waiting for Elijah the Prophet
to enter
and sip our wine
to usher in Messiah…

Close the door!
There’s a curfew!

Passover 1967
we may not play in the backyard
“come in children
it’s getting late”
worried eyes
of anxious parents
shift right, then left, right
Hurry up!
Come inside!

Why is it 
that on that night
so long ago
they ate in haste
and fled,
while on this night
we take our time
although we want to flee?

Should we put blood
on our door posts so the riots
will pass over us?
How can we welcome in the poor
to share with us
the bread of affliction,
but slam the door in Messiah’s face?
Can we keep out the meanness
and still share?

Four questions
every year,
bitter exile
in homes yet unleavened.


Saplings

I

peach/plum grafts
elbow almond trees
push the pomegranates
conjoined
the grafts unwillingly 
share a 
phylum 
and usurp what little water is left

while struggling saplings -
olives
dates
figs
burrow under
the ancient stone walls
to quench a thirst 
of thousands of years

II

plantlings
barely standing
in bags of soil
beside the road
any gust of passing hatred
and…

where are the olive saplings
that surround me at table?
where are the stone walls for shade?

how does the shaded area become a rigid border?
since when are plants and trees
anything more than?


Night Air

I have paid a price for the night air
I swing my arms
But they are not free
They are burdened under an invisible weight
The heavy price of death

Freedom should be fun?
Not
Loss of spouse
Loss of balance
I have lost my share
Each breath
Clasped to my lungs
Reluctant to escape
Refresh
Renew
Into the night air
 
 

MJD Algera

MJD Algera was born in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada on February 14, 1986, and currently resides in Hamilton, Ontario. He started writing at age 17, and since then his work has appeared in several literary magazines in North America, online and in print. Three of his poems have been shortlisted for national contests. He is a graduate of McMaster University, and in 2009, he earned a certificate in Creative Writing. He continues to remain active in the arts community by volunteering at literary festivals such as grit LIT, and was a former member of the Tower Poetry Society. 

He is currently pursuing a career in “Teaching the Adult Learner”. His first chapbook, “Outskirts” is now available for purchase on www.cyclamensandswords.com

His poetry isn’t like him at all: its unapologetic, tends to run red lights and isn’t afraid to undress in public.




On My Mother at Age Seventy

When I was a kid
you showed me the world and its kaleidoscopic hills:

for instance, you taught reading comprehension
through Alphaghetti

and on Canadian winter nights while I played house
with a shovel and pail, you would kneel at the kitchen door

scrawling I heart U on the frost;
whenever my Christmas Spirit was shucked bitterly from the cold,

a candy cane, like a barber striped pole twirled in a pool
of Nestle decadence.

I’ll never forget the day you said, “You feel less of a parent
when you lose your own.”

The workforce bereaved you of your spirit:
like any tired parent

you fashioned a mask of rouge and elasticity,
a dramatic bust of John Henry. You cast your hammer

to the metal works of baking industrialized goods;
your back pressed to a Costco freezer, you bear witness

to your Krispy Kreams being wasted on frugal bottom feeders.
Nowadays, you sit in the dark

drinking cold coffee
in a bathrobe stained with cigarette burns.

You go to the top shelf with your word choice.
“Dainty is what dainty does.”

Those words I tell you, rang true as the day
I came upstairs to find the bathroom lights on, door gaping,

I winced to find you on the toilet,
winding wads of paper

round your hand, “Praying to God,” you say while flushing,
“to pass the time.”


On My Dog’s Reaction to Her Winter Coat

Your resolve was dead on human, you standing Revolutionary quiet
legs cemented as I pulled you from under the kitchen table

it was mere moments beforehand,
you were zigzagging around my feet as I dressed
dressed
dressed
and dressed

satisfied, I withdrew your bundled garb
from the hall closet. You scurry away. I spring a trap
and lasso you into your polyester netting, careful
in tucking away your folds, harnessing the Velcro
straps round your belly.

I mean to tell your pleading baby browns,
it’s for your own good. It’ll protect you
from the cold. Trust me, its girlfriend recommended.

If you were human, I wouldn’t dare tell you
my half amusement when I watch you walk

like a bleating bagpipe composing a dirge (perhaps a homesick
longing for Syracuse, New York … a state of emergency
911 call to the Baskervilles?) nor dare I speak of any conception
of buying booties to match.
Your whines tune to a whistle
reserved for my ears only: ‘The Food Guy has bad taste in women.
Down with Avon
down with the whole feminist movement.’
Your resolve gels like puzzle pieces.

We know nothing of the cold or of what’s chic,
but I should wildly guess
should you ever EVER
Evvvvvvvvvveeeer see that Avon lady
again, you’ll take a bite out of her fun parts
faster than she can draw
the blade assigned to kill fashion.




Neal Whitman

Neal Whitman lives in Pacific Grove, California. He loves to collaborate with his wife, Elaine, pairing his poetry with her photography in the Japanese haiga form and combining her Native American flute with his poetry in public recitals to raise money for not-for-profit organizations.


William Carlos Williams after Office Hours

Jim Beam in lab jar and tuna sandwich
No where else to go, no one to call
Now free from the work of the day
One sees most by candlelight
When one sees so little
My dark friend is back
Spiral Notebook
Permission
Poem
Pour



Patricia Har-Even

Patricia Har-Even lived in Carmiel and Rehovot 1968-75, went back to UK in 1975 with third son and third degree electrical burns due to careless combination of live socket, wet duster and wet hand.  Physic teachers please note.  She spent the next 33 years earning a boring but lucrative living in various UK offices, whilst longing for Zion and retirement.  She achieved this apotheosis in 2008 and is now considering an MA in Creative Writing course at Bar-Ilan University.


The Gift

Tentative, resolved, approaching me in fierce decision and necessity
You pressed your mouth to my skin and my bones –
I was, primarily, grateful;
Secondly, fascinated by your fingernails, cut especially for me.


Acrostic

Incompatible generations illuminated with
Life-enhancing lust; you are
Alarmingly adored. I clearly appreciate you are also
No novice at this.


Waiting for rain

I am walking in a dry, clean autumn wind, thinking of you –
Let the rain come quickly, let the wet days come soon in the hills,
To love is an abstraction, an abstract verb that implies
We will meet and we’ll part before winter arrives.


Archangel

Next time you’re in charge;
I’m not sure how I’ll feel,
You can do as you want –
I’m not there, it’s not real;

Not in my head 
And not in my heart –
It’s your turn to do what is right on your part.

An unusual couple,
Really quite rare –
So this is our bargain,
And I’ll play fair:

I’ll give you nurture and loving care;
Next time you’re in charge,
Next time you’ll be free,

As the fact of the matter is this, you see,
You are an incarnated archangel to me.



Patrick Osada

Patrick B. Osada is a retired Headteacher living in Warfield, Berkshire, England. He works as an editor, writes reviews of poetry for magazines and is a member of the Management Team for SOUTH Poetry Magazine.
His first collection, Close to the Edge was published in 1996 & won the prestigious Rosemary Arthur Award.
His second collection, Short Stories: Suburban Lives, and his last volume, Rough Music, have been published in England by Bluechrome.
His current collection, Choosing the Route, has been published in England by Indigo Dreams Publishing.
Patrick’s work has been widely published in magazines, anthologies and on the internet. His poetry has been broadcast on national & local radio and translated into several European languages. 
 



Revenant

Leafing through the daily news,
I stopped at an obituary.
The photo showed a sparkling girl -
Carefully groomed and beautiful -
As she had looked in '65.
Immediately, in my mind's eye,
I saw her as she used to be
Performing with a well known band :
Zeitgeist for a while. Shooting star,
Consumed by her short brush with fame,
She'd disappeared by '69 :
Burnt out - only her name remained

The feature outlined her success :
Hit records and her earning power;
Her lovers and her fall came next -
It ended telling how she died :
On Welfare in a lonely room.
About her voice - her greatest gift -
The item contained not one word,
Confusing with rock's hype and trash
A talent that was Christ inspired.

It was her voice I recognized
When walking one cold afternoon
Outside a church in London town,
Only a month before she died.
She sang of beauty and of grace
With fine control and clarity,
Even a simple well known hymn
Commanded all her mastery.
Excited - like a teenage fan -
I crept into the darkened nave
Attracted by the style and range
That made her voice unique.

She was alone - sang for herself -
The altar steps seemed like her stage
Where she was trying to arrange
A tall display of flowers.
Unseen, I watched her as she worked -
It was a shock to see just how
Her looks and figure had both gone,
Her hair so greasy and unkempt,
Her face was lived in like her clothes.
I listened as her voice sang on 
Unchanged despite the passing years,
Transfixed she held me for so long
Until church dust caused me to sneeze.

She stopped mid note and turned to me,
So angry that I should be there,
I coughed and muttered,"Lovely flowers,"
And stumbled out into the air.
I closed the door with my chance gone
To tell her what she'd meant to me :
How I'd been listening down the years
To worn L.P.s of all her songs.

Although I waited in the cold 
Outside the church as lights came on,
She didn't sing another note
And left before I knew she'd gone.


The Public Misery Of This Animal's Death

The public misery of this animal's death.
Glazed eyed his glassy stare, curved posture
Echoes sleep, but he's not chosen to lie here
Beneath this tree; his was adventure
Found across that narrow strip of asphalt road –
He would not elect for such a public place to rest.
He didn't live long – no time for glories
We'd hoped with him to share : the falling snow,
A first sharp frost, holidays away.
Watching him mature and grow : our expectation.
Instead (how savage the irony) moving
Him from the dusty verge to my waiting Renault.



Zvi Sesling

Zvi A. Sesling has published poetry in numerous magazines both in print and online in the United States, Great Britain, New Zealand, Canada and Israel. Among the publications are: Ibbetson St., Midstream, Poetica,The Deronda Review, Voices Israel, Saranac Review, New Delta Review, Plainsong, Asphodel, Haz Mat Review, Istanbul Literary Review, The Chaffin Journal, Ship of Fools, Chiron Review, Poetry Monthly Interational, Matrix, The Tower and Main Street Rag. He was awarded Third Place (2004) and First Prize (2007) in the Reuben Rose International Poetry Competition and was a finalist in the 2009 Cervena Barva Press Chapbook Contest. In 2008 he was selected to read his poetry at New England/Pen “Discovery” by Boston Poet Laureate Sam Cornish. He was a featured reader in the 2010 Jewish Poetry Festival in Brookline, MA. His poems have been published in the U.S., Canada, England, Israel and New Zealand. He is a regular reviewer for the Boston Small Press and Poetry Scene and he edits the Muddy River Poetry Review. He is author of King of the Jungle, (Ibbetson St., 2010) and a chapbook Across Stones of Bad Dream (Cervena Barva, 2011) and a second full length poetry book, Fire Tongue (Cervena Barva) is scheduled for 2011.


Night Brings Sorrow    
 
Rain dances slowly on windows
birds hide wherever they can
umbrellas open like mushrooms
windshield wipers hum a dull tune
 
Not much cash in the register
too little to steal, no 20s or 10s
change jangles with each opening
then register closes
 
Another chapter ends unhappily
the bride waiting, the groom drunk
shoes are in the bathroom sink
her tiara on a chair
 
Night brings sorrow to the lonely
the cat stays under the bed
the dog is let out alone
day ends it all again
 
 
 
Night Thought
 
The swell of night rises with the tide
washes day from the mind
brings new thoughts, nightmares
liquid dreams
keepers of flame
fires extinguished
in a kiss of anger
like a romance
covered with a blanket
smothered in a city hotel
abandoned
now a recluse seeks
the life of day
waits for new dreams




Paul Hostovsky

Paul Hostovsky is the author of three books of poetry and seven poetry chapbooks. His poems have won a Pushcart Prize and been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, The Writer’s Almanac, and Best of the Net. To read more of his work, visit his website: www.paulhostovsky.com


Pleasure

When you’re in pain
you take
pleasure in nothing
but pain’s
diminishment,
if pleasure
you can call it,
testing
the thinness of it,
disbelieving,
distrusting,
tiptoeing
down into the kitchen
where a few dirty dishes
that aren’t yours
wait in the sink,
and you begin
washing them
slowly,
thoroughly,
gratefully,
the warm
water on your wrists,
the sweet-
smelling soap, the clean
dishes stacking
in the dish rack,
glistening,
dripping,
solid.


The Tow

As if the book were more important
than the man
with the flatbed and the winch
from the Triple A
backing up his truck
with that backing-up-truck sound
into a position that
resembled the way the females of some species
will offer themselves sexually to the males,
she went back to reading

and didn’t see him hit the lever
that extended the flatbed out,
or the other lever that tilted it
down to the ground at just the right pitch
that allowed her car to mount it
when it was ready—
but it wasn’t ready because
he hadn’t gotten down yet on his knees
so you could see his butt-crack
(which she didn’t see because

she was reading)
to look for a good place underneath
to attach the hooks and chains
at the end of the cable which the winch
paid out like a fishing net
and would haul back in
with her car attached,
like a catch,
like a big fish mounting a bigger fish,
which may or may not have resembled

the mating habits of fish,
when he hit the third and final lever,
the one in the middle with the red handle
which would have made her wonder
what that one did
if she had been looking,
but she wasn’t looking and it’s no wonder
because she was reading,
because the book was more important
than the man.


The Untied Stales

of America, my daughter
has written over the map
of the lower forty-eight
a little carelessly,
transposing two letters,
forgetting to cross one t,
the map itself colored in
a little sloppily, dark crayon
spilling in from Canada
and bleeding into Mexico.
And how perfect is that?


 
Paul Raboff


Paul Raboff began publishing poetry in the nineteen-fifties in various “Beat” journals where Ginsberg, Corso and Snyder appeared. Unlike the Beats, however, it wasn’t enough for him to appropriate mystical language and terminology to leverage his poetry. He actually did have a real and convincing mystical experience that changed his outlook and sent him to Israel where he has lived since. Paul has published in the best journals accepting poetry in English in Israel and later was chosen to be among the English-language poets in Israel represented in Avon Books’ (New York) anthology of modern Jewish Poetry: “Voices in the Ark.” In 1990, a Swiss publisher, Éditions Ouverture (Lausanne) published in French, “Parce que je l’ai desiré”, a selection of his poetry in translation and in 1998, Gefen Books (Jerusalem) published “From Baal to Ashtoreth.”


Sculptor

I use a chisel.
I prefer to chop
With carbon steel
The edge bright
From the graze
At the narrow strike,
Not a cutting disc,
Not a grinder
Making a dusty haze.
I like to chip
And leave it there.
It's great to honor
The shafted structure
Bedded in rock.
What's inherent
Takes the weight,
Stands up straight,
Won't buckle or slant.
Caves and vaults
Will never shake.   
As I work -
Then as it likes
Or as it faults
Let those parts drop
Which are weak.
Perhaps not classic,
Not even civil,
But I can trust
What will keep
Standing and resist.


Caesar

Rendering Caesar's coin to Caesar
You see the coin's mutably stamped face,
Great Caesar enlarging like an ulcer.
The coin accommodates the increase
Spreading the landscape of empire
Then astounds taxpayers to seize
Ridges and hollows which mint the sore
Of some rutted financial disease.
Nothing grows through the sealed silver.
Streams flash by, fluted and lustrous
With metal grains. You cannot drink water;
And build with silver bricks? At what price?
Caesar invades every natural feature.  
The whole land is one coined excise.
What? Render Caesar a superscripture
Which covers now what is all his specie? 
 



Rena Lee

Rena Lee, penname of Rena Kofman, is poet and writer, a retired Professor of Hebrew from the City University of New York, and the author of twelve books in Hebrew. Her work appeared (in both Hebrew and English) in many magazines, anthologies, scholarly journals, etc. Her chapbook “Captive of Jerusalem: Song of Shulamite” is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.
For more information please visit her internet site www.renalee.net


Childhood

1.

The picture stays so deeply engraved 
in my mind that floods of years 
will not wash it off.

Somewhere sometime I’ll never cease to be
that little girl in pinafore and pigtails watching
Mamma about to light Shabbat candles.
Her palms spread in front of her like wings 
of a bird preparing to fly, her face aglow.

There’s special festive stillness in the air, 
as if the entire world is becharmed with 
the promise of Shabbat. Sweet smells of vanilla 
and cinnamon drift from the kitchen to tell me 
Mamma has baked my favorite cookies.

The table, set with china and silverware,
wine for Kiddush, and two challa loaves
bespeaks anticipation -
  
And listening to the flutter of arriving
Shabbat angels, I hear the footsteps of Papa,
humming drumming from the stairway, 
as he hurries home on Shabbat Eve -

And even today, after light-years as well as 
many years of darkness - sitting for Shabbat dinner
at our table that returned to its small dimensions 
when the children left -
I can still hear Papa’s footsteps
in my heartbeats marching back and forth,
back and forth, as if in effort to mitigate,
at least somewhat, the inequities of time.


11.

Used Clothes

It was in the pile ready to be given away,
among the clothes Mamma used to wear
now demoted to simply: Used Clothes.
It was lying there terribly missing its buddy,
Mamma’s body.

(Who can tell the intimacy between a body
and its wear?)

She often had it on, her beloved dress.
I remember her clad in it on Shabbat’s eve,
the daisies and anemones printed around 
its hem winking at the carnations in the vase. 
It’s a miracle how – 
in spite of frequent laundering – 
these flowers have retained their freshness, 
their colors strong and vivid.

Even now, 
stuck among other used clothes in the bundle, 
on face of the wrinkled worn-out dress,
they seem still to flourish as daisies chase 
anemones in a dance round the hem –

Yet, as I observe this circle of flowers, 
all I can see is the hollow heart of a wreath -


III.

Childhood lives in the moment. 
Quite oblivious of itself it’s snatched 
by adults who store it in drawers of memory.
This is how the adulteration of childhood begins.

Childhood lives in the moment,
and the moment is quick to go.

Unable ever to retrieve it. 
you may get only glimpses from a distance.
Like a painting, which in order to observe well 
one must take a few steps back –

You attempt clinging to it by your stare, 
but it eludes you. As a child who 
skips backwards while still facing you, 
it continues to retreat getting smaller and
smaller until it completely disappears - 

As if it were some alley 
in one of Utrillo’s paintings –


IV.

Though childhood exists no more, 
the sensation thereof stays.
A sensation of nonstop anticipation.

One eagerly expects something. 
Then it comes and goes leaving
the anticipation behind, 
like a lingering scent 
after its carrier has passed.

Though childhood exists no more, 
the sensation thereof stays.
For something must remain -

Say, an unquenched yearning
an indestructible pain -