On this page: poems by Leonie Ewing, Leland James, Larry Lekowitz, Khalid Khan, Jeff Seffinga, Kenneth Pobo, Katherine Gordon, John B. Lee, Hugh Fox, Irene Mitchell, Herb Siegel, Grace Atuhaire, Gilbert Herbert, Donna Langevin, Ed Coletti, Esther Lixenberg Bloch, Gary Lehmann, Deepa Kylasam Iyer
Leonie Ewing is a retired biologist and farmer now living in rural Dumfries and Galloway in the South West of Scotland. She has recently taken up writing and is an active member of a local writers' group. She enjoys writing poetry, prose and drama for performance and has a special interest in introducing scientific ideas into her work. Some of her poetry is now published.
A baton cuts the air and the notes obey.
Strings expose the theme, the music flows.
Woodwinds ruffle the surface, base currents
emerge from the depths, lines of sound
merge and part, a braided stream.
Forces gather under firm hands, build up
a united front, a standing wave of sound.
A storm rages, tossing brassy notes
over the rolling thunder of drums.
Cymbals clash, a wave breaks
in a silver spray of flutes.
After the storm silence takes her turn.
Out of the silence a clarinet calls
leading them to calm waters.
On the ebb and flow of the beat
each strand emerges intact
finding the familiar landscape
under the arch of the opening theme.
Brandenburg No 2 - Transformations
Transformed by the orchestral mind
symbols fly off the staves,
enter our collective consciousness
as measured waves of sound.
Naked joy escapes from the score.
We feel it, we share it as it hovers
above precarious, audacious trumpets
and busy, throbbing strings.
Time’s arrow has vanished.
Moving contrapuntal strands
connect us to the composer.
The true passion that is his,
arising in the circuits of his brain,
mysteriously lives on in ours.
From A John Cage Prepared Piano
I was not prepared for this indignity-
screws, bolts and bits of wood
forced between my strings.
I was stifled, my vibrations docked.
I could not cope with the uncertainty,
the random notes and sudden stops.
I was a Steinway grand piano once
but now I’ve been prepared,
know I’m special in a Zen way.
My voice is changed. I am a bell.
I am a drum. I let myself be played
without purpose, rules or preconceptions.
Leland James was a recent winner of the Portland Pen Poetry Contest and the Writers’ Forum Short Poem contest. He was runner up for the Fish International Poetry Prize and received the Franklin-Chistoph Merit Award for poetry. His work has placed in several other competitions including The South Carolina Review, New Millennium Writers, Tom Howard, St. Louis Writer’s Guild, and By Line. His work has appeared in publications in the US, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, and Israel including The South Carolina Review, New Millennium Writers, Orbis, The Umbrella, Thirty First Bird Review, Magma, Voices of Israel ,Cyclamens and Swords.
Squirt Gun Lick
Mephisto licorice stick:
Hot summer afternoon.
Skylark Cain and Abel,
Goof and I:
Snake eyed dice.
Wailing at the purple blood:
“Oh, Tommy, you have shot me
Dead when Mother sees, and I
Caesar never fell upon the stage
Devil take me.
Mother Goose Jumps.
on a telephone wire above the ripe strawberries singing
frogs in camouflage
sing armies of them
of turning into princes
Only a trumpet
and the human heart
can stretch a note to breaking
Crazy Ike at Carnegie Hall
It was a main stream rhythm, but it paid the monkey well.
It was the hokey pokey, but he say, “Aw, what da hell.”
It was the mumbo-jumbo, but it paid that monkey well:
He say, “Only one thing I know, dis what sell.”
Mumbo-jumbo, Hoka-poka, cloaked so well.
Okie Dokie, hokey pokey, they can’t tell.
It was a main stream rhythm, but he say, “Aw, what da hell.”
It was a main stream rhythm but it paid that monkey well.
One more time—
It was a main stream rhythm but it paid that monkey well…
O o o o o o o o o o o o o o
O o o o o o o o o o o o o o
O o o o o o o o o o o o o o
O o o o o o o o o o o
O o o o o o o o o o o
O o o o o o o o o o o
O o o o o o o o o o o o o o
O o o o o o o o o o o o o o
O o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Larry Lefkowitz was born in Trenton, NJ, USA, 1937 and immigrated to Israel in 1972. He is married with 2 children and a grandchild. He has contributed to Voices Israel anthologies over the years. His stories, poems, and humor have appeared in publications in the US, Israel and Britain. His stories in Hebrew have been published in various literary magazines.
string quartet no. 8 for intifada
a concert at the university
our soldiers are fighting
lyrical with inclusions
almost screeching (trajectory of shells)
occasional deep staccato (machine guns)
interspersed with heavy
staccato (tank fire)
program note as coda:
when the cannons roar
the muses are sometimes
Khalid Khan was born in Rangoon, Burma the land of the golden pagodas. After the Army takeover in Burma in 1962 he decided to leave Burma and lived in Iran, England and finally settled in Karachi, Pakistan. He has written more than 5000 poems on almost every subject under the sun from science to love and philosophy to humor in lyrical style as well as free verse. He has 4 books of poetry, two published in UK and one novel ‘Where the Irrawaddy Flows’ about Burma and India published by Cromwell Publishers of London.
The Passing Word
I live among the flowers
I am the passing word of breeze
from one leaf to another.
They know me from Adam
they see me picking berries
running as a boy across fields,
they see me climbing trees
and diving into streams
with my friends and colleagues.
When laughter echoes at night,
when it seems two hills collide,
I pay penalty for my sins,
I kiss each and every flower,
I touch, taste, inhale their scent,
they stare at me in amazement,
I know where they hide nectar,
why they crumble into dust
when do I kiss them and hug,
we grew up from the same earth,
we belong to the same land,
we face the same wind and storm,
together we get soaked in rain,
we face full fury of the sun,
I know where to hide in the wild,
when I am gone they’ll cry for me
and wait for boys of my age
who might act just the same,
I talk to fireflies and honeybees
and enjoy fruits of the season,
they like me for some reason.
In Karnataka dancing girls wear
colourful saris, bangles clanging
noisily with each motion
to entertain visitors from abroad,
with classical exhibition of art
particular to Subcontinent.
Hands move in unison
with feet thumping on the floor,
face expresses joy and sorrow,
peace and anger, love and hate,
fury and passion, without uttering
a word of a dialect.
Yet the audience understands
and gets the message of
friendship and tolerance.
Art and music cross barriers
between men and nations
for peace and co-operation.
Jeff Seffinga was born in the Netherlands but came to Canada as a young boy. He has been writing poetry since the mid-1960s. Over the years he has published nine collections of his work with different publishers, been included in a number of anthologies, and won several prizes for his poetry. He once operated his own publishing company and recently worked as the editor for Serengeti Press. He is editor-in-chief of Tower Poetry, the biannual publication from the Tower Poetry Society, and administrates the Acorn-Plantos Award for People's Poetry, an annual book award. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Cold Sunday on the Eramosa Karst
We have come to feel its small wonders,
to dance our minds to the land’s old hums.
Uninvited, that bitter winter sun came by,
partnered with a steel wind stone-honed
to scythe the stately dance or slap the steppers.
The undesired intrude into introductions,
make demands that should remain unasked.
Chill light and thin air battle our breaths,
chip at our fingertips.
But the music we hear will not be silenced.
Land and brush crunch whispered greetings
to the feet on the path, encourage our every
slow movements from here to there.
Movement from here to there.
Here the water slips sinking into disappearance,
in a hole blacker than space, and there
reappears in several spots bubbling
to gather together and sing a new way
through crumbling stone.
Like old fiddle tunes familiar ways reach
through the cold to the knowing heart,
the remembering feet, the undefiled faces.
At the end the comfort inside of cider heat
and our hearts’ hot desires hold close
songs of knowledge to the tunes of wisdom.
opportunity a fixture
sitting on the floor
guitar keyboards electronic percussion
complex meditative ideas
live layers and counterpoint
interpretive experimental looping
expand into more complicated
mesmerizing pieces of sound
swirling sounds everchanging
forever proclaiming the mantra
every pair of ears deserves
its own mind
in her sleep Janet
my finger on her navel
changing the flute’s note
the simple notes
from this instrument
we need your voice
my fiddle and I
Ken Pobo has a new online chapbook called Fitting Parts out from Philistine Press (www.philistinepress.com). He won Main Street Rag’s 2009 chapbook contest for his chap called Trina and the Sky. They published it in December 2009.
Dindi, on stage in Eagle River, Wwisconsin,
Sings “Palisades Park”
I get few out-of-state gigs,
but Wisconsin is like a good neighbor.
I won’t drive there at night—
black sky and heavy trees, like being
in a stuck elevator. On stage,
I’m someone I don’t know: brassy,
sassy, and quick with jokes. I rarely
sing what doesn’t move me, so tonight
I’ve added “Palisades Park”
to my set list. Freddy Boom Boom Cannon,
where are you? Where am I?
In the Snowmobile Capital of the World,
according to the sign. I never went
to Palisades Park, but my grandparents,
who lived in Addison, Illinois,
often took me to Adventureland. My life
is a tilt-a-whirl ride—unseen pressures
pin me against a wall. I spin and spin,
stay upright. The one time I rode
their roller coaster I puked. Speeding curves,
bends, spills—I avoid that much reality. So
I sing about the joys of “Palisades Park,”
closed September 12, 1971,
on a firm stage—I tuck applause in my pocket,
savor it back home in Escanaba.
The New Colony Six
It’s Christmas 1967 and I unwrap Colonization
by the New Colony Six. It’s Christmas
2009 and I play Colonization
while Stan puts in eBay bids. Decades
weigh much less than these light songs
I know by heart. Even as I clean
the litter box I’m warbling
“Love You So Much”—oh,
to be optimistic like that
again. My beard is like today’s lawn—
snow patches deepen. Music,
the older brother I didn’t have,
who kept the other boys from
beating me up. While teachers insisted
that diagramming a sentence
was next to godliness,
I’d hum “Treat her Groovy” or
“Can’t You See Me Cry.” Stan creaks
down the stairs. Another year
walks up the street. Here
in a very dark time, I hold these same
songs, know they’ll hold me too,
a hand when lost.
The music of sea birds,
no need to hear it.
Dig deeper. When
oil drowns out the music
for keeps, you won’t
be missing anything—
coins are your song,
the only one you know,
a melody without
the sound of a pelican
or an ibis. Your song
is so loud we hear it
all over the world,
every second, even
as bird carcasses blacken
the shore and dead
Note To Ethel Merman
Ethel, everything may be coming
up roses, but remember
that roses have thorns
to poke your eye out,
and they draw Japanese beetles
eating small holes in petals,
turning stem into desert,
and they often get black spot,
can defoliate completely.
My gym buddy says,
“Roses will break your heart.”
If everything is coming
up roses, prepare for the worst.
Katherine L. Gordon
Katherine L. Gordon lives to write in a secluded river valley where the wild cycles of nature inform her work. She is an author, editor, publisher and reviewer, with award winning poetry published in many languages including Chinese and Hindi. She has two full collections with her third Translating Shadows is currently being launched by Craigleigh Press. Myth Weavers, her book of Canadian Myths and Legends, was released by Serengeti Press in April 2007. Katherine is a literary critic and a mentor to young writers. She believes that poetry is the bond cementing cultures and an antidote to an increasingly impersonal world.
A gryphon came in the moon of night
wherever he trod light sprouted,
I awoke to see the puddles of melt
heard shouts of birds
finding their spring voices.
Lips pursed with winter
parted and sang,
as this elixir of life - green sap-
opened every vein,
tidal-waved over the dark wells of truth.
Live-forever drummed the dance
as we circled
in the promised land of light.
In a napful bed
I lie and listen
to snow accreting
silence of birds abandoning,
see a flash of foot
from the summer world
tear through the skin of this plane
parallel dancing around the room,
remember I am circling a star
tethering the moon
here on a cosmic whim
with periphery promises.
Singing the Sun
secrets of life spilled onto stone
manger words, castle spells
chanted into flickering fires,
Stephen's logs delivered,
heat and light begin ascent
through clutching, angry dark,
linger longer on grey-dark earth,
tree-fists open a little
shake off the season.
Longer light surprises
heralds quiet knowledge
that we have sung the sun
with all our rosy wreaths
and love exchanged.
The Tenor Sings Summer
Summer is a gallant
on a weather-horse
his sword a beam of light
to wake the dead.
Maids lean on brooms
loosen their hair,
try to hear the fortune-teller wind
tell of trysts of flowers
and the one who will lead them
into apple-tree bowers.
Red dust sings in the blood,
miles of star-slivered space
netting us back
as salmon in a fiery sea
floundering in little tin ships
to find our beginnings,
in dried red beds. Our loneliness keen
as the genocide of Earth
inflames the obsession
to rejoin anything of source,
lost beauty and meaning
the anthem we need
John B. Lee
John B. Lee's work has appeared internationally in over 500 publications. He has over 60 prestigious awards to his credit including being the only two-time winner of the People's Poetry Award and winner of the prestigious $10,000 Candian Literary Award for poetry (CBC Radio/Saturday Night Magazine). He has over 40 books in print. A recipient of letters of praise from both Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, he was made Poet Laureate of Brantford in perpetuity in 2005.
Like the Church of the Sea — L’ario de la Eglasía del Mar
for Kim and Tai
fixed in stone
by the shores of the sea
near the road between los Corales
and Santiago de Cuba
there are tubes
that blow and flute
and pipe and flume
with the waves
they spray and spume and sing
with the wet breath
of the coming on
of the clash and break
crescendo of the tide, the glassy
rise and fall and ebb
of the water music of the moon
the natural calliope
of spirit whales and eidelons of dolphins
calling us to shore
the sirens of these Caribbean
airs, the man-made
choral, the chorus
in the green cathedral of this
wind and foam
then sings a song of time
to thrill the soul
we marvel at the variable voices
of the surf
to make us wish we were
the maestro with his wand
who taps his stand and waits to lead
at the goat-trail’s end
the orchestral roar
that sumps and curls
in caves below
these seven notes
that pitch and fan their misty vocals
with a sacred joy
Hugh Fox has 105 books published, mostly poetry. His most recent poetry book is The Collected Poetry of Hugh Fox, 540 pages, just out from World Audience. The next one to appear in La Paix/Peace from Higganum Hill Press. Born in Chicago, B.A. and M.A. from Loyola U., Ph.D. in American Lit from U. of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Has taught for years in Venezuela, Mexico, Brazil, etc., married to Peruvian Lucia Ungaro de Sevallos for years, now married to Brazilian Maria Bernadete Costa.
Listening scrupulously, fanatically, hypnotically
to Liu moving through Chopin’s Ballad # 4
and my hands slowly moving to my mind
keyboard, not to just play Chopin but creating
my own bass chords and right-hand running all
over the keys, creating my own forested esker,
white chiffon rapiding river-world, you didn’t expect
this to be happening 264 years after your death,
did you, Frédéric / Fryderyk, did you, at the Michigan
State (“What?”) Music
a 24 year old
Telling Mozart’s youngest son, Franz Xavier
Wolfgang, on his deathbed “Come with me
back to Michigan, you’re only fifty-three and
in another eleven years, eighteen fifty-five,
they’re going to start the Agricultural College
of the State of Michigan, well, Michigan State
University now, great music department, all kinds
of Russians and Germans, and you’ll love the
rivers and forests, a lot like the Ukraine...,”
tuning in on his brain, reading brains, ever since
I became a time-travel esprit, he’s writing his
Grande Sonata Opus 19 in E Major, cello easy
but the piano a regular finger-breaker, esprit-
telling him “Besser als seine Vater/ Better than
Your Father, “Aber wo kann Ich finden ein
Klavierist....?,” “Die Damen von Korea en
MSU.../The Korean women at MSU...,”
“Die Korken von..?,” / The corks from...?,”
and suddenly the brain-wave river waterfalls
into splash-roars, then windless desert silence.
Since age five, violin, and P. Marinus Paulson just
happened to be a composer too, “Here, let me
show you about chords and keys on the piano,
treble melodies and bass bangadybangs...,” from
New York, but he’d spent thirty years in London,
wore a long winter cape, carried a huge wooden
cane, a huge eighteenth centuryish Shropshire
countryside hat, and then my mother discovered
Zerlina Muhlman Metzger and The All Children’s
Grand Opera, and when the met came to Chicago
they didn’t bring kids so we sang the kid-choruses
in CARMEN, BORIS, you name it...age 10...the
Civic Opera House....now age 80, living three
blocks from a university music department run by
Russians mainly, concerts every night, mostly
Chinese, for BMP’s, MMP’s, DMP’s, immersed
in Chopin and Brahms, Schumann, Bach, cellos
and pianos, singers, percussionists, you wonder
why I can’t sleep, WKAR on behind me all day
as I computer-it, non-stop music-travelling, time
for silence, peace, as if I hadn’t been dreaming all
Shostakoviching into permanent depression,
mid-chains and stone cupboard prisons,
one gigantic uniformed unification non-stop
voice that turns all allegrettos into gravesides.
Irene Mitchell is the author of Sea Wind on the White Pillow (New York, Axes Mundi Press, 2009). She has taught writing in New York and now conducts an ongoing series of seminars on how to write better poetry. She was the first poetry editor of Hudson River Art magazine, has published poems in literary reviews and journals in the U.S. and England, and has been featured reader of her work at various regional venues. A selection of her poems was set to music for piano and voice by composer Dallas Cline in an art-song cycle, Past All Doors, which had its recorded debut in Stuyvesant, New York
in the company of music.
A cello will subdue
the scorpion's beating heart
Like a rinse applied, bow takes to string
no place can hide quicksilver.
Only three beats away from harmony
what deception is there in a quaver?
Pushing forward, holding back,
tempo is seductive.
A suite of airs in chamber played
will wantonly subdue
as they pursue
the cello's beating heart
Bix Beiderbecke, Where Are You?" He died of everything. (1903-1931)
I sat by the rushes
where in dewy silence floated
lilies pink as evening sky
Nearby I might have heard
its moaning mute against the bell,
the tone tonight, a luster
of intervals and swelling triplets
in one bar of Jazz Me Blues
Last night Bix cued for In a Mist
as I was afield and peering.
There were ferns in steely glade,
the splash of rain.
Of all the notes the trumpet dares,
more brazen are the hits and blots
of troubling thoughts
damned to last the night.
Despite some harmonious elements
that wish to intrude,
the air is not melodic; blue notes
lack a riff.
Not till tenor sax breaks in with a lick
does sense awaken.
Herb Siegel was a CEO of major public companies, and the recipient of many professional certifications, awards, and articles. He holds a Ph.D. in International Law from Columbia. In between, he assembled a collection of poems titled, “Life Through My Glasses,” an eclectic collection of personal experiences and many universal observations that educate, challenge, and entertain usually ending with a touch of sardonic humor. In 2009 he was named Poet Laureate of New York, and awarded the Ellen LeForge Foundation Poetry Award.
Listen For The Music Of A Painting
Who has not dreamt about poetic prose
without rhyme, or music lacking rhythm
yet adapting to lyrics we compose
inspired by echoes of work and wisdom?
Their words and notes throb harmless and hollow
how then to hear the breath of masters gone
when their artworks viewed in silence bellow
instant visions, captured with canvas crayon?
This aged art is made to last a life,
an atavism links it to all time,
Immortal brush strokes alive from their strife
infuses viewers with a Master’s rhyme.
And if you stop and look, listen and hear,
their whole harmonics flow to eye and ear.
Grace Atuhaire, 21, is a female poet in Uganda. She is a member of Uganda Women Writers Association and the Larteen meet of poets.
Grace volunteers teaching poetry at Bavubuka foundation. She writes poetry of different genres and age groups. Her poems have been published in anthologies both in Uganda, Canada and California.
The Blue Bellies
Fresh as a melon
Tickling each other
at the sound of
The sun is up
The two gang up
as water sparkles
on their bodies
"It's my turn"
They shout in turns
Like music in my ear
I watch in delight
These little ones
are my neighbor's daughters.
In The Ring
I dare you
To come and take me down
Make me loose my breath
I dare you
To come and knock me out
Take my honor to you
The lights out!
Terror music on!
My heart beat no more
I can't take down
I am crippled
My honor no more!
Gilbert Herbert, D.Litt et Phil, D.Arch (hon). Born South Africa 1924, made aliyah with wife and children in 1968. Professor Emeritus, Technion. Architect and historian, author of nine books, many contributions to collected writings, and numerous articles, all on academic themes. Also writes for pleasure, usually collections of essays privately distributed, of poetry and sketches; political commentaries; and personal and family memoirs.
Occasional indulgences: painting and sketching, writing poetry, genealogy, music.
Awaiting Armageddon: a poem for voice and music
… soft taps on the drum
The air gently
stirs, and riffs
the petalled face
of the rose.
... a trilling of flutes
The rising breeze
disturbs the heavy blooms,
an unseen choreographer
moving them in fragrant dance.
…swelling cadences of strings
The wind recoils upon itself,
gathers strength, blusters across the fields,
buffeting the crops, compelling them to bend
to earth, in mute and trembling obeisance.
… crescendo of insistent brass
The scudding clouds compact in heavy-laden mass,
birds wheel and cry, frightened silver flashes on the grey;
an awesome pause, a last despairing glimpse of sun retreating,
as marauding wind, a snarling, clawing beast, comes raging forth.
… harsh clashing of cymbals
Tenacious roots are plucked from soil, boughs crack and sever from the trunk,
bruised sky turns black, fire and fury flood down upon the chastised earth,
the lion cowers, the flocks and herds all flee in fear the orchestrated wrath,
the shriek of fife, trumpet’s brazen blast, booming crescendo of rolling drums
… a cannonade of drums!
Is this the dreaded tempest then, the fearful end of days,
shall we tremble as we await the last judgemental act?
Far better to confront the evil incarnate in the storm
and armed in righteousness, stand upright, unafraid.
Donna Langevin lives in Toronto. Her poems have been published in numerous journals in Canada and the USA. Her books of poetry include The Second Language of Birds, Hidden Brook Press, 2005 and In the Café du Monde, Hidden Brook Press, 2008. Her chapbooks include Songbirds of the Hours, Fooliar Press, and The Middle-aged Man in the Sea, Lyrical Miracle Press, 2009. She won first prize in the Cyclamens and Swords poetry contest in 2009.
Sostenuto* for James
My son has composed an angel
She is a steady soul
strong as six single notes
chanted over and over
The angel is always there, he believes
She won’t fly off
with the dragonflies
bluebirds and bees
humming in harmony
above her plainsong motif
She won’t drift off
like dandelion fluff
and green keys from the oaks
on melody wisps
as if they would land in the clouds
or grow roots in the ether
She won’t turn her back
when his troubles threaten
to send her to hell, or when he recklessly
knocks off her halo
and lets it roll into a ditch
The angel sings sostenuto
rising out of his past
but he refuses to give her
a name or face:
mother, grandmother, girlfriend
or even the Seraph of Music
Only one thing is certain:
This angel composes my son
with her song as soothing as grace
she lends him her wings
*a musical term meaning “sustained”
He touched us all
as beautifully as he touched
the keys of his piano.
Showing us the colours of music,
the chords and intervals of joy and pain,
he taught us how to play
adagio, moderato, or vivace
with the humor of scherzos,
the passion of great sonatas
and the courage of concertos.
For those of us less musical
he sang the phrases of life
and danced around his studio
to help us “feel the rhythm”
and listen to the humming
deep inside ourselves.
Now that Martin can no longer
coax and caress a keyboard
with his long sensitive fingers
or compose the scores
that well from his heart,
we will remember what he taught,
and for us, his love will linger
like an old familiar melody
we will never
Poet and Painter Ed Coletti graduated from Georgetown University and the Creative Writing Masters Program at San Francisco State University (under Robert Creeley). Coletti has published several volumes of poetry and recently has had work published in Big Bridge, divide (Univ. of Colorado), Lilliput Review, Italian Americana,) and the anthology of Italian-American poets (with Ferlighetti, DiPrima, et al) titled Avanti Popolo edited by James Tracy (Manic D Press). He is also publisher of Round Barn Press in Santa Rosa, California.
How’d you do it?
What’s your secret?
Where’d this come from?
On the shoreline of
Boats glide by,
King Oliver too.
You took it on faith
Those sounds from his trumpet
More than just sounds
Way above trumpet sound
You couldn’t afford
The price of a ticket
Nor could you imagine
Yourself on a boat.
You envisioned yourself
In each freedom’s 12-bar
You Louis different.
Created an art form
Expression from marble,
From straitjacketed torpor.
Today each beat and note
Flows sweetly from Armstrong,
You genius, you god
You perfect precursor!
Has anyone else fancied
piano keys the popping corks
loosing bubbles from
bottles of French champagne?
Bubbles neither rhyming nor
reasoning just arising and
rising pipping and popping.
That’s what Keith Jarrett
playing does for me, so
let’s applaud now that
Keith’s broken briefly and
the bass takes over till
those sparkling sprites rise once more,
then the drums and more
bubbles, drums, bass, a growl
and so many more pip-popping
little 'splodin' bubbles
with more corks
to hell with rain,
such music thrumming
tallest mast lines!
Sing ladies mateys
by clumsy kick
of another inebriated
horn piping moon!
Bossa nova cannonball
Piano lines take over
the ball rolling
cannon ball rolling
Rolling and bowling
right into bass
Esther Lixenberg Bloch
Esther Lixenberg-Bloch was born in London in 1952 and studied Textile Design and Fine Art at the Camberwell School of Art. In 1976 she immigrated to Israel. Esther has worked as a needlepoint and embroidery designer, taught art, dressmaking and fashion design, and has written poetry since childhood. Her poems have won honors in both the Reuben Rose and Miriam Lindberg poetry competitions. She has 4 children and 9 grandchildren.
Are we not breaking apart
the earth, again
finding dry bones
only, in vacuous seed-pods
a thousand melodies,
of the beginning?
If I rake by hand
between the prongs;
the same melodies
the same soil.
Notes Unimpeded for Yemima
Is it easier
to let the spirit grow
within walls unadorned
To let minds wander through
where notes, new-born,
are free to ponder
where to rise and arabesque
inside the emptiness?
For these walls wear
soft colour only,
muting their nakedness
with a tinge of cream.
Merely a tint hides the austerity:
But hear how the music slowly grows,
slowly expands to fill the vacuum,
tendrils of cadence and harmony
embellishing the spartan rooms,
sating with its volume
all that is not there.
It bounces off faces:
those of the children
and those of the guests,
as the recorder trills and fills
the stark surroundings.
And the children’s faces,
scrubbed and radiant,
Words In memory of Ehud Manor
He only wanted to write love songs
To rhyme his heart’s desires with sun and star,
To run barefoot and feel the sand grains trickle
Through magic hours bourne on dream-winds from afar.
He drank the music that spun out in summer evenings
Spun through orange-groves, perfuming air,
And on the porch, where dream-tunes billowed softly,
Decoded sounds and rhythms made to share.
When grief and loss might have eclipsed the music
The words he chose became a hymn to life;
And joy and yearning twined in words as simple
As tree and earth, or hope for child and wife.
And through the years, his mellow voice unfolded
Tales of carefree childhood and of home,
And kindled stars and unfurled shades and shadows-
Binding hearts with wingéd words
That soared skyward with the birds.
Brimmed with joy and sadness
He has flown.
Gary Lehmann has published three books of poetry in the course of which he has received two Pushcart Prize nominations. His essays, poetry and short stories are widely published – over 60 pieces per year. His new book, American Portraits is due to appear later this year from Foothills Publishing. Visit his blog at www.garylehmann.blogspot.com
An elderly man with a jaunty plaid hat and patterned tie and shirt,
got on the bus at the Marina where they were serving a Seniors luncheon.
He sat down next to a lady who seemed happy to see him. They certainly know how to lay out a fine spread, she said.
Leaning over anxious to talk with him, the lady was dressed in white,
elegant and fashionable in her ancient way.
She wore big spectacles and a scarf over her shoulder.
She laughed politely and easily at his little jokes.
They were clearly friends, maybe even lovers at one time,
cute together, obviously happy in each other’s company.
Are you doing any jobs right now? she asked. I just got back from Hong Kong, he replied,
finishing up some details on a new CD.
I’m happy I won’t have to go back. It’s a long flight.
The lady got off at Embarcadero with a discreet wave.
Another promptly took her seat and picked up the conversation.
What a beautiful thing is a sunny day
I arrived late for the college opera class’s end-of-the-year song fest.
Each student had a favorite aria to perform and
a youth from Mexico City stood forth to sing his favorite,
O Sole Mio.
He held his hands in front of him and, as the piano accompanist
set up the solo, the shoulders of the youth began to heave.
Suddenly it was not just a rhythmic sympathetic pacing
but something else altogether.
A stream of projectile vomit cascaded across red carpeting.
The piano player, not noticing, played on and,
after a somewhat awkward wiping of the mouth,
the Mexican opera aficionado belted out his song.
O Sole Mio --
What a beautiful thing is a sunny day,
The air is serene after a storm
The air's so fresh that it feels like a celebration
What a beautiful thing is a sunny day
-- to a standing ovation.
The Spirit of the Dead
In Don Giovanni, Mozart amazingly wrote
an operatic part to exorcize his dead father,
but the ghost haunted the composer to his grave.
For years the father led his son to the courts
of Europe to show off his talent, but
then Mozart married and broke away.
The shock killed the old man, but now,
the apparition of the dead father
has come back as a spirit from the dead.
He dogs the living composer on stage.
He drives him into a deep depression.
He comes to him in fitful sleep.
Can the dead drive the living?
They can if your name is Mozart,
and your father lives in operatic dreams.
Deepa Kylasam Iyer
Deepa Kylasam Iyer is a freelance writer and a published poet based in the beautiful town of Pondicherry on the southern coast of India. After graduating with a Gold Medal in Botany and Communicative English, she took up writing to bring the most beautiful stories from her India to a world audience. Being a polyglot she has written and published in English and Hindi and has won awards and accolades. Her first poem is going to be released in a book at the Birmingham Book Fair, October 2010 and she has been a finalist in the Voicesnet Poetry Contest for three consecutive times. She blogs at www.franciskuriakose.blogspot.com which has readership from over 120 countries and has been nominated for the best blog award.
The Emperor wished for the world
To be a single waking dream
In the land where sybarites ruled.
Akbar was a mad man!
Madmen always ruled the mighty empire
With a great panache.
So the sorcerer was brought in a royal palanquin,
His hands made love to
the needy strings of the Tambura.
He cried for all the broken hearts,
And caressed the callous hearts,
Akin to the body of a beautiful maiden
Clothed in six yards of a sari
That revealed more than what it
Intended to hide,
He told them ephemeral tales
In yarns of Bhairavi
And always sang the saddest songs
In Vihag at night.
Then one day, the Emperor so fickle
Asked him to burn his dream.
So the sorcerer sang Deepak
And set ablaze the land.
The conflagration with a careless sweep,
Charred the mythical Hindustan.
Four centuries later
There is no one to sing
Meghamalhar to wash away
Our burned shadows.
(The poem is based on the fabled singer Tansen in the court of the Mughal Emperor Akbar in the sixteenth century India. Tambura is a string instrument that accompanies any form of classical music in India. Bhairavi and Vihag are Ragas of the Indian Classical music. The rag Deepak sang by Tansen is said to have bought fire and the Rag Meghamalhar or the cloud bearer was sung to bring rains.)
I am a rapscallion.
The fiery wrath of Hell,
The sublime love of Heaven,
The taunts and jibes of my fellowmen
Have so far not touched me.
My work is my worship,
My conscience, my Bible
The patina of my sweat
For disbelieving a God
Who never showed his face,
Despite my anguish
When I pleaded my case,
I don’t think God detests me.
On a bitter winter morn,
When the mellifluous voice sang,
My dithyrambic rhapsody of life collapsed
In her counter melody.
Like a battered music box
Sitting on a mahogany sideboard,
I sat at the stairs outside the church.
A cappella and a young girl
Are all that you need
To make a defeated God divine.