Day 16. My annual National Poetry Month 2021 ekphrastic challenge is a collaboration between artists John Law, Kerfe Roig, Jane Cornwell, and writers Ankh Spice, Jane Dougherty, Redcat, Jayaprakash Satyamurthy, Simon Williams, Susan Richardson, Tim Fellows, Anjum Wasim Dar, Tony Walker, Merril D Smith, and me. April 16th

Day 16

KR16_ inner truth_wombwell

Inner Truth

-Kerfe Roig

JL16 Autumn Fruit

Autumn Fruit

-John Law

JC16

-Jane Cornwell

Autumn feast – A Sonnet

Riot of fall colours, fall sweets
Blackberries, blueberries I see
Sweet berries my love likes to eat
Chestnuts falling from the big tree

The shiny apples makes you smile
The last tomatoes makes you purr
The blackthorn we leave for awhile
Until the frost makes them sweeter

What a bountiful autumn eve
Careful love, with the rose hip stalks
The rowan-berry we best leave
To the blackbirds and the red fox

He deserves a very tart snack
We’ll not get granny wood mouse back

-©RedCat

Gorky Park, 1999


The ferris wheel spoke in rust
and flakes of twilight. Snared by the hooks
of our own hackles, we turned and turned,
giddied by the dangerous and squeaky wheel
of the wrong hemisphere. The envelope that held
our reserves was long torn at the corner and that moon,
that ripped Russian moon, spilled its dust. It settled everywhere
and changed nothing. There’s a point at which you’re so far away
from home you may as well be walking the beams
in space, and when the strut broke we were astronauts
just for a second, weightless. You, my shooting star,
trailing glitter and the tether that never truly tied you
to anything at all, snapped at long last. When our bodies
left the ride, what had trembled inside them
remained in orbit. Don’t be afraid. It was nothing
anyone needs to keep safe.

-Ankh Spice

Inner and outer truths
Inspired by Inner Truth by Kerfe Roig and Autumn Fruit by John Law

Why are our truths inner,
veiled in fakery, dug deep down
among leaf-drifts and mineshafts,
wrapped in silver and shot into space?

Faces make masks of themselves,
hide behind pseudos and avatars,
hurt and run.

The inner me
is the one I keep for best,
the one I will set in the balance
against my inertia.

Blackbird’s truths
hang in red clusters from bright branches,
drop jewels into green caskets,
spread pinioned truths across the sky

that hides nothing.

The night opens into a sea of light,
bright as day, beach-sand brilliant.

I pluck a red truth,
let the juice run
like sap
through my veins.

-Jane Dougherty

孤独な月 (a solo renga)

Solitary moon
smoothly phased the passing time
as our seasons turned.

Starlight, forged in distant fire,
cannot reach this room, this life,
or her hand, cold to my touch.

Autumn fruits have come;
rain-filled, juice-drenched, succulent.
They quickly perish.

Bloodless fingers hold a wreath
in winter white. Graveyard gates
are covered in uncaring frost.

Grasses grow, trees bend
in the gales of spring, tides ebb
and flow, rocks erode.

The sun seeks my skin, summer
will not come this year. I shun
its warmth, reject its healing.

Do not wait for me.
Beyond moon and furthest stars.
I will never come.

-Tim Fellows

Inspired by Autumn Fruit by John Law

Autumn fruit, year’s late gift
Here in my land, a feast after the
Rains have swept away summer and
Before what we have of winter
Takes its place in the turning scene

Chikoo, brown and dry on the outside
Plucked from the tree in my first school
Inside the flesh is lushly sweet, the seeds
Large, black, shining like the joy
The fruit brings, on the tongue, on
Sticky fingers and dripping lips

Rashbari, small orange gemstones
Bought from a lady from a village
Her tanned skin and lined face
Bringing the fields and orchards to the city
Break the outer layer and taste the skin
So tart on the tongue – delicious shudder
Citrus jab, small, deft messenger
Keeping summer alive in form and flavour

Guava, staple from the street-vendor’s basket
Yellow and sweet and soft
With little chewy seeds, grit among the pulp
Or green and chewy and tart
Sliced and served with red chilly powder
Bought and eaten on the way home from school

Humble fruit, familiar since childhood
Best plucked straight from the stalk
Or, since we citied be,
Bought on the roadside, from a cart
Or carried in a basket, or spread out on a sheet
In a mandi or bazaar, never

Picked from the freezer drawers
Of some food court or mega mall
Where the season is always air-conditional
And the fruits are torn from their places
On the year’s wheel.

-Jayaprakash Satyamurphy

The Cosy Mystery of Death

(Inspired by Jane Cornwell’s 16th Painting)

In one PBS documentary
Hemingway cleans his barrels.
I hear it. Wait for the gunshot.
Laziness rolls out its hand
as if instead of thinking
about death, it does release the dice.
I tilt my head. My soul’s dust jacket
is half torn; the ebony binding shows.

-Kushal Poddar

Inspired by all three works of art

She Is

In the spindrift of stars,
she’s felled, stayed by strands
silvered in the night

she circles in cycles of moon phases,
phrases repeat in her mind, bridging seen
and unseen worlds,

the doors that might open—if—
in the tides of sea and blood—there is life
flowering,

in her womb, in the earth,
the repeating petalled patterns,
the roundness of berry and belly,

the strength of limbs, rooted
to the earth, while reaching for the sky,
seeking light

she howls as it fills her. God, human,
something in-between? This is the truth—
she is what she is, and what she has always been.

She circles in cycles. Repeats.
Ever and always. She waits.

-Merril D Smith

Inner Truth, Outer Fiction

There is a mirror on the wall,
            reflecting what we show to all.
But locked away by personalities gate,
            beyond river, sea, protective lake.
Secured in boxes behind a fence
            ideas, memories, secrets, pense.
Our true being lies there protected
            green and pure and un-affected.
Out from darkness into light
            projecting gibbous a weakness might
escape through cracks up to the fore
            revealing, good bad self and all.
In phases, wax and wane we must
            the truth will out, it always does.

-Tony Walker

The Gate

painted black iron with scrolls, is an arm
flung down on the floor as if its owner
has died after coming to fatal harm
who waits at another gated border.

We wait at the gate of a person’s eyes.
We wait at the gate of a person’s mouth.
Sunset is a gate closing, it opens at sunrise.
Bites into Autumn fruits, gates that arouse.

Flung arm owner opened a way they did
not expect, a way to the stars at night.
Bit into poisoned fruit, a life ended.
Waits at another gate to dark or light.

Lips are a border breath passes over.
Imagination is thresholds crosser.

-Paul Brookes

Bios and Links

-John Law

“Am 68. Live in Mexborough. Retired teacher. Artist; musician; poet. Recently included in ‘Viral Verses’ poetry volume. Married. 2 kids; 3 grandkids.”

-Jane Cornwell

likes drawing and painting children, animals, landscapes and food. She specialises in watercolour, mixed media, coloured pencil, lino cut and print, textile design. Jane can help you out with adobe indesign for your layout needs, photoshop and adobe illustrator. She graduated with a ba(hons) design from Glasgow School of art, age 20.

She has exhibited with the rsw at the national gallery of scotland, SSA, Knock Castle Gallery, Glasgow Group, Paisley Art Institute, MacMillan Exhibition at Bonhams, Edinburgh, The House For An Art Lover, Pittenweem Arts Festival, Compass Gallery, The Revive Show, East Linton Art Exhibition and Strathkelvin Annual Art Exhibition.

Her website is: https://www.janecornwell.co.uk/

-Kerfe Roig

A resident of New York City, Kerfe Roig enjoys transforming words and images into something new.  Her poetry and art have been featured online by Right Hand Pointing, Silver Birch Press, Yellow Chair Review, The song is…, Pure Haiku, Visual Verse, The Light Ekphrastic, Scribe Base, The Zen Space, and The Wild Word, and published in Ella@100, Incandescent Mind, Pea River Journal, Fiction International: Fool, Noctua Review, The Raw Art Review, and several Nature Inspired anthologies. Follow her explorations on her blogs, https://methodtwomadness.wordpress.com/  (which she does with her friend Nina), and https://kblog.blog/, and see more of her work on her website http://kerferoig.com/

-Tim Fellows

 is a poet and writer from Chesterfield whose poetry is heavily influenced by his background in the Derbyshire coalfields – family, mining, politics, and that mix of industry and countryside that so many mining areas had. People can email me at timothyjfellows@gmail.com for a copy of the pamphlet or visit http://timfellows13.blogspot.com for recent poems

-Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

is a writer based in Bangalore, India. His books include the novella Strength Of Water (2019) and the poetry collection Broken Cup (2020). He used to write horror, but now it’s anyone’s guess. 

-Anjum Wasim Dar

Born in Srinagar (Indian Occupied )Kashmir,Migrant Pakistani.Educated at St Anne’s Presentation Convent Rawalpindi. MA in English MA in History ( Ancient Indo-Pak Elective) CPE Cert.of Proficiency in English Cambridge UK. -Dip.TEFL AIOU Open Uni. Islamabad Pakistan.Writing poems articles and stories since 1980.Published Poet.Awarded Poet of Merit Bronze Medal 2000 USA .Worked as Creative Writer Teacher Trainer. Educational Consultant by Profession.Published http://Poet.Author of 3 Adventure Novels (Series) 7 Times Winner NANOWRIMO 2011- 2019.

-Jane Dougherty

writes novels, short stories and lots of poems. Among her publications is her first chapbook of poetry, thicker than water. She is also a regular contributor to Visual Verse and the Ekphrastic Review. You can find her on twitter @MJDougherty33 and on her blog https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/

-Redcat

RedCat’s love for music and dance sings clearly in The Poet’s Symphony (Raw Earth Ink, 2020). Passion for rhythms and rhymes, syllabic feets and metres. All born out of childhood and adolescence spent reading, singing, dancing and acting.

Her writing spans love, life, mythology, environment, depression and surviving trauma.

Originally from the deep woods, this fiery redhead now makes home in Stockholm, Sweden, where you might normally run into her dancing the night away in one of the city’s techno clubs.

Read more at redcat.wordpress.com

-Merril D Smith

is a historian and poet. She lives in southern New Jersey, where she is inspired by her walks along the Delaware River. She’s the author of several books on history, gender, and sexuality. Her poetry has been published in journals and anthologies, including Black Bough Poetry, Nightingale and Sparrow, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Fevers of the Mind.

-Tony Walker

By day Tony climbs the greasy pole of clinical hierarchy. Not yet at the top but high enough to feel the pole sway and have his grip challenged by the envious wind of achievement. Looking down on the pates and gazes of his own history, at times he feels dizzy with lonely pride. By night he takes solace, swapping scalpel for scripts and begins his training and climbing again, in the creative world of writing. His writing is an attempt to unify the twenty-four hours. @surgicalscribe seeks to connect the clinical and creative arts of surgery, science and writing. Hoping to do for medicine and surgery through creative writing what Prof Cox has done for physics with television.

So, he practices his art.

-Ankh Spice

 is a sea-obsessed poet from Aotearoa. His work has been widely published internationally, in print and online, and has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He’s a co-editor at Ice Floe Press and a poetry contributing editor at Barren Magazine. You’ll find him and a lot of sea photography on Twitter @SeaGoatScreams or on Facebook @AnkhSpiceSeaGoatScreamsPoetry.

-Simon Williams

lives and works in Edinburgh, where running clears his head and creates space for ideas. He publishes short stories and poems on www.simonsalento.com

Paul Brookes

Paul is a shop assistant, who lives in a cat house full of teddy bears. His first play was performed at The Gulbenkian Theatre, Hull.  His chapbooks include The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley, (Dearne Community Arts, 1993). The Headpoke and Firewedding (Alien Buddha Press, 2017), A World Where and She Needs That Edge (Nixes Mate Press, 2017, 2018) The Spermbot Blues (OpPRESS, 2017), Port Of Souls (Alien Buddha Press, 2018), Please Take Change (Cyberwit.net, 2018), Stubborn Sod, with Marcel Herms  (artist) (Alien Buddha Press, 2019), As Folk Over Yonder ( Afterworld Books, 2019). Forthcoming Khoshhali with Hiva Moazed (artist), Our Ghost’s Holiday (Final book of threesome “A Pagan’s Year”) . He is a contributing writer of Literati Magazine and Editor of Wombwell Rainbow Interviews. Had work broadcast on BBC Radio 3 The Verb and videos of his Self Isolation sonnet sequence featured by Barnsley Museums and Hear My Voice Barnsley. He also does photography commissions and his family history articles have appeared in The Liverpool Family History magazine.

4 thoughts on “Day 16. My annual National Poetry Month 2021 ekphrastic challenge is a collaboration between artists John Law, Kerfe Roig, Jane Cornwell, and writers Ankh Spice, Jane Dougherty, Redcat, Jayaprakash Satyamurthy, Simon Williams, Susan Richardson, Tim Fellows, Anjum Wasim Dar, Tony Walker, Merril D Smith, and me. April 16th

  1. Pingback: April poetry challenge day 16 – Jane Dougherty Writes

  2. Pingback: She Is: Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 16 – Yesterday and today: Merril's historical musings

  3. Pingback: Autumn feast – A Sonnet, April Ekphrastic Challenge – The world according to RedCat

  4. Pingback: NaPoWriMo Day 16 – Zouxzoux

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