Old Lady who’s homeless who goes into Spoons on an evening for a coffee
The lad was sad, so sad
Because vegetables was all he had
Grow on the sill to his tiny pad
He wished, oh how he wished
He had some coin for meat or fish
Something to make a filling dish
But his mind was set, firmly set
He would give something to the homeless old lady he’d met
She smiled like his nan and called him pet
So he gave her a salad to eat
Then offered his bed, so she wouldn’t sleep on the street
Don’t want to burden, she said, but thought him sweet, so sweet
If it takes you, I want it to be like this
whet-glass morning on the water.
What just split the old belly
of the clouds out there is a scalpel
as sharp and as silver as the one
tucked up asleep not yet knowing
your name. The well-honed sun knows you
and renames you as she has done
for thirty thousand mornings slipping
her needles of I am into the dark
tunnel of your eye, gate just creaking. We flare
back into ourselves each time we crack
the ark. Some days you might need a reminder
that isn’t about waking up, but is, and you see
that alchemy on the boardwalk usually
after rain. From the tight grey sheet spills
a streaming, sudden gout
of light. At the slice, all hunch untethers
from a spine, there’s a sharpening
of resolve. Someone pauses, bathed
in a squint of bright, then steps on quick
I am I am I am I am
not even knowing they’ve been cut.
If it takes you, I want it to be like this.
(Inspired by Jane Cornwell’s 22nd Painting)
The foggy street
scurries beneath their feet.
Two of them walking,
the daughter in cardigan
and pullover and jeans,
and her hands bunched in
and pendulating as one,
her father quivers,
an apparent apparition.
The morning looks for more people,
albeit this, a plague year,
the emptiness is full of people gone,
inverted hallucinations of those who live.
I know them. I must be one of them.
I call my daughter, “Holla. It is
okay to feel sad before the day reels.”
(inspired by JC22)
He was dressed every morning
in running shoes,
comfortable pants, a jacket
and his signature leather belt,
ushered to a breakfast he never ate,
set free to roam.
Most afternoons I knew
he could be found
pacing the halls,
searching for an escape hatch.
We walked together,
checking the same locked doors,
again and again,
looking for secret passageways.
He was notorious for setting off alarms.
The promise of ice cream
served as temporary distraction,
but he always returned to his search,
tracing footsteps through hallways
that never became familiar.
Every visit, he would ask me,
“when are we leaving?”.
I would tell him thirty minutes.
It was a lie I told him to keep him happy,
a lie that chipped away pieces of my heart.
He would never go home again.
They walk away
Two of my own species, seen from behind
Down a grey corridor- a little light reflects here
They walk away, what they leave, what they find
What they lose, what they approach, nothing is clear
The man, the woman – is it two women though?
Dressed in everyday drab. No season for style
Who will await them, where will they go?
If I saw their faces would they know how to smile?
This grey corridor is closed, it is empty like a heart
In a world, in this world, in a year, in this year
They walk away, together they seem, but also apart
One holds the bag they give you to carry memory and a tear
Two of my own. Grown weary with departure
They walk away. Walk wary, this is a year of rupture.
Inspired by Jane Cornwell’s image, JC22
The morning glowed, spring-scented,
the air seemed full of promise, contented
they talked of ordinary things, the commonplace–
conversation as comfortable as their pace–
the children, the news, that new restaurant—Thai–
that they never got to try–
Yet does he walk beside her—
there where the branches stir?
The pace still comfortable, the air still aglow?
There’s a sparkle on the water, catching the flow
of currents and light. Yet only one shadow, no talks–
the birds keep her company on her walks.
-Merril D Smith
to know that you’re not there
at the end of the line
with comforting words
and questions about the children.
I wish that I were eight again,
looking round and thinking
you had gone, then a wave
of relief as you re-appeared.
There’s no magic number
of seconds that can tick over,
after which it won’t matter any more.
No soothing words of comfort
when you don’t believe in afterlife.
It makes you envy those who do.
Now that is strange.
Inspired by all three artworks
Salad days, green and full of sap,
and all the summer stretches
through green boughs to a mellow field
of buttercup sun at sunset
and again at morning.
Colours fade and loves;
we wilt in the heat and the frost bites.
No ruse can stop the slide into the dark,
but if we keep tight hold of the best of days
and the heart of things,
we can slide together
and just a hint of regret.
is all it was. After he ate salad.
The light struck him on the head.
Homeless. Salad made her lose, made her mad,
so nights into Spoons for coffee and tea.
Lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes killed
him as sure as this bench is a good bed.
They attract the light you see, filled
his head with it so no room in his head.
She will never eat salad again. Would
not have it in loved marriage home they shared.
Salad made her lose home. As if grief could.
Times she told them at work, till work declared.
Odd we don’t want to see it as it is.
Blame is placed on seeming slightest distress.
Bios and Links
“Am 68. Live in Mexborough. Retired teacher. Artist; musician; poet. Recently included in ‘Viral Verses’ poetry volume. Married. 2 kids; 3 grandkids.”
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/
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/
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 email@example.com for a copy of the pamphlet or visit http://timfellows13.blogspot.com for recent poems
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.
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’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.
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.
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.
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 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 22. 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 22nd”
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