The Sky Is Filled With Voices
Tawny Owl At Coach and Horses.
Lost in the empire
Moon, shut up in her box
of sawn-off clouds. Tapestry
of stone road, unpicked by rip-
root yew. Floating dust, a sneeze
of light, look sharp, torn stitches waiting
to trip you. There’s nothing here
that isn’t the result of disassembling.
I am dissembling, I keep trying
to break the compass –
to get lost in the cogs of any place
I might find myself making tracks.
In the kind of forest that’s best
for confusing yourself, there are slabs
of shadow, bread too dense
for modern trees suckling
our frailing sun. This kind of dark
buttered its claim in each wraith
of hedgerow two thousand years gone.
To set foot now, lost boy, is to kick
at jaws never unclenched
since the take, not even
for a minute. What does that do
to a spirit whose meat unchose the fight
bitten into the dirt by iron
and blood and root – I ask you
how hungry is the ghost
with not a mote to manifest? Get lost
just enough, they say it rattles the moon
in her box, bleeds her worry, like a mother’s,
through the cracks. Enough silver
to fill the solemn cup
of a hand. I’m starting to think I could crouch here
and pour for years – feed the dark everything I am
and still not see anything like a man
made solid enough to find his way back.
The sky is filled with voices
My patchwork sky a quilt of blues and somehow
Green finds its way up there my patchwork sky
Like a grid you have to click on to prove you’re
Not a robot. You’re not a robot you look up at my
Patchwork sky and you see what I see and I see
What you see and
In bubbles the earth floats up
Into my patchwork sky, in stone and wood and
Mud and water and bark and soil and stalk and
Leaf, and soul is one letter away from soil, and
My sky is filled with voices
Echoing in the vault
Arcing over us, we are not robots we are not
Flesh automatons we defy solipsism in this
Sky of green and blue and cloud and sun this
Sky of soul and soil and stem and sap this
Sky of voices patchwork voices human voices
Tree voices air voices earth voices and bird
Words flying through the sky each morning
Warning wooing beseeching be-being filling
Our sky with
We join in with the sky.
(inspired by JC28)
One brother looks behind him
Trying to hear the voices of his children
On the wind
Another brother looks at the ground
Hoping to bury the noise of his fear
Deep in the earth
A third brother looks to the sky
Praying to a god
He has never believed in
A fourth brother marches toward the trees
Searching for protection
Beneath a canopy of branches
The final brother falls to the ground
He has no time to scream
Death is upon them
They came as ghosts, emerging in the dawn,
oblivious to time that had sped past
since they met death upon this battlefield
that was now meadow; and now swift the snow
fell on their shields, melted on their swords.
Translucently they hovered in this place
unable to find peace, they screamed and roared.
Recalled the blows that ripped them from this life
so far from home; their wives and children cried
when news from foreign fields arrived in Rome.
The only man who saw them on that day,
head bowed against the stinging Northern wind,
climbed the hill to face the phantom troops,
stood straight, held out his arms and gently spoke:
Somnus autem, fortes viri – sleep well, brave
men of Rome. As the snow began to fade
so too did they, their armour, shields and swords
gleamed one last time as sunlight split the trees
and peace could come to this unholy spot;
the blood and bone below the earth now cleansed.
Inspired by KR28 and JL28
All the Voices
Blue of sky
to river flowing
tall, bright, with birdsong trilling
day into night
sings. Hawk is screeching
gulls laugh back,
to fly in formation, light-
glimmered wings in flight
all the sounds whirling—
birds and bees,
stars and moon, owl’s mournful whoooo?
So, you dream of scenes—
blue of sky
and river flowing,
all the birds’
summer sounds, in winter’s dream—
I turn towards you.
-Merril D Smith
The Roman Soldiers In The Woods
(Inspired by Jane Cornwell’s 28th Painting – Roman Soldiers)
Today, in this coppice, blurred in
the noon backlight,
the soldiers are the trees
we have been hacking for years,
and chronicling our offspring
the make-believe stories
about their greatness, and here they still
stand as an apparition,
and when I first utter that word
to my eleven months old daughter,
she seizes it fast, and all-day she murmurs,
A faint squirrel devours
some imperceptible nut.
The breeze drums, ‘Summer. Summer.’
For one jiffy we too are history.
In the following, the way annals fade,
we are boundless nothing.
Sounds In The Wind – A Puente Poem
Somewhere in the golden dusk a tawny owl calls
From another direction wooden wind chimes makes a dull sound
Over at the pub there’s cherry voices
Comforting homely noises
I lean against the ancient stone wall
Exhaustion pulling me to the ground
I’m just gonna rest my eyes for a minute
~I’m awakened by a trumpet~
Over the hill comes the crest of a centurions helmet
The air fills with the sound of marching feet
The rattle and clang of weapons and armour
I scramble for my bow and arrows
They fill the air like a flock of sparrows
The romans come to another tribe uprising meet
Certain their might will make them the victors
not even in the night silence
when there is only sky and stars
and the earth fades into silver mist.
for every leaf has a voice a tongue
played by the wind
and water runs
with constant chatter
crickets strum stalk legs
through our sleep
with dead leaf-rustle
and embracing all
this silent world of sound
the glorious questioning call
of the tawny owl
ripples through branch
falling in a cascade
to the silver misted earth.
The Tawny Owl
outside The Coach and Horses sees a ghost
forest with marching Roman soldiers shields
out front in defence and sky welcome Zhost
to, and filled with voices that will not yield.
Night Hag, Corpse bird. Perched outside the pub, hears
alien language from alien lands,
drafted here by Roman masters to clear
druid isles for Imperial command.
Revellers don’t sup in the pub as laws
decree, they drink outside in the warm spell.
Plague regs eased release revels without pause.
Hello to the end of lockdown hell.
Tolerance has its limits, always those
that go too far, so majority lose.
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 28. 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 28th”
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