Day 17. My annual National Poetry Month 2022 ekphrastic challenge is a collaboration between artists Gaynor Kane, John Phandal Law, Anjum Wasim Dar, and writers, Angi Plant, Tim Fellows, Math Jones, Merril D. Smith, Jamie Woods, Lesley James, Lesley Curwen, Carrie Ann Golden, Peter A., Barbara Leonhard, Jane Dougherty, Jen Feroze, Vicky Allen, Simon Williams, Jona Roy, Beth Brooke, Caroline Johnstone, Lynne Jensen Lampe and myself. April 17th .

Day Seventeen

JPL17

-John Phandal Law

AWD-17 Fathoms

-Anjum Wasim Dar- Fathoming

GK17 hotel tea tray

-Gaynor Kane – Hotel Tea Tray

17. [Fathoms AWD17]

Only measuring fathoms through water,
And in one direction,
And the starting point is us,

On the surface.
Only saying how much ‘down’
There is beneath us, that we know of.

How much ‘down’ we have below us,
How much ‘down’ we have to go,
Till we touch…

Till the water gets so solid we can stand on it.
Till the water gets so heavy we are flattened by it.
Or till we disappear, as dense as what we’re in.

-Math Jones

Aftermath (Inspired by AWD’s Fathoms and John Phandal Law)

Full fathom five
in pearl-light bathed they lie
or in the deep and petaled mud
their coral bones wave-rocked
or gnawed by dogs
all pale all dead all gone.

-Jane Dougherty

17 JPL

Kramatorsk.
Evolve. Revolve.
Pleas: leave while you still can.
Will poppies commemorate these bodies in the streets?
Or at a railway station in Donetsk Oblast
where families gather to escape? Protruding
from the dead tarpaulin
one man’s pale
fist.

-Lesley James

Fathoms (AWD17 Fathoms)

A cave in the sea, icicle bright
in shimmered folds of brine
lit by bloomed fluorescence
of last bioluminants hiding
                      in what is left of the dark

Or is it a ruin smoking on land
half a defeated castle, recently
wrecked by heavy artillery
flame-illuminated, soot-flecked
                   in what is left of the dark

-Lesley Curwen

Conundrum
To GK 17 Hotel Tea Tray

A hike to the Conundrum Hot Springs in Colorado.
“Just over the pass, he said.
Quick hike.”

He took the heavy pack
With the tent, food, water –
Up to 50 pounds.
My pack, just 15 or 20.

He always hiked ahead.
Practically running.
My steps, more cautious.
Tree roots, mud slides,
Scree fields. Switchbacks.
We ascend, descend,
Ascend, descend.
“Can we just go back?
Stay at a motel?”

I dream of a warm bed, bath, pool,
Room service. Hot coffee and cherry pie.

“Come on. It’s just over there,” he says.

“Is this a creek or a river?” I ask.
“Cross here? Are you kidding me?”

High sun. Low blood sugar. Rain.
The way narrows to a game trail.
I breathe to the beat of just over there.
Just over there. Just over there.

After eight hours.
Finally, the hot springs.
Filled with guys. Naked guys.
Curious guys.
“I’m not going in there”, I say.

But the other pool, too shallow.
Too tepid. I’m led back to the party.
They watch. I refuse to disrobe.
Entirely, anyway.
“Happy!?” My crossed arms say.

The water is warm, soothing the tired bones.
More people arrive. A woman with mushrooms.

“Want some?” Her voice lilts with song.
“I’m good, thanks.” Shake my head.

Along side the pool, a shirt and towel
Pressed to the earth. Stomped on.
“Someone drowned here recently,” she says.

Dizzy snow lands on my wrinkled fingers.
Something knocks against my foot
In the steamy pool. Maybe a snake.
I scream.
My husband laughs.

Soon, a noisy crowd approaches,
Hauling six packs, whiskey, bourbon,
Vodka, party food.
“What? Are you kidding me?
Over 3 mountain passes, a river, mud slides.
And scree fields?” I ask.

“No, we’re from Aspen. We parked
Just over there. Not far
From the Marriott.”

-Barbara Leonhard

AWD17

Night peers down,
takes a deep breath
blows
rolls back
the white and yellow
of the day
pushes cloud over the ridge
sends it tumbling into
the valley below the hill
a head-over-heels rushing
that scatters into mist
hangs in translucent shadows
above the river

-Beth Brooke

JPL17

Every year
the authority
holds a ceremony
to reassure

the wounded cannon-fodder who survived
and the bereaved of those who died
that they, who were comfortable
to send the young to war,

do really care —
a necessary tradition
to ensure the continued supply
of filled-with-pride human ammunition

-Peter A.

 

Fathoming

This is based on AWD17 Fathoms

white, tight
toes curl
on rock edge

eyes squint
half-dazzled by
sideways sun

skin cools as
feather-light breeze
teases pellucid water

crouching in golden gleam
fingers flutter the surface
like dragonflies

then

slow entering
slow breathing
slowly fathoming

the length and the breadth
of all that is held
here

-Vicky

 

Submerged (Inspired by all three images.)

I’d never seen a sea so blue,
we dove through our reflections
to the unfathomable depths below.

I saw a mermaid, you teased.
I saw a shipwreck, I replied,

and we went back to our hotel
had our tea on a tray in bed,
gasping and grasping like swimmers
near drowning—submerged here–
the do not disturb sign on the door–
and I never wanted to leave
the room, you, tea,
the sound of the surf–

but here I am on this foggy coast,
firmly bound to shore,
the sea is the grey of winter memories

out there, above the sunken ships
called by sirens,
lovers sail on ships of dreams.

-Merril D. Smith

Treading Water
After Fathoms AWD17

a beach a cove liberty
sanctuary glanced jealously
from this cave snatched
daylight stolen false hope
swirls with the gulls circling
searching for prey
for scraps for sustenance
the tide pulls away dredging
sand a single whelk
in a bay of mussels
stay safe
under seaweed-lined crags
undercover treading water
until the inevitable dark
we can run unscared

-Jamie Woods

AWD17

At the edge
Of consciousness
Lies
The unimaginable
Cloaked
By madness

-Carrie Ann Golden

Fathoms

In the blue cave
creatures live brief lives;
some alone, drifting,
carried by the unseen tide.
Others, schooling together,
flicking direction, sensing
peripheral danger.

On the rocky walls, some
have crafted their own
protective shells, or hide
in subtle gaps.

-Tim Fellows 

In War Their Hands Trench the Soil, Their Bones Feed It (JPL17)

Flanders Fields—a glass
casket of poppies. Senseless
beauty. Remember.

—Lynne Jensen Lampe

I Sup Fathoms

of poppies from a hotel tea cup roll
away the stones from the graves, find clothes
they were buried in. Drink the whole
flowers to ease the loss and recompose

what is lost. Reach for the stars, her upbeat
song played at her funeral, takes me back
to her cremation, her ashes in heat
tea leaves so I sup her brew bring her back.

Asbestos thread cough killed my dad. Ashes
I must broadcast over Lake District tracks.
Cancer took mam, old age nan, all mashes
tea leaves so I sup their brew bring them back.

Grief is a conflict over flight or fight.
Can’t resurrect not dead with drugged delight.

-Paul Brookes

Bios And Links

-John Phandal Law

is 68. Lives in Mexborough. Retired teacher. Artist; musician; poet. Recently included in ‘Viral Verses‘ poetry volume. Married. 2 kids; 3 grandkids

-Gaynor Kane

Gaynor Kane lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where she is a part-time creative, involved in the local arts scene. She writes poetry and is an amateur artist and photographer. In all her creative activities she is looking to capture moments that might otherwise be missed. Discover more at gaynorkane.com

Twitter @gaynorkane

Facebook @gaynorkanepoet

Instagram @gaynorkanepoet

-Anjum Wasim Dar

started drawing at St Anne’s Presentation Convent High School, Rawalpindi.
Drawing was taught as a Core subject from  Kindergarten.
Anjum learnt the  skill of  Still Life, Sketching,  Landscape Drawing, Coloring  and Shading  She recalled the scented wax crayons and black  paper sketch books vividly.

Subject of Fine Arts at Intermediate level at Govt.College for Women Rawalpindi,   was stopped by the Indo Pak War of 1965. Anjum continued her passion for art privately.
Her job as a Teacher Instructor allowed her to pursue Art work designing and preparing  Thematic Bulletin Boards and Low cost teaching Aids with the Fauji Foundation Teacher’s Training Institute Rawalpindi. www.faujifoundation.org.
This won her the National Education Award 1998.
 
Completing  a Course in Graphic Designing  at NICON Academy Rawalpindi , Anjum began working as a Digital Artist, On Line, registered her Own Firm CER Creative Education Resources 2004 and is a Member of DRN Drawing Research Network UK  and www.bigdraw.org.uk
https://www.lboro.ac.uk/research/tracey/drn/
 https://sites.google.com/site/cerprofessionaldevelopment/
With her artistic skills she plans and conducts “Environment Awareness Workshops for Children” and is a member of www.unep.org and www.earthday.org
CER Participated in World Environment Day and Earth Day Programs 2011-2013
“Face of Climate Change”
Anjum  loves Nature, landscapes and abstract imagery. Works with pencils, crayons and  the Software ArtRage 2.0  and MyPaint.

Anjum Wasim Dar’s Art Portfolio  can be accessed  here:

https://www.artwanted.com/anjuartwriter/gallery/

-Merril D. Smith

lives in southern New Jersey near the Delaware River. Her poetry has been published in several poetry journals and anthologies, including Black Bough Poetry, Anti-Heroin Chic,  Fevers of the Mind, and Nightingale and Sparrow. Her first full-length poetry collection, River Ghosts, is forthcoming from Nightingale & Sparrow Press.  Twitter: @merril_mds  Instagram: mdsmithnj  Website/blog: merrildsmith.com

-Lesley James(she/her)

is a teacher and writer. She was shortlisted for Love Reading UK’s 2022 Very Short Story Award. Featured flash can be found in The Broken Spine, FullHouseLitMag and RoiFaineant. Kathryn O’Driscoll selected her poem Empty for Full House’s 2021 mental health live reading and forthcoming podcast. Brian Moses, The Dirigible Balloon and Parakeet Magazine have published some of her writing for children.

-Lynne Jensen Lampe

has poems in or forthcoming from Figure 1, Olney Magazine, Yemassee, Moist Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. Also to come is her chapbook Talk Smack to a Hurricane (Ice Floe Press, 2022) about mothers, daughters, and mental illness. She was a 2020 Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Prize finalist. Born in Newfoundland and raised in the Deep South, she lives in mid-Missouri where she edits academic books and journals. Visit her at https://lynnejensenlampe.com. Twitter: @LJensenLampe.

-Math Jones

is London-born, but is now based in Oxford. He has two books published: Sabrina Bridge, a poetry collection, from Black Pear Press (2017), and The Knotsman, a collection of verse, rhyme, prose and poetic monologue, which tell of the life and times of a C17th cunning-man. Much of his verse comes out of mythology and folklore: encounters with the uncanny and unseen. Also, as words written for Pagan ritual or as praise poems for a multitude of goddesses and gods. He is a trained actor and performs his poems widely.

-Caroline Johnstone

is an author and poet from Northern Ireland now living in Scotland. She has been published widely including Poetry Scotland, The Blue Nib and Marble Poetry. She loves spending time with her grandchildren, curling up with a good book and champagne or cocktails in no particular order. 

-Lesley Curwen

is a poet and sailor living in Plymouth. She often writes about loss, rescues and the sea.

Her work has been published in anthologies from Arachne Press, Nine Pens, Quay Words, Slate, snakeskin, and soon by BrokenSpine and Broken Sleep.  

Her poetic relationship with sound has been helped by her work as a BBC broadcaster, editing words on screen.

-Carrie Ann Golden

is from the mystical Adirondack Mountains now living on a farmstead in the Red River Valley of North Dakota (USA). She writes dark fiction and poetry. A Deafblind, her work has been published in places such as GFT Press, Doll Hospital Journal, The Hungry Chimera, Asylum Ink, Piker Press, Edify Fiction and others. You can find her on her writing blog as well as Medium and Twitter.  

-Jen Feroze

lives by the sea in Essex with her husband and two small children. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in a variety of publications including Ink Sweat & Tears, Chestnut Review, Atrium and The Madrigal. Her first collection, The Colour of Hope, was published in 2020 and she’s currently working on a chapbook of poems about early motherhood. 

-Paul Brookes

is a shop asst in a supermarket. Lives in a cat house full of teddy bears. First play performed at The Gulbenkian Theatre, Hull.  His chapbooks include The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley, (Dearne Community Arts, 1993). A World Where and She Needs That Edge (Nixes Mate Press, 2017, 2018) The Spermbot Blues (OpPRESS, 2017), Please Take Change (Cyberwit.net, 2018), As Folk Over Yonder ( Afterworld Books, 2019). He is a contributing writer of Literati Magazine and Editor of Wombwell Rainbow Interviews, book reviews and  challenges. 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. Most recent is a poetry collaboration with artworker Jane Cornwell: “Wonderland in Alice, plus other ways of seeing”, (JCStudio Press, 2021)

3 thoughts on “Day 17. My annual National Poetry Month 2022 ekphrastic challenge is a collaboration between artists Gaynor Kane, John Phandal Law, Anjum Wasim Dar, and writers, Angi Plant, Tim Fellows, Math Jones, Merril D. Smith, Jamie Woods, Lesley James, Lesley Curwen, Carrie Ann Golden, Peter A., Barbara Leonhard, Jane Dougherty, Jen Feroze, Vicky Allen, Simon Williams, Jona Roy, Beth Brooke, Caroline Johnstone, Lynne Jensen Lampe and myself. April 17th .

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