Pregnant summer 1976
hardly enough to settle drifting dust
the pretence of rain
was more a washing of the air
summer animals moved slow
through waves of wild grass
breathing unaccustomed moisture
deep into dry lungs – as eager for any drop
as a drowning man for breath
but it hardly reached the soil –
this swift precipitation
the day lay unbaptised
as we watched from windows
more in hope than expectation
of wet relief, barely conceivable in winter –
the crackle and buzz of static
made the earth charged and dangerous
a pale mist – almost steam
lay sweet and pungent with roses
deep woods seemed to throb
as if they had a heartbeat
ending in little sighs, no energy for rustling
something was coming
For Amy, born 1976
-Valerie Bence (published in Falling in love with a dead man, Cinnamon Press 2019)
JULY 17, 2014
It was burning
It was hot, hot, HOT!
So hot, hot, HOT!
Like a jungle
Like an inferno
Like a barbecue
Like a volcano
Like a desert
Like a fire
Like a recently fused electric wire
Extremely hot, hot, HOT!
Red, yellow, orange
Definitely hot, hot, HOT!
No cloud in the sky
Incredibly hot, hot, HOT!
Oven of a day
That even melted the last word of this poem away
It was hot, hot…
The sun’s benevolent grace
Has signalled its withdrawal
Hijacked and appropriated
To expose its hard-raw potential
A surly, sultry sarcasm
A flame-grill attitude
Blow-torch heel of Satan
Drawing breath from furnace winds
Wildfire carbon scorch overwhelms
Catalyses an open crematorium
An ashen memorial
To a trashed inheritance
-Stepping On Snails-
Dead snail bones sun bleached in
clump cluster congregations of
ten thousands times ten thousands
on dried stalks of reed weeds
prickle perched as bulbous growths
on branches spread like bronchioles
in the field around the ancient ruins
of Salamis in the summer slowness
and scattered scores on the dirt below
a civilization crunching
collapsed under my feet.
January rains had soaked the soil
and spring rays warmed the mud
that spat out splay sprig plant specimens
and hatched the slimy May society
that began their climb to the ends
of the sprawling spontaneous weeds
until the gradual change of seasons
septembered them unawares
emptying ambiguous ambition
into unpurposed pillars supporting
the memory of a city once alive.
-Ryan Keating (Ryan says:
This poem was originally published in Macrina Magazine. It is the first of these three. https://macrinamagazine.com/general-submissions/guest/2022/07/09/three-poems-3
The poem tells the story of a city of snails drying up during a heatwave among the ruins of ancient Salamis.)
In elegant green
After a whole day in the woods, we are already immortal.
Here, beneath trees that split
Magnificently from toe to tip,
I slip from dream to real and back
In elegant green, my eyes lidded glass
And fingers weave, enlace, out-cast
To hold the woods in tight embrace
Enshrouded in a shimmering haze.
This fierce heat, this summer’s face
That turns to burn shoot-ends and tastes
Of simmered edges, in a fizzing spate
Of honeybee and cricket-wing,
This place vibrates.
Yet the dry earth cracks beneath my feet
As rain retreats, rolls west from east
And long-wrought patterns twist, then cease.
With sinking heart, this wood may slip
To mythic beast.
-© Larissa Reid, 2020 (She says: This poem was shortlisted for the Janet Coats Memorial Prize 2020.)
Bios And Links
is a writer, pastor, and winemaker on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. His work can be found or is forthcoming in publications such as Saint Katherine Review, Ekstasis Magazine, Amethyst Review, Fare Forward, Macrina Magazine, Fathom, Dreich, and Miras Dergi, where he is a regular contributor in English and Turkish
A freelance science writer by trade, Larissa has written poetry and prose regularly since 2016. Notable publications include Northwords Now, Black Bough Poetry Anthologies, and the Beyond the Swelkie Anthology. Based on Scotland’s east coast, she balances her writing life with bringing up her daughters.