REFLECTIONS Issue Seven â€“ Autumn 2010 Here, then, is the seventh issue of 'Reflections' magazine, bursting with the ripe fruit of writers and visual artists (groan). We've got fifteen contributors this time around, which I think is a record number for us, and as usual presents a varied mix of styles and experience. For this issue we asked contributors to write a few lines about their work, as well as a short biography. Both are actually quite difficult things to do...Still, at least the request caused less fuss than last issue's angle- to name three bands you'd like to see at a summer festival. That went down a storm ;) This 'author's notes' idea was, tongue-in-cheek, to help my Dad, who reckons he doesn't understand poetry; nevertheless, he and my Mum are members of the select group of readers who own every issue of 'Reflections' so far. So- this one's for John and Brenda, with much love. Tho' some of the author's notes won't necessarily help them... Who will you find inside? Well we've got poetry by Shelley Bennett, Adam Brummett, Ruth Butler, Steve Carnell, Geoffrey Godbert, Tom Hutchinson, Zion Lights, Oli Nejad, Helen Louise Owton, Laura Quigley and Steve Smith; fiction by Matthew Banks; visual art by Vicky Cowell, Adam Grose and Dan Underwood. Enjoy.
Happy 21st birthday to Erinna and Holly Smith, this October the twenty-third, love Dad xxx
Geoffrey Godbert Geoffrey Godbert has fifteen poetry collections to his name, including his 'Collected Poems' (2007). He is coeditor of two Faber poetry anthologies and editor of an anthology of modern prose poems. Of his work, Harold Pinter said, â€œGeoffrey will certainly end up with the poets in heaven.â€?
'The idea for Five Idioms came from a text book which examined sets of idioms classified under their respective argumentative, descriptive or narrative headings such as shape, movement etc, and which allowed me to use personifications of these as a poem.'
FIVE IDIOMS OF LIFE
1. SENSES They grew lighter, grow darker, colours that fade soften themselves as the sun sinks and when they die away rub themselves out. At dusk the twilight gives the countryside a blue tone granting a last taste of day and the quantity of light is halved till a point of light, a thin shaft of light beams, streams and floods in myriad pin-points stealing through, piercing the dark to become blurred, to fade from view before setting like a sun shuddering its once sharp shape in the dark of a doorway and stealing over our ears in harmonies of poetry making a small sound carry, ring out and be clearly heard in the vast silence of nature echoing a hullaballoo of sounds merging with other sounds even including the clarity of silence which is really a din rending the air so we can no longer hear each other sing let alone speak and only look for escape to the gentle emissions of soft sounds bursting out from a crowd, a forest, the sea rising gently, faintly murmuring.
2. RELATIONS There remain those who are people who say be true to life by breaking away, by withdrawing from the world from the litter, the jumble, of the anyhow rest and its litter of things, its pell-mell of people sharing disorder within a stone's throw of, within an ace of, nearness for its own sake and the chaos of themselves.
3. INTELLECT We wanted imagination leaping with the quickness of an image moving on and evoking another in a brainwave stretching from golden rain to the yellow of topaz, from the pink of coral to the vitality of all things and with it the possibility of a boundless imagination combining birth and hope, giving free rein to both as an act of childhood inspired perhaps by a cup of tea which could evoke in floating dreams approximations of the truth..
4. WILL So it's not surprising is it that we are ready to drop and are on our last legs with the fatigue of it all. Like a worried mother, we are worn out, dog-tired, dead-beat, spent: we are overwhelmed and at the breaking point before collapse. My God, what we would do for short-lived success without a future, to write or paint or be successfully for half-an-hour.. 5. AFFECTIONS No wonder we get angry simmering like the lava in a volcanic crater before an eruption; like having a narrow escape from imminent danger, taking it in as illness but unable to let it out though we cherished hope for man's higher affections and pinned our hope on hope itself as humanity's dearest wish. Of course, brokenheartedness cannot always be avoided hoping the next news is good while the unbearable suspense brings the insult of disappointment in a stroke of really bad luck of the bitterest, heart-felt kind brought about by chance; and we have to learn to live with it, governed by survival of our self-interest, witnessing ourselves as everything by disregarding well-being, squeezing the last penny out of love puffed up like a peacock, easily slighted and quick to take offence. This seems like the best time to boast of our success and blow our own trumpet as the outrageous swagger of life goes `marching on.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Where are they now, those poets who perfected technique and style in the pure authentic white-light of their poems while disdaining all honours and fame. Where are they now, those poets who lived and died in terrible misery, daring to be irrational like all great poets who have dared to dream of one fine day. Where are they now, those poets who wrote very little but somehow everything that they wrote was important and memorable and made its mark like a painting. Where are they now, those poets who transmuted the smallest events of life into poetry with a marvellous zest touched only by their zeal. Where are they now, those poets considered secondary though the musical quality of their verse has never been excelled even by ambitious men. Where are they now, the poets who were tough and cynical and whose mission as arch-destroyer could not hide their fine lyrics nor their sentimentality. Where are they now, those poets who described fanciful dreams and worshipped perfect beauty like an awe-struck idealist dying of consumption. Where are they now, those poets who lived in well-dressed retirement after a short and wild career as exotic poets who then made a fashionable thing of poetry. Where are they now, the poets who tried to destroy all their work like child prodigies at play but nevertheless failed to wipe themselves off the face of the earth.
Helen Louise Owton Helen moved to Exeter last year to start her studies as a research student. 'Often a life event or emotion encourages (or forces) people to write. I write because I prefer to use a pen not a sword.'
Delving deeper Entrapment inside an institution crushing the souls of soldiers; a stranger. An establishment hiding intentions; flaunting ambitions; a danger. Release my body from embedded cultures that inhibit freedom to express personality. Passivity; I see docile bodies consumed by habitual conformity, “I don’t have to think, I just have to do it!” Uncomfortable tensions build; their desires to inflict control, “Such enthusiastic camaraderie! Just don’t go overboard” Controlling people to fulfil their own ambitions; feeling sour. Results are always fitting; awards, promotions; valiant tread, Sensing hostility; Rumours spread. Fearless threatening suggestive touch; echoes of abusive power, “Only joking unless you were actually gonna do it!” Masked by the hidden codes of inflicting masculinity, Tolerating the state of affairs in a situated freedom; a complex simplicity. Knowing historical past; will we ever escape this tyranny? Come the fuck on! Wake the fuck up! Unfamiliar strangeness felt - leaning towards encouragement of risk and absurdity, Desires for a world free from the limiting constraints of the past, Passivity rejected; ever-risking the free play of just „being‟ at last? With a freedom to explore the world full of adventure, Intertextual connections unfolding, opening the multiplicity of possibilities…
Steve Smith 'After the publication of my version of a Native American folk tale in the previous issue, I thought I'd have a go at a European one. I've always loved folktale/folksong, and 'The Goose Girl' is one of my favourites- it's got all the themes you need- social class stuff, betrayal, murder, mutilation, life-changing journey, payback...I've written it in a sort-of ballad form so I guess someone could sing it. With that in mind there's a handful of other folktales/songs stitched in there: Sovay, the female highwayrobber; Lord Randall; Matty Groves; Black Jack Davey. The metres are, shall we say...stretched, and it's still very close to the first draft, but hey...It twists away from the trad. ending. You can read politics into it if you like. I thought I'd add a poem of the same title, written in 1987: a rather angry piece of juvenalia that questions the relevance of writing this stuff called poetry.'
The Goose Girl She was in a castle all alone, Betrothed to be wed to a stranger; Her maid looked with spite and jealous eyes At her raiments of gold and of silver. The carriage was called, she took her leave, Kissing mother the queen, and king father; The carriage rattled on tracks, green ancient paths, All the way to some sacrosanct border. How far do you go into what you don't know, Leaving all that you thought was right? Which way does time slip, whose hand will you grip When the fading of day becomes night? Sovay she leapt out, swift from the shadows, Pistols primed and ready to thieve: She rode off with splendour, believing all dead, But she and her maid stayed alive. They bathed in the stream, a cool river in which Their wounds mixed their blood together; 'What shall we do now,' said she to her servant, 'In our distress we are indeed sisters.' 'No sister of mine!' she spat with distain, 'For you're now my maid, I your mistress! I'll marry your prince, you'll just bear the load Of the pearls on my wedding dress.' To the palace they trod, footsore and silent, The princess knew nothing to say to her captor; She knew not her horse had survived the disaster And in cover of forests, followed. This horse- he could speak. He could speak of what you don't know, He could speak of what is right; He could speak of time, of hands to hold, In sunsets fading into night;
Of the rose that grows through the eye of a skull, Of the bird that refuses to save youLead poured in your ear, you refuse to hear The old songs that just may awake you. They got to the gate, she spoke clear and refined To say she, the princess, and her maid had arrived For the wedding; accosted by thieves all they had Were the undergarments they were wearing. She settled for goose-girl, hiding her sadness, Barefoot feeling the mud, back sore-scratched by the straw; Treated severely- some bawdy, some needy, She sank her soul like a stone. Then came the stallion, surprising one day, And promised he'd speak out the truth; The imposter she heard him and wanted him deadWith the string of a lute she sliced off his head And demanded her husband need pole it, display it, Festering flies would seal his fate; A spear through his neck, a garland of gorse, Stuck above the palace's entrance gate. But the dead horse's head spoke: 'The girl who reclines in the depths of your finery Is but a servant, should serve in the scullery; The goose-girl's a princess, needs canaries and pearls Sweetly caged in fine meshes of the splendour of silver And gold; she is no peasant, She should rule.' 'Once a servant, always a servant,' Grimaced the prince as he drew out his knife, Killed the horse once again with a splice 'cross the eyes And staggered to his palace to confront his wife. He found her in the arms of a pen-pushing fool, A poet, mere writer of dreams; Struck her through the heart while the bard fled far, To hide in the woods by the stream, Where one time we sat, swigging cheap wine, Speaking about wrong and right; Time ended our hand-hold, spit-stirring a storm, But night became dawn became light. So he sat there and played a harmonica bruised As the goose-girl returned to her forest; They clapped eyes and sank sighs, realised in their dreams That neither could ever find solace In castles or palaces, pearls or gold theories On which the perilous perch; Far better to taunt them, despise or empathise With the clumsy conventions of verse.
So together they wandered, split to their seams Of old traditions, false diction and cant, And reneged on past themes, swore true to each other, In penury learning to count On the numbers of mystery, questioning destiny, Sweet breaths when the moon births the morning; A small glass of wine, spine-tingling the moment When entwined we conjure our joining. She escaped then, this goose-girl, princess or pawn, She ran barefoot to lie with her gypsy; Canal-side he bathed her, in riches he held her, In her arms she indeed was his treasure.
The Goose Girl (1987) â€œDressed so fine You steal a life And say you never take, You think the people Never know How many necks you break; You think you pull The wool over our eyes But we're not all sheep; I'll borrow a knife To cut your lies And truth will fly Free.â€? And the dead horse's head speaks A pen that bleeds With the scream of geese, A gentle lilt Or a crashing full-tilt Charge of immorality; And who can see But thinkers dreamers Weavers within Imagination's art With all their heart Forsworn to creativity. And the dead horse's head speaks The poet has his uses yet In arrogance and naivety With swirls of mind Confused in kind With the soulful cry Of Liberty Not yet bogged down In litanies or right condemning Wrong I'll spit a theme And sail downstream To realise a dream. And the dead horse's head speaks Yet who shall read, By reading learn Some grains of thought Too tender frought With instability? And take a grain To plant it in the earth Of tunnelled memory? Perhaps I do not care, My reader sleeps somewhere A passing figment of my Fantasy for who write I But of myself and Sanctuaries for hope and care? And the dead horse's head speaks
Yet hope to share, Yes hope to share To share some immortality of spirit Feel it Feel some surge of life And some day soon Worn out with woe With faces creased and youth released From vessels of experience We'll follow death With eager breathless knowledge Of our ignorance but at the least We've torn the emperor From his clothes And all alone He's bleeding from his wounds Some tears of Bold regeneration. And the dead horse's head speaks Maybe Salvation lies not in the reach Of merest pushers of the pen, It simply gratifies their souls And justifies the tearing Of the quill from geese Who hiss Some vague Warning.
Laura Quigley 'In Greek Mythology, Persephone was the daughter of the gods Zeus and Demeter, and was kidnapped by Hades, God of the Underworld, to be his bride. Demeter was permitted to rescue her daughter from the Underworld, providing the girl had eaten nothing during her stay. But Persephone had eaten 6 pomegranate seeds, so an agreement was struck, that Persephone must stay in the Underworld for 6 months each year, emerging each Spring to spend 6 months with Demeter who was goddess of nature. Whilst separated from her daughter, Demeter’s grief brings us autumn and winter. Persephone is often described as the Queen of the Underworld, but also the goddess of the harvest, her dramatic departure changing summer into autumn.'
'Persephone was one of my favourite Greek myths as a kid, and I thought this poem might play with the mythology a little. I write mainly for performance, so I‟m looking forward now to Amnesty‟s rehearsed public reading of my play “the advocate” in London in November 2010. All welcome – it‟s free!'
From Hades Persephone, abused wife of Hades, bears his child. Her cries ascend through labyrinthine caves, malformed by ancient tides, marking twilight, the dripping world of water-birth. Breathless, staggering, she holds the mucus-smothered creature to her breast; the cross-eyed parasite suckles, drains the day, evaporates all love from milk, and screams a rotting damp that feeds the creeping mould and brings disease. In the golden blanket of her hair, she swaddles him, the craving child loved in fabrics clean as spring, generous as summer, as autumn falls unravelling; until, in winter cloaked, the youth will rise full grown, stealing back his Kingdom, to claim his throne.
Steve Carnell 'I am a 41 year-old dad of two, my kids live with me full time. Molly, 8, and Harry, 5, appear in a few of my childrens' poems. I live and work part-time in Exeter. I play poker, support Arsenal, and love music. I have been playing at open mic gigs, and am busy working on a book.' The Exe The Exe makes me smile I have not been in the Exe for a while The Exe, I can't forget Always there and always wet I am flooded with emotion At your gentle flowing motion The Exe, I love your mouth And watching you go south Having been on you and in you You excite my every sinew Some bits of you are tight And some are wide I like that little boat That flits from side to side I have swallowed more of you than I should Which is never good You make my bits freeze You're probably full of disease As shallow as I feared And occassionally weired I know parts of you are rotten Though I still strive to touch your bottom The Exe will always be The one that holds the quay
Soup My life is a bowl of soup Lovingly served up by you A guiding hand Helping spoon feed me Teaching the tips Of cool blows and small sips For preventing burnt lips I was enjoying my soup Until you left yours It then turned cold The bread has gone stale Spoon rusted through I don't want my soup anymore I'm leaving to be with you
New Flame Ashley was an arsonist, as was Bernadette Each had ceased some time ago, long before they met Ashley was a chimney sweep, keeping clean your flue Bernie worked up at the crem, checking you'd cooked through Ashley knew he'd meet his match, and love's spark would ignite His ears would burn whenever Bernie spoke of Mr. Right They met at someones bar-b-q, their eyes blazed with desire And once they started chatting they got on like a house.... Oh dear can you smell petrol
Ruth Butler '...Always running after time and never catching up with it, with my floor ankle-deep in unfinished and unstarted tasks, all mixed up with dead teacups, dust, rejected scripts, and stuff best hidden in the attic. Not much new poetry, busy writing fiction at the mo...' '''Fortifications'' was one of those 'Good God, where has the summer gone to' poems, when you have been non-stop busy for a month or so, with visitors and everyone else... It is about time getting away from you.'
Fortifications I've pulled up the drawbridge and dodged the flaming arrows of obligation and entreaty, I've unhooked the phone, and it's no use e-mailing me, I've sent the computer on holiday, it's somewhere out in the wide world gathering worms. I've closed the curtains and chastised the cat, for making them twitch, I've turned the music dead low, to a mere whisper, I struggle to hear, if you look over the garden wall, I'll be hiding under a stone, I'm ignoring the doorbell -I'm just not home. If you see a shadow on the window- it's not me. It could be a burglar, an arsonist, the neighbour who feeds the cat, the shadowy presence of Mrs Jones who sold me the house, with its plastic flowers, and didn't mention the rats, or the ghost of a lodger who stayed. It's not the person who's going to do the things you all want me to do -she's gone away. Perhaps the person you're looking for is the person I used to to be, or the person I sometimes am. She might come back one day.
Matthew and his wife Sam live in Cornwall, where he writes ghost stories and drives everyone mad. He's definitely eccentric and has a morbid fascination with ghosts and haunted houses. 'It may seem strange, but my inspiration for my ghost stories, other than M.R. James, the father of the modern ghost story, is J.R.R. Tolkien- in as much as I want to create a world/place where the dead do walk. Living in Cornwall, with its unworldliness and remoteness is the source of this 'world' that I have created within the confines of my short stories.'
Gull Cove Somewhere down on the South West coast, between the Lizard peninsula and Newquay, there once existed a very small fishing community called Gull Cove. The village overlooked a tiny cove, where the waves washed up the sand and where no-one ever really came. Once it was prosperous, but the prosperity had long since left, and the men folk had to walk across the fields and dunes to catch a train at Clagmoor Heath to go to Newquay for work, where the money was better than the surrounding area. It was a haunted village, for once dusk came not one local would venture outside, those who found work in Newquay would stay there if they couldn‟t be home before sunset, and not one solitary person would venture onto that beach, when the sun‟s last rays faded away in the darkening sky. Nor would anyone venture into the surrounding Olcome woods, where there was a local superstition that the owls that lived in the woods were the lost souls of sailors that perished just off the cove. A wood that hid a mass gravesite! Over the years the elements eroded the cliffs, until one day they came crashing down and the village and cove disappeared under rock and into the sea. The reason that I am telling you this is because while I was in the smoking room of my club, I over-heard two learned gentlemen talking about the ghosts of Gull Cove and of an incident that reportedly happened … This is the tale that I heard… In the summer of 18--, two young children came to Gull Cove to live with their grandparents. Their parents had left the village years before in their search for work. The children knew little of Gull Cove, its bloody history of wrecking, or of where their parents grew up. The children were thrilled by the prospect of seeing their grandparents and finding out about their roots. It was also a sad time for them as they had recently lost their father on one of the fishing boats, and their mother could no-longer afford to keep them, and so it fell to the grandparents to raise them, for they had a little money. The last rays of sunlight were filtering out of the summer sky as the carriage drove into the deserted village. The children, a boy and a girl, looked out of the window and saw grey shabby houses, with shuttered windows staring out like hollow eyes, and black doorways like closed mouths. Somewhere something howled, but there was no-one around. The carriage came to an abrupt halt and the children climbed down. “You must hurry inside,” the driver whispered. And once their luggage was dropped down, the carriage drove off into the darkening sky leaving the children looking at their new surroundings. “I don‟t think that we‟ll have much fun here” said the boy to his sister. “Where is everyone, Billy?” asked the girl, “where are our grandparents?” “I don‟t know, Sally.” Somewhere from across the street, a door opened, filtering light onto the cobbles, and a voice called out, “Children pick up your bags and hurry inside. Come on now, hurry!”
The voice was old and full of urgency. At the same time the children thought that they heard the pitter patter of wet feet running on the cobbles, but looking around, they saw nothing and no-one. They found themselves obeying, and picking up their bags, hurried to the half opened door, that spilt a little light onto the cobbles. It opened wide to let them enter, and once inside the door was closed and bolted. Inside, the children could see that the room was lit by a large open fire and oil lamps. The two elderly people in front of them, with leathery, lined faces, looked at them with nothing but the utmost love. They ran to their grandparents who embraced them. After the initial excitement and conversation, they were given hot broth for their supper and were led up a well-worn staircase to their room, which was situated at the back of the house. Other than two large chests of drawers, there was nothing else except a large bed. “This is your room” said grandmother, “now it‟s time for bed. We‟ll talk more in the morning.” The children did as they were instructed and went to bed. Soon they were asleep as they were tired from their long journey. During the early hours they were awakened by a howling, whispering scream. The children cowered together. Downstairs their grandparents looked worriedly at each other. “It knows they‟re here!” whispered grandmother, fear filling her watery eyes. “I know,” grandfather replied tremulously, his breath catching in his throat. The scream seemed to go on for an age. “What is it Billy?” “I don‟t know. I‟ve never heard a cat or dog sound like that!” “I‟m scared.” Pulling himself together for the sake of his sister, Billy got up out of bed and went over to the window. Carefully opening it up, he looked out. He could not see much except for the large house that sat upon the hill, seemingly looking down onto the cove and the pyramid shaped monument that was directly behind the house, and the shadows of the woods that surrounded them. “Can you see anything?” “No, it‟s too dark.” Then as his eyes became adjusted to the dark, Billy saw little flickering lights darting in and out of the trees. “I can see lights – little tiny lights.” “Fire flies?” “I don‟t know, they‟re blue and I thought fire flies were yellow.” A creak on the stairs made them look worriedly at each other, and Billy closed the window and got back into bed.
The following morning the children came down to breakfast, looking tired and drawn. “What‟s wrong children?” asked grandmother. “We heard a terrible noise last night and it kept us awake,” replied Sally. “It wasn‟t like a cat or dog,” ventured Billy. “There are no dogs in these part.” “Why?” “Due to what they done.” “What did they do?” “Why they‟s ate the bodies of those them sailors that was washed up after their ship was wrecked. In the end, locals had to shoot them there dogs, whilst others run away back into those there woods. No dog has been seen since.” “ I saw lights darting in and out of the trees,” Billy muttered. “Sit down at the table,” his grandfather replied, “and I‟ll tell you.” The children sat at the well-scrubbed table, and as their grandmother served them breakfast, their grandfather went on… “Many years ago, we people of Gull Cove used to do terrible things – we used to wreck ships and steal their cargo…” “Weren‟t there ever survivors?” asked Sally. “No. There were never survivors.” “Why?” “The sea claimed them…” “But surely…” “Enough! Let‟s have our breakfast,” snapped grandfather. They ate in silence. “Grandfather, what were the lights Billy saw?” ventured Sally. Looking at grandmother, the children could tell that he was considering his answer. “They lights were the souls of the sailors that drowned, looking to find their way back home.” His answer was said in a way that the children knew not to question further. Then as the children washed up, grandmother asked… “What are you two doing today, children?” “We‟re going down to the sea.” “What!!! Down on to the Cove?” “Yes, grandmother.” “But children, you must be careful.” “Why?” “Because of the wrecking and the lives that were lost, the Devil now haunts our village to claim back what is rightfully His, and that is why you must never venture on to the beach, especially at night. Never! Do you understand?” “Yes grandfather,” the children replied with a little fear. “And you must never go into the woods.” “Yes grandmother,” they replied again. The children settled in well after that, helping their grandparents out with the chores and writing to their mother, who they sorely missed. On bright sunny days they went exploring the nearby fields, where ruins of ancient buildings lay, and catching the train to Newquay to mix with other youngsters. Everything was perfect, until one day a heavy fog came down as they walked back from the train station.
“We‟re lost” moaned Sally, “and grandfather will have our hides for being late. It must be dusk by now, and you know what he said.” “I can‟t see what the problem is,” replied Billy. They walked along in silence for a couple of minutes and suddenly they found themselves falling head over heels down the side of a grassy dune. They landed unhurt. The fog lifted and they found themselves on the outer reaches of the cove. “Are you alright?” asked Billy. “Yes, I‟m fine. Billy, we‟re on the beach. Grandfather said that we must never venture onto the beach at night.” Sally held onto his hand. “I know. But it‟s not far now. It‟ll be all right if we don‟t tell him that we‟ve been on the beach. It‟ll be our secret.” The fog completely vanished, revealing a full moon that soon hid itself behind cloud, leaving the children in blackness. “Billy, I‟m scared.” “Don‟t worry Sally; I‟m here to protect you.” The children carried on walking towards the village. Something black and wet, which had possibly once been human in form, slowly rose out of the sand. It started to glide towards the children, leaving no impression whatsoever in the damp sand. The children could see a few lights shining from houses that looked down onto the beach and hurried on. The moon came out from behind the cloud, casting long shadows on the beach. The children‟s shadows looked like mere marionettes on the sand, but the thing that followed cast no shadow. Its pace quickened as its hunger drove it on relentlessly. Every now and then glimpses of white and yellow stained could be seen within its blackness. The children were near, but it was getting closer. “Where do you think they could be?” asked grandmother anxiously, as she wrung her hands. “I hope they had the sense to stay in Newquay and not wander onto the beach or into the woods,” the grandfather replied. “It only needs two and then you know…” Grandfather didn‟t continue as grandmother burst into tears. “Look Billy, we‟re nearly there.” The children hurried forward towards the sanctuary of the village. But their shadows stretched out far behind them. The thing that was following leapt upon their shadows and in the midst of the triumphant howling, whistling scream came the screams of two terrified children. No trace was ever found of the two children and the grandparents soon died through their grief. As far as I am aware Gull Cove eventually succumbed to the elements. That was the story I overheard, and I found amusement in it. The children didn‟t vanish; they‟re a part of me, along with the other hundred or so. The people of Gull Cove took from me the most precious thing I had – my life – and I took it back. Shadows are but souls and they give life. I left the learned men discussing the pros and cons of this supposed legend and went out to dine…!
Tom Hutchinson Mephistopheles Shattered things in light unseen become whole and eclectic. Pieces fit in his light of truth that were all empirically neglected. The right eyes will devine this line. In tortured ravages of hate & all will become eclectic. The keeper of light long in flight will fulfil its kismet.
Hemocoel Hooded decimation of the governed flagrant vocation this alley's dark end consummation of mental restitution drives us through this hemocoel & far around the bend.
Slate The willows & birch on love doth perch with ancient hurt through pride of mirth. A lonely slate is cut. Despite its state of thoughts negate, a flower blossoms whole. No conscious thought of growth & life yet it exists as whole.
The Shropshire Branch A filthy effigy of tawdry lethargy lay before this place. An abhorrent expression of an arrogant mood. The wild winds cause the trees to swoon moving the jagged branches that cut and wound. Torn asunder below storm and thunder the branch eventually breaks.
Shelley Bennett Shelley was born in Enfield, North London, and is a qualified painter and decorator. Her colourful life and being a single parent to four children led her to express herself in her poetry. In 2004 Shelley moved her family to the South-West, for a better way of life. 'I got my inspiration for the Jamaican man by way of my father, he is an amazing story-teller. My poetry is in the style of Pam Ayres, like my father one of my all-time heroes. I also write song lyrics and being a Londoner, my dream would be to hear Lily Allen sing one of my songs.' The Saxophone Player If you come out of the picture house and down Leicester Square, You'll hear a lone stranger, playing a saxophone there. With Jamaican wool hat and dread locked hair, He plays into the night, if you stop and stare. Many a night I would listen to his songs, Out of the darkness his music shone. Being blind didn't stop him from his rhythm and blues, What did he care of his tatty old shoes? He played out his music late into the night And I think he played better because of no sight. He was nearly moved on once, in the paper I read, It caused public outcry so they left him instead. Now he plays to an audience because of his fame. Oh the poor blind fella, ain't it a shame? Was not that long ago I stood on my own Listening to the music from his saxophone. I drunkenly threw a pound at his bowl, It missed it completely and started to roll, He carried on playing 'til near to his feet His tatty old shoe and the coin they did meet! How did he do that, know my pound coin was there? And find with his foot a coin without care... How did he do that, must be in tune with the tone... Must be many years of being blind and alone. I was so sure I saw a wink of his eye! I'm telling you, do you think I would lie? And as I continued on my way home, I'm sure he was smiling, playing that saxophone.
Zion Lights Writer, poet, musician, singer, permaculture-gardener, climate activist, camping-enthusiastist, languagefanatic, visionary, literature-geek with a passion for the arts and the environment, Zion's book, 'More Things Should Be Thought Out Thus,' blends different styles of writing with different types of storytelling, and is availiable from Waterstones, Amazon and WH Smith. 'This poem is about the clashing of different cultures. I was born in Birmingham, but my skin is brown as my parents were born in India. People, including friends of mine, tend to think of India as my home, whereas I feel that I am more culturally 'British' than a lot of other British people, particularly due to my love of the English language and my love of literature. This poem is meant to question the idea of culture or home, and make people think about those themes.'
Elsewhere I left my shoes elsewhere. They were embarrassingly dazzling, sequins And fake jewels Glinting in the sunlight. (Not that thereâ€&#x;s much sun in this country.) I left my voice elsewhere. It was too heavy to carry both, so I made the choice Mastered the local tongue, Though it still sounds off-key to me. Too low: the sound of misunderstandings. (Not that I seek understanding.) I left my tastebuds elsewhere. They made my neighbours glare at me over the garden fence, Nostrils affronted by spices, gaze fixed On the turmeric stains on my English blouse. I left my culture elsewhere. If you find it, will you let me know?
'I wrote this one morning when I woke up with the first line in my head, and I turned over and saw my partner softly sleeping. The tone of the poem is meant to convey the feeling of love, while the words appear to laugh at it.'
A Poem on Your Lips At the dawn of the morning There's a poem on your lips, And before you lose it yawning, I steal it with a kiss. Now I hold it in my cheeks And I swill the words around, Tasting for a lyric, Feeling for a sound. I swim around the adverbs, My tongue a sailing ship, Defining jumbled letters; Swirling nouns on my lip. Cheeks swelling with possibilities, Searching for the niceties. What treasures do the lyrics hold? I press them down: Underline and bold, Then swallow them whole. I think they spelled: â€œI love you.â€? How. Un. Original.
'I wrote this for the environmental campaign of the same name, after I read that Tony Hayward's initial response to the BP oil spill was that it was '(relatively) tiny.' The Tate is sponsored by dirty oil (BP) while the Tate website proudly proclaims its ethical policy, ie that it will not accept funds from a donor who has “acted, or is believed to have acted, illegally in the acquisition of funds.”' Art Not Oil Crude oil, oil spill Workers die, marine kill Crude reaction Lack of action It's on the flow To Mexico Who's to blame? Noobody knows Tony Hayward, BP CEO: It's “relatively tiny” compared with the “very big O.” And the world is so small In the mind of Hayward His views are drastically, fantastically wayward; Tony the phony What an old crony Can't hear through the veil Of his own balony; Reached a new low, he Can't hear Can't see; Can't smell through the stench of his own money. 1989, Exxon Valdez, 2005, 15 workers dead Oil, crude oil Still polluting Alaska 18 years after 11 workers' deaths later... Who's to blame now? Not Exxon, nohow; They've supported the research of facts: Funded 350 independent studies into 'significant long-term impact.' The problem of this pollution Requires a creative solution Of the spontanious grassroots sort; Not top-down marketing paid-for-and-bought. The Tate is being scaled The world of creation, failed And every poet, writer, musician And painter will be sailed In a sea of thick darkness Awash with deceit; The world of oil giants From which there is no retreat. Close the Australian beach; It's an easier retreat Than cleaning up the mess Made by BP's latest feat.
The oil giants are on the move; Now they're after our spirit They want to own our expressions And to influence every bit Put a price on our imaginations Stunt the realisations Master our creations; They're after the sell And their logo's a shell But we know that it's covered in oil: A real artist's Hell. And they're well on their way To creating a society Of corporate creation And the kind of insanity Of the Niger Delta Where people face calamity Thanks to the spills: Remember CRUDE OIL KILLS And now they want to sponsor Art of every kind, My advice is this: Let not the blind lead the blind Your creative message will not spoil If you paint your canvas with oil; Do create for your kind, But leave the crudeness behind; For crude oil leaves a mark On the soul and mind. Exxon, Shell, and dear old BP Leave our art alone... We've seen what you've done to the sea.
Adam Brummett Piss-Take of an Introduction (in D) Either... 1.) Composed on the freshly skinned pelts of woodland animals, Adam Brummitt's 'Gentleman's Fury' channels the suffering the author inflicted upon the wretched creatures, eviscerating the vermin as he did with his pen. Written in intervals, the spectrum of victims that fell beneath his instrument of torture were widely varied- the most squirrels, though branching so far as feral dogs and grazing livestock, on one extreme occasion taking the life of a badger- and the poem was framed over several long weeks, bringing the death toll to more than 40 mammals and aviaries. Brummitt is otherwise a devout vegan and long-time supporter of the RSPCA and PETA. Or... 2.) Written whilst spending half a year panhandling barefoot on Exeter's High Street, Adam Brummitt's 'Gentleman's Fury' is a portrait of the maniacal umbrage that possesses most those exposed to the human pestilence with which the author was greeted everyday. Thankfully, never succumbing to his homicidal impulses, the poem served to curb and satiate the need to thin the herd of drones that might (speaking philosophically) have better been dispatched. Brummitt has, since writing the piece, taken to counseling AIDS patients and teaching basic grammar to illiterate seeing-eye dogs.
Gentleman's Fury It cannot be openly seen, A blunt carefully cradled, pressed to palm, Cleverly concealed 'neath his cuff, A blunt not so much to cut as to bludgeon, The Click/Snap of a retractable pen, A prelude to an unperpetrated, Rage. Prickly Ponce, Princely Pedant, Unrelenting Incurable Unabashed Insufferable Profane Pervert, A Dirty Old Man before his time, and much else. Stately scrutinous disdain, Lording over all For which he's no Singed deed. All his, And he beholden to None the slacked jawed Vacancy of human life Through which he traverses In streets of living death. Calling upon and invoking the Gods within him, He whispers unheard prayers For a mass culling, To blight those already bereft of soul. May the Lord hear His Prayer...
Visual Art by... Vicky Cowell Originally involved in the world of the Media, Public Relations and Advertising, Vicky developed a keen interest in the world of medical research when her only child, Laura, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) in 1985. Vicky joined the national patients‟ group Seriously Ill for Medical Research (SIMR) in 1992 and was Chair of the organisation for nine years. Following the untimely death, in May 2002, of SIMR‟s Director and Founder, Vicky was appointed the new Director – a role she fulfilled for over six years. She was also the Editor of HOPE, the organisation‟s quarterly magazine. Ever keen to broaden her horizons Vicky has recently embarked on a new venture – as a freelance photographer!
Dan Underwood Dan is 24 years old, from Saltash, Cornwall. He is a budding young entrepreneur using his talents to build a positive and creative business that helps young people both locally and nationally. Dan is the founder and owner of The HIVE, a company that helps young people by developing and providing positive learning solutions from the standpoint of young people using a variety of mediums such as coaching, publications and workshops. In his spare time he has a passion for photography with special interest in landscapes aiming to capture the world‟s beauty. He hopes to do more in the future and produce some memorable pieces to share with the world.
Steve Smith 'I'm not a visual artist in any way- I've just been filling up a few white spaces in the past few issues of the magazine, taking some sort of theme to tie it all together; hopefully with a touch of humour. These ones show various co-habitants of ours juxtaposed with works that question certain aspects of society. Little Ted was my companion when I was homeless for a while; he wears his Zappa badge proudly. Vicky's doll Jemmima-Mai says “Screw you!” to just about everything, and continues to pen her autobiography, 'Memoirs of a Pink Doll,' despite being eternally one-and-a-half years old. Their choices, and those of their comrades' audio, visual and literary items are well worth investigating in our current socio-political climate. There- I've got politics in there again (see previous issue).'
Adam Grose On the front cover this issue: 'A kaleidoscopic image of a fractured mirror. The idea comes from the way the world is fragmented and divided due in part to political ideals and corporate control of Earth's resources. The mirror represents the reflection of society and that to change the way the world is, one must change. The world is a mirror of our own fears and manipulated indoctrinisation- yet as we approach 2012 and the Mayans' knowledge of a realignment of our solar system to the galactic centre, change is upon us. Make sure you follow your heart and make the right change.'
CONTACTING US! We hope you have enjoyed reading and thinking about the work in 'Reflections#7' Don't forget to contact us at exeterreflections @ googlemail. com You can also join our Facebook group Our new website will be created soon(ish) and we'll let people know as soon as it's sorted Here's how you can get in touch with the contributors in this issue: Shelley Bennett- shelleyannbennett68 @ googlemail.com Adam Brummitt- abrummitt81 @ gmail.com Ruth Butler- ruthbutler @ talktalk.net Steve Carnell- poet @ the23rdmojo.co.uk Geoffrey Godbert- Godbert1 @ aol.com Tom Hutchinson- fallussholio @ hotmail.com Zion Lights- zio.lights @ googlemail.com Oli Nejad- olinejad @ live.co.uk Helen Louise Owton- hellsmell @ hotmail.co.uk Laura Quigley- lauraquigley @ excite.co.uk Steve Smith- stevesmithfragments @ googlemail.com Matthew Banks- matthewedwardbanks @ yahoo.co.uk Vicky Cowell- vickycowell @ btinternet.com Adam Grose- adgros @ hotmail.com www. adamgrose.com Dan Underwood- underwood @ live.com
REFLECTIONS Published by Steve Smith / Reflections Magazine copyright Steve Smith 2010 Editor Steve Smith Sub-Editor Vicky Franklin Front and Back Covers Adam R Grose Design and b/w photos Steve Smith All work is the copyright of the authors and artists so don't nick anything or Jemmima-Mai will come round and duff you up
NEXT ISSUE – WINTER 2011
Printed by kallkwik Fore St, Exeter 01392 660099
price £4.00 'Reflections' is a non-profit making publication
Oli Nejad 7 Elton Road, 1992 I remember fluorescent childhood dream: A stuffed bear, clutched in silk hand At the love-torn seams.