The Quarterday Review Vol. 2 Issue 3: August (Lughnasadh) 2016

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The

Volume 2, Issue 3 August 2016 ISSN: 2397-8481 (Print) ISSN: 2059 0938 (Electronic)

QUARTERDAY Review

Lughnasadh 2016 Edited by LJ Mcdowall and Leslie E. Owen



THE QUARTERDAY REVIEW The Poetry of Mythic Journeys Vol. 2 Issue 3 Lughnasadh 2016 Poetry by: |NICK HUMEZ | RIVER HOLLINS |CLIVE TERN| | WILLIAM RULEMAN | MARCUS BALES |JANE YOLEN | | MARK J. MITCHELL |JB MULLIGAN | ANTON ROSE | | DEREK KANNEMEYER |JEAN L. KREILING | | SHERRY STUART-BERMAN| | BRUCE PARKER | LEE TODD LACKS | | CATHERINE WALD | |CHRISTOPHER GOFF | CHRISTOPHER SCRIBNER| |R. BREMNER |ELIZABETH SPENCER SPRAGINS | | BRIAN ALLGAR | LIUSAIDH |TERESA ZEMAITIS | | LOUISE FABIANI | MOLLY MURRAY | JESSY RANDALL | | DANIEL. M. SHAPIRO | SIMON WILLIAMS | | SUSAN TAYLOR | ELIZABETH ARCHER | 1


QUARTERDAY PRESS First Edition, First Printing First published in 2016 by Quarterday. www.quarterday.org All rights reserved. Forword, Afterword and Reviews copyright © LJ McDowall 2016. Poetry copyright © 2016 respective poets. Selection copyright © 2016 LJ McDowall and Leslie E. Owen. Cover Image: © Unholy Vault Designs reproduced under licience from shutterstock.com Vector Illustrations: © Various Artists reproduced under licence from vectorstock.com The rights of the respective poets to be identified as the authors of their work have been asserted in accordance with Section 77 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. The right of LJ McDowall and Leslie E. Owen to be identified as the editors of this selection have been asserted in accordance with Section 77 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. British Library ADN: 1 7 7 4 6 3 4 6 ISSN: 2397-8481 (Print) ISSN: 2059 0938 (Electronic)

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Contents The Summer of Discontent——9 Foreward by LJ McDowall The Poems Editor’s Choice: The Inchcape Rock (1801)——13 A ballad by Robert Southey ‘The severed head of Lugh, the legend goes’ ——17 A sonnet by Nick Humez Philando’s Villanelle——18 A villanelle by River Hollins Fog in the Channel: A Brexit Villanelle——19 Variation on a villanelle by Clive Tern Rich Summer, When the Flashing Scythes Sweep Low——20 Rhyming pentameter quatrains by Georg Heym (tr. William Ruleman) Song of the Self-Denying Father——22 Rhyming quatrains by William Ruleman Song of the Clinging Mother——23 A ballad (with variations) by William Ruleman On a kinsman who died young——24 A Petrarchan sonnet by William Ruleman American Tune——25 A sonnet by Marcus Bales The System Worked——26 Rhymed stanzas by Marcus Bales Privilege ——27 Rhymed stanzas by Marcus Bales

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An Octode to an Octopus——29 An Ode by Jane Yolen Melody——31 An englyn penfyr by Mark J. Mitchell Repetition——32 A sestina by Mark J. Mitchell The Professor’s Fate——34 Accentual Verse by JBMulligan ‘Squeeze the pips’——35 A shintai haiku by Anton Rose A Family Manuscript——36 A sestina by Derek Kannemeyer Performing the Brahms Requiem ——38 Rhymed and metrical stanzas by Jean L. Kreiling b Approaching the City——39 A sonnet crown by Jean L. Kreiling Rescue——42 Rhymed and metrical stanzas by Jean L. Kreiling Kepler-186f——44——-An acrostic poem by Sherry Stuart-Berman Three (Un)silent Things——45 Cinquains by Sherry Stuart-Berman An Old Goddess Gives Up——46 A palindrome by Sherry Stuart-Berman ‘On a flight over’——47 A classical haiku by Bruce Parker Lyric——47 Free verse by Bruce Parker

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Cats at the Door——48 A mirror sonnet by Catherine Wald ‘Keep silent secrets’ ——49 A classical tanka by Lee Todd Lacks Mid-Summer’s Light——50 A sonnet by Christopher Goff For Creeds Outworn——51 A sonnet by Christopher Goff Pondfield Road——52 A sonnet by Christopher Goff Unrequited——53 A prose poem by Christopher Scribner ‘Sketch me a sketch of that fabulous wretch’——54 Metered rhyme by R. Bremner Afternoon Tea in the Garden——55 A clogyrnach by Elizabeth Spencer Spragins Just for the record——57 Blank verse by Brian Allgar The Prince of Venosa——58 A sonnet by Brian Allgar Stick to your guns——59 A sonnet by Brian Allgar Self-Defence——60 Song lyrics by Liùsaidh Midsummer Persephone——63 A sonnet crown by Liùsaidh ‘The English summer—’ ——65 A haiku by Liùsaidh

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Bovary——66 A glosa by Louise Fabiani This is Winter Now——68 A villanelle by Louise Fabiani Isle of Skye——69 Prose poetry by Teresa Zemaitis Coffee Cupping——70 Triversen by Molly Murray Skyful of Moon——71 Triversen by Molly Murray Troll Tanka——72 A classical tanka by Jessy Randall and Daniel M. Shapiro Sestina for Steve——73 A sestina by Jessy Randall Assay Villanelle—Wind——75 A villanelle with assay content by Simon Williams 5 x 17 in Dartington Gardens——74 A sequence of 17-syllable haiku by Simon Williams Out of Temporal Bones——75 A Villanelle by Simon Williams Awe——79 A free-verse one-liner by Simon Williams Shock and Awe——79 A free-verse one-liner by Simon Williams Still Woman——80 A sonnet of subtle half-rhymes by Susan Taylor Daphne——81 Free-form rhyme by Susan Taylor

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‘Tripping a Villanelle on Acupuncture’——82 A variation on a villanelle by Susan Taylor Climate Change——83 A variation on a sonnet by Elizabeth Archer Winnowing——84 Rhymed stanzas by Elizabeth Archer Literary Criticism: Bodies by Gareth Writer-Davies.——87 Review by LJ McDowall Direct Lines to Hell by R.W. Watkins ——88 Review by LJ McDowall Of Mice and Rats: Negotiating the English Language Haiku——91 A Critical Essay by LJ McDowall Contributors——97

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The Summer of Discontent

FOREWARD by LJ McDOWALL

—This issue is darker than I’d hoped. Perhaps the tone reflects the dismal wash-out of the Scots summer, or perhaps it’s the apprehension and despair sweeping Britain and America ahead of the US Presidential Election and in the wake of the referendum on the issue of Britain leaving the European Union. Normally, we stay clear of politics here, but this issue is unapologetically political in tone. Our poets have attacked the issues of the day with fervour. We’ve heeded Dante’s warning, and not preserved neutrality at a time of great moral crisis. —It would seem, a mere eight decades from the last time Europe embraced authoritarian nationalism and America flirted hard with it, that we still haven’t learned. This summer has been scarred by all-to-familiar precursors of man’s great inhumanities to man: Stateside political violence rising in response to the summary extrajudicial executions of young black men, while on this side of the Atlantic a kind of Kristallnacht swept England, where there’s been a 50% rise in hate crime in the wake of the Brexit referendum. —Behold the rise of the mob, pogrom politics, easy answers trotted out by wicked, politically opportunistic retro-nationalists who would see Britain and America burn in the ‘purifying fires’ to ‘make them great again’. We were already great. Our respective nations have become meaner, and smaller, by putting our faith in such men. Europe’s Jews, including British Jewry, are on the move once more, conscious of whom the mob comes for eventually. Swastikas have been sprayed on Jewish doorways, Polish shops have been smashed. We live in troubling times, and the lessons of history are not on our side. —Where does this leave the poets? Where we have always been, telling the truth. Unlike many I do not believe that poetry is the natural territory of the Left. Poets belong across the political spectrum. The thread that unites all of us is a contempt for authoritarianism, and the abuse of power. Lovers of 9


truth, poets naturally abhor any political reality where brazen falsehood becomes a normalised focus of the national debate. Authoritarianism of any political flavour has always been our worst enemy and our greatest muse. —This issue opens with a tale of hubris and self-destructive mischief in the form of Robert Southey’s 1801 poem The Inchcape Rock, followed by Nick Humez’ and Clive Tern’s comment on the Brexit vote that set Britain firmly on a path to self-implosion and isolation within its continent. River Hollins and Marcus Bales tackle race and policing in the United States. From there, celebrated children’s author and poet Jane Yolen moves this issue into lighter territory, although the darker, disgruntled mood of this issue can be felt through most of the poetry, even with the light verse. —On a more positive note, we’ve seen more poets experimenting and submitting rare forms of classical verse. Louise Fabiani brings us her variation of the glosa, while Molly Murray explores the rarely seen triversen. Welsh lyric poetry from Mark J. Mitchell and Elizabeth Spencer Spraggins. This is exactly what we hoped Quarterday would lead to: a mini-renaissance of classical verse where poets, unafraid of being rejected on the grounds that the editors are intimidated by an obscure form have researched and revived our rich and diverse literary heritage. —We’re also carrying more Asian-form verse in this issue, with classical tanka, the Japanese court lyric, from Lee Todd Lacks and Jessy Randall. In publishing a range of English Language Haiku in this issue—from experimental shintai ‘new form’ haiku from Anton Rose, to strict 5-7-5 classical haiku from myself and Bruce Parker, to a 17-syllable hybrid haiku from Simon Williams where the 5-7-5 line counts are abandoned (but the overall count retained). We explore the difficulties of importing Asian form poetry into English in our critical essay Of Mice and Rats. —As this issue centres on the male voice, and masculinity, we see Man’s great endeavours, his hopes, frustrations and ill considered decisions writ large. Last quarter’s shameless editorial ranting seems to have had some effect and we’ve had far more female submitters this time around and consequently female poets are better represented in this issue—long may that continue. Yet we cannot deny that once again, we’ve tipped towards the darkness of our time. The loss of talent, and the elevation of stupidity as a national—or international—cult. It is those forms that speak to worry and obsession and recurring worries, the sestina and the villanelle, that rule this August. —This issue, it seems, rounds off the summer of our discontent.

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The Poems

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Robert Southey A BALLAD

The Inchcape Rock No stir in the air, no stir in the sea, The Ship was still as she could be; Her sails from heaven received no motion, Her keel was steady in the ocean. Without either sign or sound of their shock, The waves flow’d over the Inchcape Rock; So little they rose, so little they fell, They did not move the Inchcape Bell. The Abbot of Aberbrothok Had placed that bell on the Inchcape Rock; On a buoy in the storm it floated and swung, And over the waves its warning rung. When the Rock was hid by the surge’s swell, The Mariners heard the warning Bell; And then they knew the perilous Rock, And blest the Abbot of Aberbrothok The Sun in the heaven was shining gay, All things were joyful on that day; The sea-birds scream’d as they wheel’d round, And there was joyaunce in their sound. The buoy of the Inchcape Bell was seen A darker speck on the ocean green; Sir Ralph the Rover walk’d his deck, And fix’d his eye on the darker speck. He felt the cheering power of spring, It made him whistle, it made him sing; His heart was mirthful to excess, But the Rover’s mirth was wickedness.

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His eye was on the Inchcape Float; Quoth he, “My men, put out the boat, And row me to the Inchcape Rock, And I’ll plague the Abbot of Aberbrothok.” The boat is lower’d, the boatmen row, And to the Inchcape Rock they go; Sir Ralph bent over from the boat, And he cut the bell from the Inchcape Float. Down sank the Bell with a gurgling sound, The bubbles rose and burst around; Quoth Sir Ralph, “The next who comes to the Rock, Won’t bless the Abbot of Aberbrothok.” Sir Ralph the Rover sail’d away, He scour’d the seas for many a day; And now grown rich with plunder’d store, He steers his course for Scotland’s shore. So thick a haze o’erspreads the sky, They cannot see the sun on high; The wind hath blown a gale all day, At evening it hath died away. On the deck the Rover takes his stand, So dark it is they see no land. Quoth Sir Ralph, “It will be lighter soon, For there is the dawn of the rising Moon.” “Canst hear,” said one, “the breakers roar? For methinks we should be near the shore.” “Now, where we are I cannot tell, But I wish we could hear the Inchcape Bell.” They hear no sound, the swell is strong, Though the wind hath fallen they drift along; Till the vessel strikes with a shivering shock, “Oh Christ! It is the Inchcape Rock!”

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Sir Ralph the Rover tore his hair, He curst himself in his despair; The waves rush in on every side, The ship is sinking beneath the tide. But even is his dying fear, One dreadful sound could the Rover hear; A sound as if with the Inchcape Bell, The Devil below was ringing his knell.

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Nick Humez

A SONNET

The severed head of Lugh, the legend goes, lies buried on your island nation's shore facing the Channel, watching, lest the foes in these dire times invading, as of yore (Vikings and Saxons, the Iberian fleet, the Nazi rocket bombs), shall crush your folk, good solid English folk, beneath their feet and set on Albion's neck an alien yoke. —But now your folk, for fear of all who flee —the mayhem of a native land aflame, —chop off your own heads, brainless: ‘“Refugee” —be damned; it's Brussels that's to blame; —of European Union we'll have none!’ ——and Lugh departs, extinguishing the sun.

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River Hollins A VILLANELLE

Philando’s Villanelle Philando Divall Castile (July 16, 1983 – July 6, 2016) Castile's lengthy rap sheet for minor traffic violations will raise questions over whether police in Minnesota are targeting the black community to raise revenue. — The Daily Mail, July 8, 2016

They gunned him down, those cops. A sick attack. The ones they fear are ‘random-stopped’ on sight, Philando, in his car, was driving black. The headlines, solemn as a graveyard plaque (Even the tabloid rags reported right): They gunned him down, those cops, a sick attack. Castile had petty priors—such a stack For, thirty times pulled over, day and night, Philando, in his car, was driving black. Yet, will his killer even get the sack? ‘It’s homicide,’ the M.E. chose to write, They gunned him down, those cops, a (sic) attack. For Phil, the white guy, would have made it back. Resistance? None. There raged no bloody fight, Philando, in his car, was driving black. It's said that all lives matter. Well, not quite, His death is inked in red and blue. And white. They gunned him down, those cops—a sick attack— Philando, in his car, was driving black.

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Clive Tern

VARIATIONS ON A VILLANELLE

Fog in the Channel: A Brexit Villanelle A paper in the thirties once reported (perhaps, it’s possibly apocryphal) ‘Fog in the channel, Continent cut off.’ ‘We need envisioned men, leaders who lead who’ll fill hungry bellies with work-won bread.’ Newspapers in the nineteen-thirties said These immigrants, non-natives—scummy dross. We want them out! We want—not soon enough— ‘Fog in the channel, Continent cut off.’ ‘Their radical ideas sound awful, true but you can trust them, for they’re nothing bad.’ The papers in the thirties once reported. Our isolation, led by braying toffs Respond to Europe with the scoff ‘There is fog in the Channel, Continent cut off.’ Twenty-sixteen, and papers have reported Europe no good: We’re off, we’ve had enough. As papers in the nineteen thirties said ‘Fog in the channel, Continent cut off.’ _______________ Editorial Note: The Hollins and Tern villanelles demonstrate a core principle at the heart of the Quarterday philosophy, that in poetry form should follow function. The villanelle in English is used to convey, as Philip K. Jason suggested, one degree or other obsession or preoccupation. In Philando, Hollins’ use of the formal refrain structure mimics Castile’s repeated arrests, while her slightly choppy rhythm indicates the ‘found’ origins of the poem in news reports. Fog in the Channel also focuses on current events, and lifts directly from the current and past news reports. Tern departs more radically from the villanelle form while retaining its essential quality. We invite the reader to contrast these two ways of applying the principle of form following function to a poem and the ways in which these respective poets have chosen to reject, adapt or retain the elements of the form to serve their chosen theme.

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Georg Heym

RHYMING PENTAMETER QUATRAINS

Reicher Sommer, Da Die Sicheln Blinken . . . Reicher Sommer, da die Sicheln blinken Auf der Flur, und schon die goldnen Garben Von der Schnitter Schlag in Schwaden sinken, Und des Sommers bunte Blumen starben, Einst war Frühling hier, da noch dem Pfluge Unsre Augen folgten bis zum Rande, Und der heimwärts ziehnden Vögel Zuge Über Wald und Tal im kühlen Lande. Zeit der Lese, da sie Kränze winden Aus den Ähren, die wir reifen sahen, Und wir wissen Worte nicht zu finden, Wo des Herbstes Trauer will uns nahen.

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Georg Heym

RHYMING PENTAMETER QUATRAINS

Rich Summer, When the Flashing Scythes Sweep Low

Rich summer, when the flashing scythes sweep low Upon the meadow, and the sheaves of gold Already sink in swaths from the reaper’s blow; When summer’s gaudy flowers are growing old— O it was spring here once, and once our eyes Still traced the plow up to the forest stand, And homeward-soaring birds filled up the skies Above the wood and vale in the still-chill land. Now it is harvest, when we watch them wind Silk wreaths and garlands from the husks of ears We once saw ripen, and we fail to find The words to say when autumn’s sorrow nears. tr. William Ruleman

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William Ruleman

RHYMING QUATRAINS

Song of the Self-Denying Father You have to fight for the right to live, O yes you do. The world will not politely give This gift to you. You have to get out there like a man Your day in the sun. Give the battle all you can; Who said it was fun? Then you can grimly chew your bread In your hour of rest, Knowing you’ve earned your roof and bed And done your best.

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William Ruleman

A BALLAD

Song of the Clinging Mother O you must go to school, my dear; O you must go to school, To learn to be my fool, my dear, And follow every rule. You’ll learn to do things right, my dear; You’ll learn to do things right. And fight the well-fought fight, my dear, The fight all men must fight. And you’ll go far in life, my dear. Yes, you’ll go far in life. A dignified career, my dear, Nice home, nice car, nice wife. But don’t you go too far, my dear, No, don’t you go too far. For you may reach a star, my dear, And you may touch that star. But stars are hot; they’ll burn you, dear. They’ll burn you to the core. They’ll strike you down in dread and fear; Is this what life is for? And then you’ll come back home, my dear. Yes, then you’ll limp on home, Your tail between your legs, my dear, Never more to roam.

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William Ruleman

A PETRACHAN SONNET

On a Kinsman Who Died Young for William Coley Hays (1987-2016) How could I wish you other than what you were? Our eyes and hair and smile were much the same; We shared a love for beer and the Christian name Of a certain successful Norman conqueror. Our sense of what was right and good was sure, Yet when our warped world grants the wicked fame, I too have cast about for whom to blame And find the demons inside me hard to deter. The madness all around can make us mean. Yet you were keen enough to ween the dark Must first be charged before our seeds see light. Now you precede us to that ceaseless green, That magic rooster-and-raccoon-rampant park Where you are master, glorious in His sight.

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Marcus Bales

A SONNET

American Tune I'm a racist—a leitmotif that works on my behalf just walking down the street. If Bo next door does, neighbors think he lurks: a head turns quick, a curtain moves, a beat cop slows his car until he sees the child who's holding daddy's hand, then moves along. The same cop saw me yesterday and smiled and waved. And that is my thematic song, the background music making me look good. It plays me in and out of stores and shops, and everybody seems to hear the tune. Here or there, it's subtly understood I manifest the norm, and no one stops to wonder why, this privileged afternoon.

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Marcus Bales

RHYMED STANZAS

The System Worked A black man on a roof said he'd jump off— he threatened to commit his suicide. Two cops edged toward him, brave enough to scoff at death, and pushed him off. He died. Two other cops drove up there at the scene and watched his body twitching as it bled. Their lives in danger, they put seventeen bullets in to make sure he was dead. And when the captain got there just in time to watch the cell-phone videos again, he said "The man threatened to commit a crime and was prevented. I'm standing by my men." The politicians praised the firm restraint with which the cops performed their duty well. The family filed a civil law complaint; the prosecutor told them to go to hell.

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Marcus Bales

RHYMED STANZAS

Privilege I sip my coffee, nibble at my scone and try to look ironic or sincere so you may think it's sad that I'm alone and fuck me here. I swivel slightly so that I display my shabby-chic or well-pressed pants, and how I read the business section. Any way you'll fuck me now? Open, smiling, or mysterious— A sunny picnic or a cloud-dimmed moon— I'll play whatever part you see for us, but fuck me soon. I'm showered, shaved, and clean, and have a job, a car, a place; I don't show any warning signs to keep you here among this mob— let's fuck this morning. I sip again and nibble while I stare across the distance through the glass, my face a pleasant smile—I'm harmless as the air— let’s fuck—your place? I make a light remark about the rain and use the word 'Impressionist'—you see, I don't have only one thing on my brain— just fuck with me. Someone loudly tells a baseball joke; I laugh along with you—you see, we've got some common interests, and no, I do not smoke. Let's fuck. You're hot.

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You stand and smile politely as you leave— you've got a meeting you can't miss, and which you're almost late for, giving me the heave. Oh, fuck you, bitch. You stand and smile politely as you leave— you've got a meeting you can't miss, and which you're almost late for, giving me the heave. Oh, fuck you, bitch.

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Jane Yolen AN ODE

An Octode to An Octopus O, rounded, mounded head, Ocean sunflower, bending In insistent tides, As in a summer’s breeze. I am not allergic to your scent, Nor sneeze when I’m near you; So well cultivated, I hear you In the nursery of the sea. You will not be scythed down, forced Into cut glass pitcher for the table, But perambulate the underwaves, Leaving but a bubble trail. O, the tale of Ocean’s Kali, your sinuous arms, the bulb of head Invite this poet’s admiration, Who has written about heather, roses. But none so beautiful as the petals Of your arms, swell of your head, Opal cups on the octet of your limbs, The ink pens of your escapes.

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The Quarterday Review is an award-nominated international literary journal dedicated to classical poetry forms from around the world, published from Scotland. We also publish literary criticism and reviews of poetry chapbooks and anthologies every quarter. The Quarterday Review is a rare venue for long, epic, and narrative poetry. All human beings, heroes, and minor dieties are encouraged to submit irrespective of their nationality, ethnicity, sexuality, political opinion, or gender. For more information on our submissions process, please visit our website at www.quarterday.org.

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Mark J. Mitchell AN ENGLYN PENFYR

Melody My dream is cluttered with scraps of language— Small, strangely baited traps that seduce me with gaps Between vowels and accents, playing games that train the ear to pray as sleep melts into day.

_____________ Editorial Note: Another rare Welsh form for this issue, the englyn penfyr is a quantitative verse form where the counting of syllables is necessary. As with other Welsh forms few poets in English attempt them, preferring the more ubiquitous short Asian-form poems for short-form expression. The form consists of a verse of three lines in a 10-7-7 syllabic format with a rigid pattern of rhyme and half-rhyme, with every line containing a repeating pattern of consonants and accent known as a cynghanedd. The seventh, eighth or ninth syllable of the first line introduces the rhyme and this is repeated on the last syllable of the other two lines. The fourth syllable of the second line echoes the final syllable of the first through either rhyme or consonance: x x x x x x x x (x a) a x x x x x b x x x x x x b Sources: Wikipedia Commons and The Poet’s Garret https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Englyn http://www.thepoetsgarret.com/celtic2.html#engpen

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Mark J. Mitchell A SESTINA

“I repeat what I said last Sunday” —Soren Kierkegaard

Repetition The story never told concerned shoes that carried you from place through time to another time and place and all the sorrow that came along with that untamed gift. First, you’d chase the perfect gift to repay the giver (you were told to make good all debts that came your way quickly. So carried to Eden, you saw it was the wrong place, perhaps, but it was the perfect time. So you’d jump ahead beyond your time and, distracted, forget the gift or just decide you couldn’t replace a pair of shoes that offered untold adventures. The first journey miscarried. You leapt again and then came out in a canyon that became a grotto and you knew it was time for a miracle (and one came but you missed it) dazzled by the gift of journeys like the ones told in boys’ stories you can’t quite place

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but you heard someplace before—maybe that blond parrot who came out of an impossible forest told them before you placed him back in time. Or in that tall book, the Christmas gift that dropped from the bag your grandmother carried— The one unlike the case your father carried— the one he grasped so tightly, that you misplaced when you ran away from the school for gifted failures. He never knew what became of it. You never confessed but that one time you whispered it to the secret nun who told you what came of sinning. But you got carried away by these shoes, it’s told. There’s just no place to hide a gift plucked from the teeth of time.

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JBMulligan

ACCENTUAL VERSE

The Professor’s Fate Rumors from the television come to him from the distant bedroom, muttered murmuring of the latest doom. The children have left home, are somewhere else tonight, out on life's rim, spinning away from him. And her. She and the sour cat, in that dim candle-like flicker, in some sexless, half-buried way, manage to seem a couple, while he, in the calm of reading yet another antique tome, is alone, content to claim a life self-damned to emulate the numb indifference of a tomb to whom is buried there, to sleep without dream. “I sink, therefore I am.” His grin is brief. The TV's sporadic hum has ceased. The brutal drum of the mantle clock continues, chopping time to cubes that he can cram past dentures down his throat, a tasteless sham of feasting. He's become that being whom the vicious gods condemn to nearly drown, to swim against persistent waves of an endless stream of shit and pus and scum. Outside, horrified peepers have been struck dumb.

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Anton Rose A SHINTAI HAIKU

Squeeze the pips a blood orange watch the setting sun

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Derek Kannemeyer A SESTINA

A Family Manuscript In its last story, there's a witness tree that has stood for two hundred years by a bay. A fisherman's boy who lives in the village is scared of it at night, because of the shadow it casts on his cottage walls; he has had dreams. We come to suspect things about those dreams, although we aren't shown them. That the tree, for example, or perhaps the shadow it casts, has been feeding on the lives, over the years, of those who have slept too near it; that at night it whispers to the child in the voices of those lives, one voice particularly: a man the child relives each day a memory of, learned from the dreams. Each day he becomes less himself, more this night visitor; and each night, he surrenders to the tree some memory of his own, from his twelve years of boats and nets and tides, of hooks and casts— of merry apprenticeship to the roles they're cast in, who are born to this fishing village and its lives. (The dead man, the one who haunts the boy, spent years struggling with that mesh of knots, its chafe of dreams.) By the last page, the boy is beside the witness tree, holding a rag he's doused in engine fuel. It's night, it's spitting rain. He lights it. Hoists it to the night… For a moment, perhaps, we're unsure if he'll cast it into the wet wind-hiss and whisper of the tree or set it down; if the cry of the tree's lives is raised against or with him. Or if he's dreaming still; or has come awake as no one here has in years…

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My grandmother wrote such tales, mom says, for years. By oil light only, the word was, in the still of night. She slept quite poorly—because of strange dreams, she told mom once, and laughed, casting a look back, where the menfolk were. What lives, in the gnarls and the snarl of one's own family tree, theirs were, who can conceive? My dreams, my rote-lived days are puzzle enough. Yet just for tonight, a hundred years ago, here I come casting her sputter of blaze back in that tree.

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Jean L. Kreiling

RHYMED AND METRICAL STANZAS

Performing the Brahms Requiem The baritone sang thinly. I was standing behind him, in the alto section, sure of my own part, and I was certain, too, how his should sound. His tone should be commanding, vibrato more controlled, pitch more secure— or so began my merciless review. But by the second phrase or so, I heard a depth that I had missed before, or felt that depth, as he stood tall and bravely sang of purpose—Ziel the solid German word— so earnestly it was as if he’d knelt, and the immortal prayer rose and rang. I don’t know if his voice got stronger, or if I had learned to listen better, hearing what Brahms himself might once have had in mind: a moment of ineffable rapport when words and notes and art and faith were nearing true concord, beats and heartbeats all aligned. The baritone performed imperfectly, but with conviction. Lehre mich, he pled, teach me my days are limited, and so am I; teach me, he sang, the sanctity of hope. I took a breath and looked ahead to my part, less sure than a phrase ago. And in my doubt, it may be I knew more. I’d unlearned baseless certainty, but learned what music breathed into the words from Psalms. Hope tuned my grasp of the familiar score: I sang with grace unstudied and unearned, enlightened by the baritone and Brahms.

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Jean L. Kreiling SONNET CROWN

Approaching a City (after the painting by Edward Hopper, 1947) These tracks, ruthlessly straight and parallel, run right beside a massive, dingy wall, then disappear into what might be hell, considering this train’s reluctant crawl. One rider, though, believes her destination will be a wonderland where dreams come true— a place of brightly lit exhilaration, where she can shine, where life can be brand new. Her stomach churns a little; she’d admit that she’s what some would call a country mouse who may find urban crowds and noise and grit unnerving. But although she’s left a house she once loudly declared she never would, she knows the change of scene will do her good. She knows the change of scene will do her good, will satisfy desires she’s had for years— but past that dingy wall, the neighborhood looks murky, even grim; a fog of fears unsettles her. There’s so much brown and gray out there, so many rectangles; there’s grime instead of grass, concrete instead of hay, no gardens. Well, then, she won’t waste her time mowing a lawn; there won’t be weeds to pull, and in their stead, she knows that she’ll discover art, music, restaurants, her datebook full of fun and new friends and perhaps a lover. The slowing of the train steadies her heart: she can’t wait for her city life to start. She can’t wait for her city life to start: her city self will learn the ins and outs of avenues and stores; she’ll be street-smart in no time—and of course the tiny doubts that linger now will disappear. In fact, 39


she feels much better when she sees, quite clearly, that those brown buildings on her right are backed by one small wedge of blue, so small it’s nearly invisible, but still a sign of fair and pleasant weather, evidence that those who live here really do breathe some fresh air, despite the rumors. Her impatience grows, and she starts wondering who does live here, inside these concrete blocks, huge and austere. Inside these concrete blocks, huge and austere, beneath that tiny sliver of blue sky, behind dozens of windows, there appear no faces, not a single peering eye. Some curtains hang, some shades have been half-drawn, but no one looks out past the glass to see the train or sky. They couldn’t all have gone to work—where are the kids, the elderly? At home, the windows would be decorated with flower boxes; hands would wave, and faces would gaze out eagerly at what awaited them outdoors in those green, wide-open spaces (though very little ever happens there), while in this world, nobody seems to care. While in this world nobody seems to care for flowers or the outdoor view, she sees one red façade, and she can’t help but stare at that aberrant color. Does it please whoever lives there? She recalls the red suspenders Uncle George wears with his jeans, the scarlet roses Joan has always bred, the flag that hangs all summer at Maxine’s farm stand. She thinks of other hues: the pink of Aunt Lil’s cardigan, the yellow door at Bailey’s Bar (home of diluted drink), the purple uniforms of those who score the touchdowns at the high school—all the shades of home, so vivid now—but color fades.

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Home does seem vivid now, but color fades, and though there are some things and folks she’ll miss, she can’t stay there for homecoming parades or friendly farmers. She can reminisce and still anticipate good things to come, or so she tells herself. The train has stopped, and she stops looking back; she won’t succumb to homesickness. She really should have dropped that label “home” when she left there. She will find home right here in this dun-colored city— not right away, and maybe not until she’s had some trying times in this unpretty and unfamiliar place, but she’ll invent a better life, the kind for which she’s meant. A better life, the kind for which she’s meant, awaits beyond the tunnel up ahead, so she looks forward, leaving discontent behind. She stifles one more twinge of dread: this tunnel looks like some huge beast’s black maw, but it won’t bite; it’s just a dark cocoon from which she may emerge a little raw, but ready. This new life can’t start too soon. Now, with a rasping, raucous cough, the train starts up again; it hisses, picks up speed, pants past those brownish buildings with their plain, blank windows, rolls along dark rails that lead ahead, always ahead, the route marked well by tracks ruthlessly straight and parallel.

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Jean L. Kreiling

RHYMED AND METRICAL STANZAS

Rescue The siren wailed with nearby urgency, so Dad ran down the street to help, and learned that the abandoned building probably was ruined, all its contents badly burned. A piano stood among the ashes—well, just barely stood—its days of song were done. No latent tunes could have survived that hell; the piano’s death was clear to everyone. But Dad knew he’d found his next project there. He’d never played, and he had no ambition to do so, but he thought he could repair that wreck, and so began his rescue mission. It was revival more than restoration: he scrubbed life into keys maimed by the fire and saved the soundboard from smoke inhalation; he excised soot from yards of piano wire. Untrained, unmusical, he improvised; ignoring frowns of friendly skepticism, he mended felts and hammers, then devised rough rehab for the pedal mechanism. He healed what looked like fatal injuries when he patched up the charred and peeling case, enabling countless newborn melodies to breathe within a well-knit carapace. That piano got another chance to sing, and echoes of its rescue live today, long years and miles beyond its wood and string: because of Dad’s hard work, I learned to play.

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And in the decades since, I’ve drawn the breath of Bach and Brahms and Chopin from the keys of many pianos, confident that death— by fire or flood or commonplace disease— can’t silence them. Their voices rescue me in my own hours of ash—a modulation of Dad’s well-practiced ingenuity and diligence and love in each vibration.

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Sherry Stuart-Berman AN ACROSTIC

Kepler-186f

Cygnus hints we are not alone: Omnipresent Earth, our Metaphysical notions intact. Now this Mathematical upstart with its Orbital motion and cool dwarf star? Newton might say, Let go our falling body, Pitch it like an apple badly bruised. Leave behind the poor place we have set. Adam is game, this time won’t Cover his nakedness and she, well again Eve is hungry, and late, so late to table.

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Sherry Stuart-Berman CINQUAINS

Three (Un)silent Things — after Adelaide Crapsey Grief Things change, then time beats back the distance between you and me and us, rearranging the loss. Birth Doubled over, my hands still the urge to sew this child back inside a body now undone. Chatter Worry wears like a tight sleeve, squeezing my mind shut as talking, talking, I thread the needle.

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Sherry Stuart-Berman A PALINDROME

An Old Goddess Gives Up The Nile is flooding, thrones persist, no king turns back: ISIS attack in Paris on the news. Isis speaks the President’s name, she hears “try and remember the Current is Criminal.” Ground forces swell, compel her to try the allied effort it takes to move her right leg. No stomach for another century of this, she thinks. It’s true; I have no spine. They tell her, you have outlived your spine. * They tell her, you have outlived your spine. She thinks, it’s true, I have no spine; no stomach for another century of this. The allied effort it takes to move her right leg is criminal. Ground forces swell, compel her to try, try and remember the current President’s name. She hears “ISIS attack in Paris” on the news, Isis speaks: The thrones persist, no king turns back. The Nile is flooding—

46


Bruce Parker

A FREE VERSE LYRIC AND A CLASSICAL HAIKU

Lyric The jointed wooden artist’s figure out of bed stiffly steps on legs like lambs. It is a night of charms, dreams made real, flesh made wood made flesh again. The heart peals laughter down years to come on our folly, on legs like lambs.

On a flight over snow-capped mountains, I still feel my body in yours

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Catherine Wald

A MIRROR SONNET

Cats at the Door Anxious cats pace at the door (as if we might not let them in). The waking mind remains unsure of who I am or might have been. The coffee’s steaming in the mug; it seems my feet are planted here. Dreams cling to me like smoky drugs, I hesitate to leave my lair. The cats attack their plate of food; Warm liquid slithers down my throat. The strictures of my mind and mood still sleep; all past remains remote. I don’t remember where I stood; I only know that this is good. I only know that this is good. I don’t remember where I stood. The snoozing past appears remote; I have no fear of mind or mood. Warm liquid slithers down my throat; the cats attack their plate of food, I take a step outside my lair. Dreams cling to me like smoky drugs, but now my feet are planted here, and coffee’s steaming in the mug. I am who I have always been— whatever that is–yes, I’m sure. The moment smiles and lets us in; Contented cats slip out the door.

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Lee Todd Lacks A CLASSICAL TANKA

Keep silent secrets moistening under where her slip shows below her thighs, earthy-scented, ebbing like a tidal pool at dawn.

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Christopher Goff

A SONNET

Mid-Summer’s Light Exhilarating August, that’s when I’d Thrill to the words that Milton’s Satan spoke. Fueled by adrenaline and Diet Coke, My marginalia filled the gaps beside Verse after thundering verse of Paradise Lost. I felt as if my mind had pierced the vault Of Heaven itself. It seemed my every thought Refused like Satan ever to be bossed By any lordship larger than my will. A molten fire was surging in my veins. It spun the wheels of my arterial mill. It stoked the black steam engine of my brain. With every urgent line of ink I spilled: Hail Lucifer! My chorus and refrain.

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Christopher Goff

A SONNET

For Creeds Outworn Across a span of Aeolian sea I saw A red so rare it seemed unnatural So accustomed was I to the brawl Of neon and of incandescent claws All scratching for attention in the black Of urban habitation: Stromboli Was spilling lava down toward the sea And for a wink I was transported back To Neolithic nights. I stood in awe Of moon and mountain, starry sky, the breeze, Of fire that flashed in the volcano’s maw, Of fish that fly, and gods of each of these: Abundance unconstrained by any law, Too glorious for six billion pairs of knees.

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Christopher Goff

A SONNET

Pondfield Road Who dreamed only the dead persist as ghosts? The souls of us unpassed, though still inurned In unfired clay, are scattering wisps almost Perceptible by eye. Though earth has turned In its diurnal cycle countless times Still I can sense that I can all but see My now-grown daughter singing jump-rope rhymes And acting her child-self, frolicsomely. The gate that guards our garden and our lawn Opens on a tableau yet vivant With pictures of her playing in the dawn Of life; as faint as breath, her spirit haunts The phantom landmarks that festoon the street Where she still seems to walk on spectral feet.

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Christopher Scribner A PROSE POEM

Unrequited Your blinded eyes cannot be seen—obscured by your shimmering descriptions, your hilly landscapes, your sherbet-colored vistas, the common rooting of trees in neighborhoods known and unknown; your languid easy language hints at intimacy; your candy panoramas intimidate, repelling with their beauty; walls of words that can’t be breached; they point toward, but cannot reach, the loss of death of which you speak; your sadness crouches beneath mountain streams and hides in glades fringed with evergreen; but of course it’s always just the outdoors, done distractingly rich—the dogwoods, the caterpillar preparing to cross over, the fungal groves in rotting trees, relentless moles in the garden, and the locusts—all of nature’s beauty save a semblance of a person, residing in the cellar, if anywhere, or nowhere, surely covered in loamy blackened tones, cowering in corners, with eyes that can’t perceive the moat of swiftlyflowing colors just outside the window you have battened down.

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R. Bremner METERED RHYME

Sketch me a sketch of that fabulous wretch who wanders from gutter to throne. And build me a dream of her ravenous scheme That protects her from being alone. O sing me a sigh from a long-lasting high To guide as I wantonly roam. Long may I hope beyond whiskey and dope That she’ll realize that I am her home.

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Elizabeth Spencer Spragins

A CLOGYRNACH

Afternoon Tea in the Garden Concealed by an old garden rose, The fairy queen took her repose. A cold cup of tea Near sandwich debris Held the key To her doze. The wait staff, weary of serving, Her inattention observing, Had coaxed kindly bees From gnarled apple trees With sly pleas, Lips curling. Unobserved, they brought honey wine, Laced the tea with fruit of the vine. She savored each sip, With tongue rimmed her lip, Lost her grip, Lay supine. She dreamed of a castle unknown, With turrets of silver and stone. A flag of gold thread Snapped high overhead— Motto read, ‘Vacant Throne.’ The eyes of her mind opened wide— A monarch transformed checked the tide And saw with dismay That squalls in the bay Would delay A boat ride.

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She saddled a swift dragonfly, Then mounted, a whip by her thigh. To court the queen flew, Where moon dust she threw Quelled a coup, Starred the sky.

_________ Editorial Note: —The clogyrnach [pronounced clog-ir-nach] is an obscure Welsh quantitative verse form of 32 syllables, with the rhyme scheme a-a-b-b-b-a. It is a variety of Welsh ode known as an awdl, regarded as one of the most challenging Welsh lyric forms. —In early Welsh literature, an awdl (pl. awdlau) was any long poem on a single end-rhyme. Since the recorded beginnings, awdlau were highly ornamental, and the forms permitted became progressively stricter until the high Middle Ages. —A clogyrnach poem is associated with the name of the ancient Welsh poet Cynddelw and can be written in either five or six-line stanzas and is one of the 12 recorded meters. —The poem is written in an undefined number of quintets or quatrains, which combine a rhymed couplet of 8-syllable lines—known a cyhydedd fer—with a tercet of two 5 syllable lines. The concluding part is either a 6 syllable line equally split by a caesura, or (as in this case) a couplet of 3 syllables each. —Readers will note the the meter is similar to that of a limerick, however the clogyrnach need not have a humorous theme, and is far closer to the lyrical stanzas we associate with odes. 56


Brian Allgar Just for the record

BLANK VERSE

Tony was always something of a rotter; We went to the same school, and I remember That nasty business of the missing fiver, Though Tony swore to God it wasn’t him. (It’s true that they expelled him, not for theft, But for obscenity—one day in class, He told the teacher ‘Poetry is shit.’) We’d kept in touch sporadically—a card From Tenerife, from time to time an email. But here we were, together in the pub At my suggestion. Tony was delighted: ‘I thought you must have croaked or emigrated! It’s good to see you—mine’s a triple vodka.’ ‘And what have you been up to?’ I enquired. He laughed, and spluttered: ‘Well, just for the record, I’ve tied the knot, I’m spliced, I’m hooked—I’m married!’ ‘And who’s the lucky girl?’ His face took on A shifty look. ‘Samantha—splendid girl! Her father made a fortune—dodgy ticker— And she’s an only child - you get the picture?’ ‘You mean you’re rich.’ He grinned and nodded. ‘Stinking!’ ‘And what’s she like?’ Again, he looked evasive. ‘To tell the truth, she’s really not my type; Flat-chested, bookish, not a clue in bed.’ ‘Then why—’ ‘Come on, old sport, no need to ask. A stack of moolah helps a lot, you know. It pays for everything my mistress costs me, And all the tasty crumpet I can get.’ A few more drinks, and then the evening ended With promises to meet again quite soon. I took the voice-recorder from my pocket, Then made a copy, shoved it in the post— And if it helps her to divorce the bastard, Samantha says she’ll make it worth my while.

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Brian Allgar

A SONNET

The Prince of Venosa My thoughts on love? Good Sir, my wife betrayed me— Yes, me, Gesualdo da Venosa, Prince, And Count of Conza. She most foully played me, So love’s a topic that revolts me since. Her lover I dispatched by sword and gun; On her, I used a well-honed hunting-knife, And when I saw that she was not quite done, I slit the throat of my adulterous wife. The only solace was my composition, My madrigals, my sacred Tenebrae, For music mitigates the soul’s attrition, And brings to blackest nights a glimpse of day. My life, good Sir, so grievously dramatic, Explains my music, anguished and chromatic.

_____________ Historical note: Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa (30 March 1566 – 8 September 1613) was Prince of Venosa and Count of Conza. As a musician he is best known for writing intensely expressive madrigals and pieces of sacred music that use a chromatic language not heard again until the late 19th century. He is also known for his cruelty and lewdness: the best known fact of his life is his gruesome killing of his first wife and her lover upon finding them in flagrante delicto. The fascination for his extraordinary music and for his shocking acts have gone hand in hand.)

58


Brian Allgar Stick to your guns

A SONNET

They want to take away your sacred right, conferred upon you by that great Amendment, to own and carry arms. So, brothers, fight, and yell from every rooftop your resentment of those who would inflict emasculation on righteous guys like us who still uphold the fine traditions of our mighty nation. Be adamant, inflexible, and bold; shout down those wimpish, whingeing motherfuckers who push for legislation that deprives us of the guns that stop us being suckers, that save—well, yeah, and take—uncounted lives. With finely-reasoned logic, we’ll confute ’em. But if that fails, let’s just go out and shoot ’em.

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Liùsaidh Self-Defence

SONG LYRICS

We’re British, we’re calm, we’re not like the Yanks, We don’t need the guns, or the tasers, or tanks, Our schools are quite safe from those awful spree-killers, For we have no violence (only in thrillers). Yes, Britain is safe, and guns don’t exist, Not even for coppers (except, in a twist The armed response unit is sitting quite pretty two minutes away from you in any city). All:

The armed response unit is sitting quite pretty Two minutes away from you in any city!

The drug culture’s known as a troubling thing The dealers have dobermans, (leashes of string). Yet if one should bark and attack at your nipper What can you do when it rags her and rips her? For though it’s conceded that pistols are rare Out on the town, mate, you’d better beware. We’re British, it’s true that we’re known for carousing And stabbings and glassings do number in thousands. All:

We’re British, it’s true that we’re known for carousing And stabbings and glassings do number in thousands!

Resist an attacker too much, and you’re clocked By coppers who drag you, ma’am, into the dock You didn’t retreat, didn’t act like his prey You carried a hatpin, home-brewed pepper spray: (The Firearms Act of Nineteen-sixty-eight Prohibits the carry of guns. Well, that’s great. It also outlaws for no good bloody reason The carry of pepper-spray in any season.) All:

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It also outlaws for no good bloody reason The carry of pepper-spray in any season.)


We’re British you see, and Britain is safe. Well, it’s true that some lassies are targeted, raped, But Lord Justice Foggery noted short-skirting, And heard that the doxy was drinking and flirting. Yes, women are murdered, some two every week When they leave their abusers, when safety they seek But Britain is safe for its people, they tell us. The women don’t count, luv. Maybe for fellas? All: Yes, Britain is safe for its people, they tell us. The women don’t count, luv. Maybe for fellas?

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We're honoured that this literary journal now graces the shelves of the libraries at Bodleian College Oxford, The University of Cambridge and Trinity College Dublin. We're equally proud to contribute to the poetry collections at the British Library, National Library of Scotland, National Library of Wales, The Scottish Poetry Library, and The Northern Poetry Library. Please consider supporting this project by recommending this publication to your librarian. 62


Liùsaidh

Midsummer Persephone

A SONNET CROWN

Renew your force, my Lord, for I am lost in doubting dreams that gnaw me in my sleep– I pushed, too hard, all heedless of the cost, With troubled tears, I, in my waking, weep. You're far from me, I feel it, all the doubt Oh, have I lost at last your good regard? Have I been walking wide? Does anger sprout? Does sorrow stalk you, hold you, run you hard? I'd reach across the River if I could, Do anything to feel that surety, The trust, the joy, to be just as I should, Caught in your arms, my spirit flying free: —The passion, hope, your gift, my strength and choice: —My lover with the shadows in his voice. Her lover with the shadows in his voice With gentle force he took her, lured her down He whispered in her ear ‘my love, rejoice— You are my singer, goddess, priestess, clown.’ He bound her song, yet freed her knotted chord, With glories of his touch, his mastery, She swallowed down the seeds he set aboard, Became who she was always meant to be: A springtide girl to grace her winter king, His pressure on her heart a sweet tattoo, In clefted rhythms, she was born to sing, Her every pulsing note beat bright and true. —He led her by the River, wild and wide, —For she was meant to wander by his side. For I was born to wander by your side, Lady of Spring, companion to your soul, To seek you there, at last, no stolen bride, You took my hand, and told me I was whole. You sought me, broken hard against the rocks, Each challenge that I faced, I faced alone With no-one left to sing with, love, or talk, My springtime woodlands ossified to stone. 63


Those who would say you took against my will And left my mother wandering the wild Calling my name? I never wished her ill, But I am more, much more, than just her child: —I'm hers for spring and summer. Still she knows —I dream of times you took me in the throes. While far from him, I long for touch, the throes, His play-fights, teasing tongues and sweet restraint— This crawling solstice day! It never knows That darkened joy, barbaric Winter’s taint. My fields lie lush and green while Hades sleeps, He's called to savage South, where seasons flip. The road lies barred: Cerberus snarls and keeps His watch: claws ready, poised to rend and rip. Demeter’s gaze is no less fell and fierce, I slip her vigilance to seek your ways, For on this summer eve the shadows pierce, My heart with memories. Our nights. Our days. —I find the places in the evening damps —Where once we loved beneath the lighted lamps. We loved beneath the lambent lighted lamps Where are you now? I mourn this silent glade: A step behind, I stumble by your camps, You roam just out of sight, and I’m unmade. Abandoned now, the ashes dull and red, My hunter runs by forest, field and fen, I turn back home, curl in my too-wide bed, and wonder when you’ll come to me again. Your lady calls you, Hades, please return, And drag me down again, the Styx to ford: Grasp fast these loving wrists—oh how I yearn— O lover come! Renew your pledge, my Lord, —Burn out my shame, the things I fear the most, —Renew your force, my love, for I am lost.

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Liùsaidh

A CLASSICAL HAIKU

The English summer — jingoism and black flies buzzing through the air

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Louise Fabiani Bovary

A GLOSA

The mind herein attains simplicity. There is no moon, on single, silvered leaf. The body is no body to be seen But is an eye that studies its black lid. —Wallace Stevens, 'Stars at Tallapoosa'

The world imposes and the mind disposes Of random thoughts—or not. Accumulated Detritus precludes clear thinking; The best strategy: purge the urge to merge. And yet—and yet! We can't forget the need To rise above the ordinary, touch the stars While keeping the toes slightly planted. Is compromise Possible in the last-chance reach for paradise? Or it is a blotch upon the brain. Seek the higher ground: The mind herein attains simplicity. Peace, once found, must be held—fast and true. But the past intrudes, as memories are wont to do. No point in digressing to avoid collision—let it flow, And in the flux, equilibrium may follow. Can it wait? Nature's way provokes impatience; no matter how Or when or why, it's no use trying hard to change What cannot. How I long for broken rules! And unspoken desires that verge on treason: There is no cosmic law for solitary pain like this, There is no moon, on single, silvered leaf. It’s the quotidian, of course: a barricade to be breached, A seemingly immutable state defying interference. And so it goes, one day succeeding the other, a clone of itself. Nothing defined—yet significance assigned, nonetheless. I confess: some days I'd do anything for an anarchical act. The balance is too much to bear—an unruffled vista that Resembles a painting. There should be no such thing as Still Life! Even bodily manners dissolve if examined closely. I have a fainter grasp of things obscured by fraud. The body is no body to be seen. 66


He would never say so, but he fears me. He spends His industriousness indolently, as if I should care That he is here, not there, making more of himself than I notice, Than I comprehend. He is less a husband than a minder, one who Registers me by duties shirked or passions spent. His own conscience props him up, and I allow A vague sense of self-denial to flourish—it gives me room In my desperation. Any opportunity to transgress And create a life for myself; it isn't one now, But is an eye that studies its black lid.

___________ Editorial Note: A glosa — another rare form we’re happy to showcase here — is an early modern court poetry form originating on the Iberian peninsula. Typically the poem expands or ‘glosses’ a texte a fragment or epigraph of writing. The poet may select a fragment of another author’s poem or prose, or can write their own for use as the texte. The poet then expands in a series of 10-line stanzas with a defined rhyme scheme. Here the poet has adapted the form by varying the end rhymes. 67


Louise Fabiani A VILLANELLE

This is Winter Now Winter is not a state of mind. In streets devoid of snow and ice There's sorrow of another kind. Remember them, the snow-inclined When saying frosty panes suffice. Winter is not a state of mind. Yet those who seek will often find Some signs of cold, or sacrifice To sorrow of another kind. Take fools like me: we're left behind. When others say the new way's nice: 'Winter is but a state of mind'. The rolling of the moral dice Turns 'natural' to sordid vice. There's sorrow of another kind: Winter is not a state of mind.

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Teresa Zemaitis A PROSE POEM

Isle of Skye Music rolls over the grassy knoll where the fairies dance and play. Crazy fingers control the fiddle strings and tiny feet stomp the crunchy ground until the Glaistigs howl. Then fairies flip and flop and flutter up Old Man Storr’s fingers, hiding in the folds of his skin and under the crevices of his finger nails. The magic of the Quiraing, with all its peaks and plateaus, is strong. The fairies cannot resist. So they wave their flags and cross the bridge back to their fairy pools and the fat notes of the fiddle.

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Molly Murray

TRIVERSEN

Coffee Cupping Flavor comes to life by fragrance. By orange zest licking your nose. Reach the depth of a drink by savoring scent. Cinnamon bed, velvet cherry top note. Aromatics explain ninety-five percent of taste. Black-current polish, brownsugar base. But five percent carries the soul.

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Molly Murray

TRIVERSEN

Skyful of Moon I came down sand-washed and sad leaving the peak. I stepped in a skyful of spiraling moons: shells. Common grove snails, vanilla shells striped chocolate-brown. Puttering by mouthfoot next to the cliff drop. I took them with me; put the mob in my pocket. Nothing common about this landslide of gastropods.

________ Editorial Note: The triversen is a 21st Century form developed by William Carlos Williams, and is usually a 6 stanza, 18 line poem. Each stanza is composed of a single sentence that breaks into 3 lines with a variable foot of 2-4 beats per line. The theme is flexible and here Murray uses it with a deft playfulness, with Coffee Cupping varying the form with a seventh stanza.

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Jessy Randall and Daniel M. Shapiro A CLASSICAL TANKA

Troll Tanka We’re spun back and forth, the shapes of our hair blurring into clouds of fluff, miraculous punk afros that will turn heads for decades.

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Jessy Randall

A SESTINA

Sestina for Steve There’s one thing you must do in a sestina, Steve, you can’t help it, you have to repeat. I can tell you this secret, now that we’re friends – it’s like a piece of classical music or like learning a foreign language. It’s like wrecking and then fixing your heart. For that is how you find me: with a broken heart. I doubt this will surprise you, Steve, since we do speak the same language (or do we?), but I must repeat: when you are talking about music I feel a swelling smile: we’re friends. And in the past I’ve had a problem with friends. (Don’t worry, you’ll hear about the broken heart.) If love is like silence, then friends are like music, and there’s no way to explain this, Steve, except with sestinas and the way they repeat, because by itself, language is just language. So what I need is a whole new language. One as precise as inside jokes with friends. Think how nice it would be, not to have to repeat the whole life story of my pathetic heart and how it breaks and breaks again, Steve, and how I don’t mind, because it is like music, the way one can simply know music. Perhaps that is the secret language that I can use to talk to you, Steve, even before we know if we’re friends or after one us breaks the other’s heart (which is an act not to repeat).

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So here in this poem I apologized that I would repeat myself, and instead, like an unresolved chord in music, I have never gotten around to my broken heart, probably since I’m not allowed the language – I took it away from myself, because we’re friends and because this is a sestina, Steve, and sestinas have repeat rules of language like the rules of music or of the heart. Steve, it seems to me friends don’t have rules.

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Simon Williams

A VILLANELLE WITH ASSAY CONTENT

Assay Villanelle—Wind The hiccup, burp, belch and fart, the pressure differential on the weatherman’s map, the calm at the core of the hurricane’s heart. The spray from the wave in Hokusai’s art, the acid/base reaction that has sprung the trap for the hiccup, burp, belch and fart. The hours when the isobars are not far apart, the air force measured where the contours wrap, the calm at the core of the hurricane’s heart. The still of a sunny August counterpart, the reproach to the sound of the gas backslap; the hiccup, burp, belch and fart. The millions of litres in a sliding cloud chart, the washing that beats in the tenement gap, the calm at the core of the hurricane’s heart. The trefoil blades of the farm upstart, the groan of the gust in the roof-felt knap, the hiccup, burp, belch and fart, the calm at the core of the hurricane’s heart.

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Simon Williams

A SEQUENCE OF 17-SYLLABLE HAIKU

5 x 17 in Dartington Gardens Five points of maple tremble on the lowest branch – lie still on the path. Three jackdaws strut around the table, heads cocked. We eat expensive cake. A hundred branches grow upwards on the Irish yew – two fronds sideways. ‘Slippery when wet’, even when you’re sitting down. Moss roots to sandstone. Half the daisies grow on the close-cut, tilt-yard lawn. Half the daisies don’t.

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Simon Williams

A VILLANELLE

Out of Temporal Bones You tell me the tale of a skeleton woman, drowned far north in the Inuit ice, rescuing/saved by a young fisherman. This is the strength of bones over time, the span of our bodies, the role of the dice in the tale you tell of a skeleton woman. It’s the bones that slumber in rocks, in the sand to tell of our source, to dismiss paradise, picked at by scientists, hauled by young fishermen. It’s the bones that lie in each charnel land that spell out the stories of cats and of mice, their lives in the tale of the skeleton woman. It’s the bones that mark out our disparate clans when we fought, when they conquered, against all advice, all these remains brought to land by young fishermen. Over it all, they tell of our passion, of our love, with all its unlikely device. You tell me the tale of a skeleton woman, rescuing/saved by a young fisherman.

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Simon Williams

FREE VERSE ONE-LINERS

Awe Awe, kittens.

Shock and Awe Cripes, hundreds of kittens.

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Susan Taylor

A SONNET OF SUBTLE HALF-RHYMES

Still Woman Massive and unmoved by seasons, she looks over a carpet of seeds. Chestnuts fall like Mexican sweets during La Posadas. They're strewn around her stone bench while a squirrel threads and tacks across the tenure of her trunk; its tail, a stole, adds grey breaths. Autumn breaks open and runs on in waves, while she has to be perfectly anchored in that body; her jigsaw shape locking the garden together, where leaves re-engage to feather the hollow of her waist.

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Susan Taylor FREE-FORM RHYME

Daphne Eyes for the wild, and running shy beside water’s caprice, I played in the shiver of father’s song: a flicker like a damsel fly. Apollo caught and hampered me. I prayed to Gaea for release. She clasped me down into her throng, then pushed me up as laurel tree. I have innumerable shining leaves that prick up to the tune of rain. Let droplets slither down them to feed my parent spring. Apollo, with his many thieves, are chastened by my pale smooth grain; without my twigs to crown him the sun will not be king.

________ Editorial Note: We feel this is an excellent example of how classical techniques can be used to create something truly unique and beautiful and are including the poet’s note on her chosen form: Inspired by the elegant movements within the sonnet form, this 16 line poem has a fairly formal shape, which reflects the song-like nature the poet wanted for the piece. The rhyming is allowed free movement, with the first and last two lines chiming together, rounding off the poem.

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Susan Taylor

VARIATION ON VILLANELLE

‘Tripping a Villanelle on Acupuncture’ This is a trip like a trip in a lock, no patents pending on account of the years since the templates were put in The Golden Book. How does a body like mine take stock, or keep pace with the shift in interior doors on this trip, which is like a trip in a lock? Though no locksmith, I sense steps in me rock into rapid fire movements, with trigger-like hairs from the templates put in The Golden Book. Inner energy whirrs like some venerable clock with silver pins in, to connect all the gears, so that I trip… like a trip in a lock.. Thoughts skitter free of block upon block and the heart’s a whole temple of opening doors, like the templates put in The Golden Book. There are many more me’s than appear, as I’m shook into myself and these masks a soul wears drop on this trip, like a trip in a lock, the templates put in The Golden Book.

______ Editorial Note: On her choice of variations on the villanelle form, the poet writes: The form is conventional, although the rhymes vary slightly in vowel sounds, hopefully adding something to an otherwise over-ringing structure. I wanted a sense of tumbling rhythm, similar to sprung rhythm, and I think the recurrent repeat of the word trip helps with this effect.

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Elizabeth Archer

VARIATION ON A SONNET

Climate Change

Some say the world is hotter now, The planet’s atmosphere grows thin in places, and the waters rise where before only land has been. The ice is melting off the poles, and in the winter time the snow is never deep on mountain peaks These things the science people know. All I can measure is my heart, the perspiration on my brow and I suspect the summer fires indeed burn even hotter now. But for my heart-I cannot claim the global warming. You’re to blame.

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Elizabeth Archer

RHYMED STANZAS

Winnowing

Comes the sifting Comes the shaking Embracing, drifting Reaping, taking Take the gist and leave but half I am chaff, I am chaff Comes the grinding Comes the finding Comes the making Comes the baking, How the scything gods must laugh, I am chaff, I am chaff All the wet spring I’ve been drinking, green, unthinking. Come winnowing, my life is drunk in one great quaff I am chaff, I am chaff Born of dirt, returned to earth from autumn hurt come spring rebirth, proud inscribe my epitaph I was chaff, I was chaff.

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Literary Criticism

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Review: Bodies by Gareth Writer-Davies

IBSN 978-1-909357-71-6 INDIGO DREAMS PUBLISHING £6:00

—Bodies is a chapbook of 25 poems on the theme of the body, the connective tissue that holds these pieces together being rooted in physical, visceral descriptions, a story of connected musings on our physical forms. From wishing that he were taller, to the aching recollections of his ailing mother, life, death and quite a bit in between invade both the text and the line-spacing. —Writer-Davies images are sharp, beautiful, and in places as sad as they are commonplace—an ageing man lying in the bath contemplating how he took his lover for granted, the loss of love connected with the contemplation of his flesh, juxtaposed in later verses on a woman taking a bath contemplating her body, but not thinking of her lover at all. —As with much post-modern poetry, the verse is free, and for me (being someone who leans towards classicism,) lacks discipline in a few places. A little more structure in the line, and a little less strange formatting might have resulted in greater power or force behind the imagery. —That said, where Writer-Davies has attacked his subject matter fearlessly, and is at his best when the lines sing with that internal cadence that surfaces in the bulk of the poems. When he gets going, the body becomes that instrument from which all art is made: I could play/a well-tempered clavier/upon those bones, sings the speaker in Vertebrae while in Ode to the Spleen the subject takes over the function of the heart in poignant, metaphysical treatment. Several poems shine with that wry, Celtic humour that so mark the best of our poetry, as the verse flows with the music of his Welsh origins. —In short, this chapbook is the flesh made word, a beautiful and thought provoking read. 87


Review: Direct Lines to Hell: The Early Poetry of R.W. Watkins ISBN 9781502916709 Nocturnal Iris Publishing: $8:99

—Direct Lines to Hell, published with Watkins’ frank flare and in-your-face courage, presents the poet’s juvenilia—all written in his late teens and twenties—warts and all, and is the sort of thing no-one ever sees. We prefer to think of artistic genius as something that we’re born with, rather than something which we have to work at to perfect, which is why, perhaps, so many artists—whether visual or literary—suppress their juvenilia and show only their best to the world. It’s only after the poet’s death that we get to pore over the ‘papers’ (usually gifted to university libraries by indifferent family members who are better housekeepers than the poet). It’s unusual, then, that a poet would deliberately make his juvenilia available to the world, complete with images of the scattered scribbles, the fag-packet and post-it note scrivenings that are the reality of the working poet. That is exactly what R.W. Watkins has done in publishing his early free verse. —What makes this collection (the first of two, the second forthcoming) even more remarkable is that Watkins is primarily known as a classical poet specialising in Asian-form poetry (as editor of Contemporary Sijo, Contemporary Ghazals and Eastern Structures, he has edited some of the rare and precious poetry markets for formal verse). Indeed, Watkins is famous for his impassioned defences of classicism, such as this declaration in his essay Dial 5-7-5 for Classicism that it was ‘lack of talent and other shortcomings’ that led to the free verse establishment's disdain for classicism and that such mediocre poets could not ‘write a [real] sonnet or a ghazal in a month of amphetamine-fueled Sundays.’ He remains a poet in the wilds of Newfoundland, penning his verses far from the hallowed halls of Ottowa, Toronto, and Vancouver. It's easy, perhaps, to dismiss him as an obscure, boondock scribbler: foolish and prejudiced error, in my view. His outspoken and passionate defenses of classicism in the face of the perceived normalization of mediocrity has not won him many friends within the academic poetry circles of Canada. —The free verse he wrote before becoming one of the most important classical Asian-form poets and independent poetry editors in the West, therefore, comes as something of a shock. 88


— Leafing through, you get the same sort of prickling excitement you do when you read C.S. Lewis’ Boxen stories—the fantasy world he created with his brother as children that was the forerunner to the Narniad—or the stories and poems written by the Brontë sisters before they departed for Brussels, or the very early writing of Plath. It’s fascinating to see the flashes of inspiration and foreshadowing throughout the text of how the poet is refining—in some cases line by line—his voice. —There are some wonderful poems here and exceptionally beautiful lines. ‘I have four ivory telephones / w/out dials on my wall / direct lines to Hell.’ he writes in the titular poem. The middle section, D-Cay, a cycle of poems written for a damaged girlfriend, is especially moving and by far the best of the collection. The influence of the Beat poets of the preceding postwar generation throughout these verses is obvious. The young Watkins emulates Dylan Thomas and Jim Morrison, his own voice rumbling in rough edges, almost in the interstitial spaces between the words, becoming clearer as the collection progresses. —Of course, not every poem in this book is good. Quite a few are so clearly essays in the craft, the seeds that would later sprout into the flourishes of a mature poet. But that isn’t the point. Watkins, in the brilliant Afterword that completes this collection, places his early work within the context of the Generation X counterculture of the 1980s and 1990s. In this, he reveals what ‘the point’ really is—the truth. The truth not just of the dismal, disenfranchised world of the Nomad generation, but also of what it takes to become a poet. The poet emerges not just in terms of learning a craft, but living the authentic life even if others find your authenticity objectionable or intolerable. It takes not merely talent, but technique. You do not arrive at the latter without work, without your trials, without your errors. Perhaps if more critics knew this, they would realise the truth of Stephen Fry’s comment in The Ode Less Travelled: Talent without technique is like an engine without a steering wheel, gears or brakes . . . Do athletes boast of their hand-eye coordination, grace, and natural sense of balance? No, they talk of how hard they trained, the sacrifices made, the effort they put in.

—For those familiar with the work of an established artist, it’s often deeply uncomfortable to realise how hard their training was, at what great emotional cost came the growth into the poets we know. The present-day Watkins is rare in that he, like Wilde, declares his genius. He does not pretend humility, and is, frankly, a terrible politician in an Arts scene where a poet’s recognition depends on mutual back-scratching and currying favour. To a large extent, his passionate rants on the twin necessity of technique and talent has led to his ostracisation in Canada’s 89


Asian poetry community. His contribution to the development of the English-language Ghazal being sidelined, ignored, or (in places) deliberately expunged from discussion of the form’s history (such as the apparent omission by free verse ghazal-poet Rob Winger in his 2009 essay on the development of the Canadian Ghazal). The subtext is clear: Watkins, they think, is a snob who doesn’t see the value in free verse; who is constrained or obsessed with rigid formality over the passionate explorations of the ‘free spirits’ of the poetry world. —Direct Lines, however, proves Watkins’ detractors entirely wrong. The book evidences that the ‘free spirit’ so essential for the crafting of poetry is a quality of the poet, not the form of verse in which he chooses to write. Watkins has no snobbery or disdain for free verse. He’s written it, suffered with it, poured his heart and soul and dreams into it. Free verse is the record of his formative years. Watkins has figuratively spilled his guts in free-form. When he grew to be a classical poet of some stature, he published his early papers—papers that so clearly show that arc of painful emotional growth. This collection, then, isn’t intended to be read in isolation, but as an addendum to the work of the mature, classical poet Watkins became. —Direct Lines remains true to its purpose: it is the portrait of the artist as a young man.

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Of Mice and Rats? Negotiating the World of English Language Haiku A CRITICAL ESSAY BY LJ McDOWALL

The closed-form haiku— A suggestion that opens traps of rats and rage.

—When I began writing Asian-form poetry I had no idea of the conflicts currently raging in the American and British poetry scenes over Asian classicism. While living in India and South Korea, (blissfully unaware that I would one day open the open-form rat-trap) I came across sijo, ghazals, tanka, senryu and haiku in their original contexts. I discovered the English language Asian-form poem in an almost pristine way: I learned the rules and started writing, principly as a way of connecting to the cultures in which I lived. I remained unaware that the idea of following Asian syllabic rules for English-Language Haiku was so controversial until I met with haiku poets (haijin) from both sides of the divide in the West. —The crux of the free-verse haijin’s objection to the classical-form haiku, as far as I can gather, goes something like this: once upon a time, the early translators of haiku into English imposed a three line, 5-7-5 syllable structure on the English Language Haiku, for the Japanese haijin used a 5-7-5 syllable count in their own language. However, owing to the difference between Japanese and English this meant there were far more words in an ELH than there are in the Japanese original, and this damages the integrity of the form making the 5-7-5 English version too wordy. Furthermore, there has been a primitive over-focus on count and a neglect of the other elements of the form (such as juxtaposition, cutting words, seasonal words in reference to nature and the turn of thought.) These days, we’ve moved on, know more about the Japanese language and know better, and as a result the right way to craft our haiku is with fewer than 13 syllables. —Naturally, this is a very crude summary, but can be found in a myriad of discussions, including the writings of the British-born American haijin Michael Dylan Welch and the Australian poet Ashley Capes. 91


(Here I’m not considering the literary merits of the poetry of these haijin. In fact, I consider Capes’ free-verse haiku especially to be very fine indeed.) Suffice to say the free verse view now prevails in the West, and the 5-7-5 classical model is now considered a starter exercise for beginner writers. —There are two elements to this view that I won’t touch on here, namely the history of poetry forms being viewed through a progressive historical lens, particularly in the United States, and that the debate surrounding closed Asian forms is a microcosm of the conflict between free verse and classicism in general. That is a book in its own right. What I want to focus on is the element of the received view that the 5-7-5, 17 syllable ELH being crude and not true to Japanese origins. This view has lead to the emergence of the 3-5-3 or 5-3-5 lune form—also known as the American haiku form— and the development of Haiku Hybrid English (HHE) in the late 20th Century. HHE is a form of English designed specifically for the haiku that omits articles and and several other elements of the English language in order to create a more authentic poem. —English is famed as flexible language borrowing from the many cultures and languages it has come into contact with. In addition to words and phrases, English prosody has a long history of importing poetry forms from other parts of the world and adapting them for our tongue, and in doing so often new variants of the forms are created. Just as with sonnets (Italian) villanelles (French) sapphics (Ancient Greek) and elegiacs (Greek and Latin), Asian forms from Japan, Korea, and the Indian sub-continent have percolated into English in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. —It seems to me that when you import a form into English you face the same sort of conundra faced by translators: the need to negotiate from one language to another. Using the example of Hamlet’s how now a rat in Act III:IV, the Italian philosopher Umberto Eco explains the dilemma in his book Mouse or Rat: Translation as Negotiation (Weidenfeld & Nicolson; (28 Mar. 2013) —The word rat conveys the sneakiness, cowardice and low cunning in English. Think of Cagney's famous line 'You dirty yellow-bellied rat!' in his 1932 film Taxi! The trouble for the translator is this: the word rat conveys more positive associations of intelligence and resourcefulness to Italians. To convey sneaky cowardice, Italians refer to a mouse. You dirty rat would be you dirty mouse in Italian. We can appreciate the difficulty. Does he translate Shakespeare’s how now, a rat faithfully, word for word? If so the meaning would be different from the original intent of the playwright. Polonius would be thought of as smart, not sneaky, to the Italian reader. Or does the translator convey what Shakespeare meant, and translate the line as 'how now, a mouse?' —In other words, which language do you serve? English, in which the line was originally written, or Italian, where the reader is? Many translators, 92


Eco notes, opt for the mouse, therefore, opting to serve the needs of the receiving language. —Arguably, when we adopt a poetry form with origins in another language into our own we make a similar sort of ‘translators’ negotiation. Which language should we serve? The original language of the form? Italian for sonnets? French for Villanelles? Japanese for Haiku? Korean for sijo? Latin for elegiacs? Welsh for awdlau? Perhaps Ancient Greek for sapphics? Does this even make sense as an approach? We are writing in English, and our poem is being read by English speakers. If we want to write a French, Italian, Welsh, Greek or Korean poem, then we would have to command those languages to a sufficient degree to write in them. The very nature of the differences between the languages mean the English version will look and feel different to a form in its original tongue. —What then should we do? Do we make our English language 'more' like Italian, or French in order to be 'true to the form?' Do we adopt or invent a special form of English to serve these forms to make them more authentically French, or Italian or Greek, or adopt the grammar or syntax of the language of the original form? After all, the English iamb is not quite the meter preferred for the Urdu or Persian ghazal (indeed there are many meters in Persian.) It seems silly, doesn't it, to suggest we invent Francoesque Villanelle English for villanelles or Italianate Sonnet English for Sonnets or Ancient Greek-Style English for Sapphics. Poetry serves the language in which it's written. It has to. —Of course, that doesn’t mean we can’t—or shouldn’t—have fun with language. In fact, poets should experiment, push the boundaries. Justice, my magic talking katana, in my fantasy novel gives her advice to the heroine in senryu, and used Hybrid Haiku English to it. I had lots of fun with that. If you want to have fun with the English language for the hell of it and write poetry in your new English then who the heck am I to dictate to you otherwise? Poetry is about being bold, and taking risks, and we are lovers of liberty, after all. —The problem comes when we turn round and repeat to our fellows that chief folly of our age: my way is the One True Way, and the way you do things is inferior and backward. In addition, if your reason for dropping the articles in an English Language Haiku is to 'remain true to the Japanese' then you’re missing the point of writing poetry in the English language. There is nothing inherently special about the Japanese language. Japanese is a language like any other, and the poetry forms we import into English are in essence no different than the sonnets, villanelles, and sapphics that we imported in previous centuries. —Now to the business of counting, and my general support of 5-7-5 (and for that matter, the lune counts of 3-5-3 and 5-3-5). If we go with my premise that form serves the receiving language (in this case English) and 93


also follows function, we also have to be true to that form and the methods of writing it — its purpose. I can almost hear the cratchety voice of Prof. Digory Kirke from the Lion Witch and the Wardrobe muttering it’s all in Plato, all in Plato, bless me, what do they teach them in these schools? There’s a platonic ideal of every classical poetry form. A perfect villanelle. A sublime sonnet. Whilst our poems may never live up to that ideal, the aim of the classicist is to get as close to it as possible. —We know, for example, the ideal form of a washing machine or a toaster. They serve a function. If a toaster fails to toast or a washing machine fails to wash my clothes, then they lack the essential qualities of toaster-ness and washingmachine-ness to make them ‘good’ appliances. Additionally, regardless of where in the world that washing machine or toaster is creating the method of manufacturing will be roughly the same. —Haiku, in Japan, are created in a certain way. ‘Good’ haiku are considered to possess those ideals of haiku-ness. The method of creating a haiku is part of a meditative discipline, or craft. In this context, the count is essential. In addition to the other elements of a haiku such as a turn of thought, juxtaposing elements, cutting words, natural and seasonal references, an essential quality of this haiku-ness is the count. I believe (though I know this isn't a fashionable view) that without the count something is missing, much a toaster made without the element cannot really be a toaster, or a washing machine made without a drum cannot really be a washing-machine. —The mainstay, the structure, and the discipline of any Japanese-form poem is the count. The way of writing the poem is intrinsic to the form, the count being part of the discipline. Ritual is essential to any East Asian art or craft or way: from flower-arranging, to calligraphy, to tying up one’s lover, to folding one’s clothing just so in order to shoot an arrow from a bow, to the correct method drawing or sheathing one’s sword. Writing a poem is no different. So you think there are too many words in a 5-7-5? Use the lune compromise of 3-5-3 or 5-3-5. It’s the count that produces that disciplined, ritual quality that is the essence of East Asian-form poetry. The practitioner learns the meditative mindset, a different zone of thinking. —In Clark Strand's book Seeds of the Birch Tree this master of the English 5-7-5 haiku writes: If you have no interest in using haiku as a spiritual practice, it is unnecessary to count syllables at all. We could for instance write a haiku in any form — one line, four, or seventeen — and include the season or not as we pleased. But I doubt we could take much long term satisfaction from this kind of haiku . . . Because Haiku is so subtle, it is necessary to

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place to start, and experts will soon forget their beginner's mind in the obsession over where to break a line. [p.26] —In the same volume Strand also relates the story of a famous Japanese haiku master who before his death slipped into a comma, and yet his fingers continued to move reflexively in the 5-7-5 count. If the count were not an essential aspect of the form as it is understood in Japanese culture, then it wouldn't be there. To my mind, syllable counting is therefore a necessity. —I have written shintai 'new form' haiku and had them published, so I don't completely reject the free-verse path. However, I see those free-verse haiku as an expression of my own culture rather than having anything to do with the Japanese tradition. My view is that the English free-verse haiku suits our culture very well. Individualistic, lacking conformity, the freeverse ku says everything about us. Yet it’s still the product of our culture, not Japan’s. It formed as a result of our mindset, our need for individualism, our can-do and have-a-go spirit. —Free verse haiku a valid poetic expression. But to my mind, the automatic rejection of the count means that the free-verse haijin is rejecting some essential Asian quality of the way a haiku is composed, the quality of meditation and discipline. Like all classical verse, a formal line count channels the words and emotional force through a defined pressure-point. As a result I think it's an error for any free-verse poet (or literary critic) to reject a neoclassical English language haijin because they follow the 5-7-5 tradition on the grounds of ‘not being Japanese enough.’ —The three-line, 17 syllable 5-7-5 structure, then, was not so much imposed by the early translators as used as the guide to bring that essential meditative quality, ritual and discipline into the English language, and was part of that process of negotiation Eco explores in Mouse or Rat. We can argue whether 5-7-5 has ‘too many words’ or whether our mora and syllables are the same and all the rest of it, and we do. Most of the debate in the West has centered on these sorts of conflicts. However, it is surprising that has been almost no focus on highly disciplined culture of Japan, where the form originated. In essence the composition of haiku is like any other Japanese art: one that must be mastered with discipline and patience. —Turning to the oft-repeated argument that 5-7-5 has 'too many words' and 'takes too long to say’ to be a proper haiku, we should recall that English and Japanese are two unrelated languages. Japanese does not have the range of articles that English does and the natural Japanese syllable is shorter than the natural English syllable. I am in agreement (after spending years in Asia) with R.W. Watkins assertion that the endless discussion on Japanese morphemes and mora can be summed up in the 95


simple phrase Japanese speakers talk faster than English speakers (Eastern Structures Vol. 1 Issue 1, 2016), to which I would add that Japanese, is a more concise language than English. Not only is the natural syllable shorter, but so is the natural sentence. Fewer words are needed in Japanese than in English to say the same thing. The 5-7-5 EnglishLanguage haiku, therefore, has exactly as many words as necessary to be a readable poem in English. —Fun with language and wild experimentation aside (two things I always strongly encourage), if you feel English is an inferior language for an imported form, your solution should not be to change English to suit the form, or to butcher the form to suit English, but to learn the language of the original form and then write in it. Everything else is merely the ‘translator’s’ mouse-or-rat negotiation. For really, poetry is all about love, and how can we write a poem in a language we don’t love? —The poet is a lover of three things: truth, liberty and above all, language. When we write poetry we must love the language passionately. Therefore if the poet feels English is inferior for the writing of haiku—or indeed any other imported form—he should work with joy in the language from whence the form originated. When she writes in English, she should work with joy in forms he believes are better suited to our tongue. What sense in there trying to shoehorn a language you feel to be ‘inferior’ into a ‘superior’ form? Where's the love in that? Whether we write in closed or open forms we should do it with love. —Who am I to say, after all, that my way is the One True Way?

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Contributors Robert Southey (1774 – 1843) was an English poet of the Romantic school, one of the Lake Poets, and held the office of English Poet Laureate for 30 years from 1813 to his death in 1843. His poetry often contains supernatural elements, with Inchcape being one of his most famous ballads. Southey was also a prolific letter writer, literary scholar, essay writer, historian and biographer. He nearly put Charlotte Bronte off writing for good. We’ll forgive him, but it’s as well she was a stubborn Northern lass and didn’t listen to him. Nick Humez taught Western mythology at a state college in New Jersey (USA) before (semi-)retiring to Ohio. He is co-author, with his brother Alex, of a halfdozen books on English etymology and usage and their classical antecedents, and is married to sculptor Leslie Edwards Humez; they share their home with two streetrescue cats. River Hollins is a poet and writer of British and American extraction. After years of ill-advised foreign adventures and disastrous love affairs, she returned to the Sceptered Isle and now lives with eight alpacas in the Lake District. Clive Tern is writer of poetry and short stories. Originally Scottish, he lives in Cornwall UK. He is a First reader with Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine, and occasionally blogs about how hard writing is at www.clivetern.com. Georg Heym (1887-1912), one of the German Expressionist poets, is perhaps best known for his apocalyptic visions of cultural collapse, but he was also a sensitive and romantic observer of nature. His poetic output before his accidental death by drowning at the age of 24 was amazing. William Ruleman is Professor of English at Tennessee Wesleyan University. His latest volume of poems is From Rage to Hope (White Violet Books, 2016), while his recent works of translation include Verse for the Journey: Poems on the Wandering Life by the German Romantics (2014), A Girl & the Weather (poems & prose of Stefan Zweig) (2014), & Selected Poems of Maria Luise Weissmann (2015), all from Cedar Springs Books. Marcus Bales: Not much is known about Marcus except he lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio, and his poems have not appeared in Poetry Magazine or The New Yorker. You can, however, buy his book, 51 Poems, published by Lawrence Block Productions, at http://tinyurl.com/jo8ek3r

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Jane Yolen, often called "the Hans Christian Andersen of America" (Newsweek) and the "Aesop of the Twentieth Century" (N.Y. Times) is the author of well over 350 books. Her books and stories have won an assortment of awards: two Nebulas, a World Fantasy Award, a Caldecott, , the Golden Kite Award, three Mythopoeic awards, two Christopher Medals, a nomination for the National Book Award, and the Jewish Book Award, among many others. She has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize and numerous other awards. Six colleges and universities have given her honorary doctorates. Mark J. Mitchell studied writing at UC Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver, George Hitchcock and Barbara Hull. His work has been nominated for both Pushcart Prizes and The Best of the Net. Good Poems, American Places, Hunger Enough, Retail Woes and Line Drives. Lent 1999 is new from Leaf Garden Press. His chapbook, Three Visitors won the Negative Capability Press Chapbook Competition in 2010. Artifacts and Relics, another chapbook, was just released by Folded Word. His novel, Knight Prisoner, is available from Vagabondage. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the documentarian and filmmaker Joan Juster. He keeps a roof over his head by showing people around his beautiful city. JB Mulligan has had poems and stories in several hundred magazines over the past 40 years, has had two chapbooks published: The Stations of the Cross and THIS WAY TO THE EGRESS, and two e-books, The City Of Now And Then, and A Book of Psalms (a loose translation from The Bible). He has appeared in several anthologies, among them, Inside/Out: A Gathering Of Poets; The Irreal Reader (Cafe Irreal); and multiple volumes of Reflections on a Blue Planet. Anton Rose lives in Durham, UK with his wife and very fluffy dog. He writes fiction and poetry and his work has appeared in a number of online and print journals. Find him at antonrose.com or @antonjrose Derek Kannemeyer was born in Cape Town, raised in London, married (to an American girl who said, 'I'm going home, are you coming?') while working in France, and now lives and teaches in Richmond, Virginia. His writing has appeared in a few dozen publications, including Fiction International, The Saint Ann's Review, Smartish Pace, Rattapallax, Wind, Poetry Motel, and Rolling Stone. He currently edits The Poetry Virginia Review, the contest journal of the Poetry Society of Virginia. Jean L. Kreiling’s first collection of poems, The Truth in Dissonance (Kelsay Books), was published in 2014. Her work has appeared widely in 98


print and online journals, including American Arts Quarterly, Angle, The Evansville Review, Measure, and Mezzo Cammin, and in several anthologies. Kreiling is a past winner of the Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters Sonnet Contest, the String Poet Prize and the Able Muse Write Prize, and she has been a finalist for the Frost Farm Prize, the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award, and the Richard Wilbur Poetry Award. Sherry Stuart-Berman is a therapist working in community mental health. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Earth's Daughters, Blue Fifth Review, Atticus Review, Paterson Literary Review, Knot Magazine, among others, and the anthologies, Malala: Poems for Malala Yousafzai, Drawn to Marvel: Poems from the Comic Books, and 2 Horatio. She lives in New York with her husband and son. Her paternal grandmother was from Glasgow. Bruce Parker is a retired translator and has written poetry all his life. His work has appeared in Aries; Common Ground Review; Eutomia, an online review from the Federal University of Pernambuco State, Recife, Brazil; Terratory Journal; and is forthcoming in SPANK THE CARP. He lives with his wife, artist and poet Diane Corson, in Portland, Oregon, where they host a bi-weekly poetry workshop called “Ars Poetica.” Lee Todd Lacks is a mixed-media artist and music therapist, who seeks to blur the distinctions between rants, chants, anecdotes, and anthems. His experience of living with significant vision and hearing deficits often informs his writing and artwork, which have appeared in Bop Dead City, Tincture Journal, Liquid Imagination, Yellow Chair Review, The Monarch Review, Crack The Spine, and elsewhere. His poem, "Durgin-Park," won the Bop Dead City Contest in July of 2015. In May of 2016, Quantum Fairy Tales honored him with the Troll Under the Bridge Award. Lee Todd and his family reside in the Northeastern United States. Catherine Wald’s poems have appeared in American Journal of Nursing, Buddhist Poetry Journal, Chronogram, Exit 13, Friends Journal, J Journal, Jewish Literary Journal, New Verse News, Crime Poetry Weekly, The Lyric, The New Poet, The New York Times and Westchester Review. She is the author of the chapbook Distant, burned-out stars (Finishing Line Press, 2011). Christopher Goff was born and raised in Southwestern Virginia. He attended the University of Virginia, where he majored in English literature, and Harvard Law School. He is currently Senior Vice President and General Counsel of HarperCollins Publishers in New York. He began writing sonnets two years ago. His work has been published in Edge Effects. 99


Christopher Scribner has been told he’s a pretty good poet for a psychologist, and a pretty good psychologist for a poet. His light verse, humor, and satire have appeared in an eclectic mix of journals including Euphony, Light, Parody, Rat’s Ass Review, Satire, Journal of Irreproducible Results, and several professional publications. He is Professor of Psychology at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri, USA, where he recently completed his MFA and decided to try his hand at writing that’s not intended to evoke smiles. R. Bremner, of Glen Ridge via Lyndhurst, NJ, USA, is a former cab driver, truck unloader, security guard, computer programmer, and vice-president at Citibank. He writes of dead kings, many things he can’t define, incense, peppermints, and the color of time. Ron was in the first issue of Passaic Review, with Allen Ginsberg. He’s appeared in International Poetry Review, Oleander Review, Poets Online, and many elsewheres. His inexpensive books You who are the stranger, Poems for the Narrow, and Stories of Love and Hate are at Amazon and Lulu. Please visit his page at Poets & Writers: http://www.pw.org/content/r_bremner , where milk and cookies await. Elizabeth Spencer Spragins is a linguist and editor who taught in North Carolina community colleges for more than a decade. Her academic work has been published by Edwin Mellen Press and the Association for Computing Machinery. Her reviews and poetry have appeared in Ninnau, The Moravian, and the Society of Classical Poets Journal. Publication in The Bamboo Hut and Atlas Poetica is pending. An avid swimmer and an enthusiastic fiber artist, she lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia, USA. Brian Allgar, although immutably English, has lived in Paris since 1982. He started entering humorous competitions in 1967, but took a 35-year break, finally re-emerging in 2011 as a kind of Rip Van Winkle of the literary competition world. His work has appeared in The New Statesman, The Oldie, The Spectator, Flash500, Light Poetry, Lighten Up Online, Snakeskin, and probably a few other places that he’s forgotten. He also drinks malt whisky and writes music, which may explain his fondness for Mendelssohn’s 'Scottish' Symphony. Liùsaidh is a Forward Prize-nominated poet, lyricist, and author from the south of Scotland. Prior to sliding to the bottom of society, she worked the law. Her work has recently appeared in Poets & War, The Ghazal Page, The Dawntreader and Eastern Structures. She recently received honourable mention in the World Haiku Review. Teresa Zemaitisis an American writer and poet of Scottish and Irish descent. Her work has been published in Foliate Oak Literary Journal, The Poeming Pigeon, Silver Birch Press, and New Barker Magazine. Born and raised in New York, she currently resides in St. Petersburg, FL, and will earn her Masters of Fine Arts in Writing by year's end.

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Louise Fabiani is a Canadian science and cultural studies journalist, critic, fiction writer and poet. Her poems can be found in such magazines as Agenda, Prism International, U.S. 1 Worksheets, and Event, in two anthologies and as two collections—her 2011 pamphlet, Cryptic Dangers (out of print) and 1999 book, The Green Alembic (Signal Editions, Montreal). Some of her recent journalism appears in Pacific Standard, The American Scholar, and The Rumpus. Her parents were both born and raised in Glasgow. Molly Murray is the author of Today, She Is (Wipf & Stock, 2013), a creative nonfiction account of a traumatic brain injury, and the editor of papermillonline.com and The Atelier Project (2015). She has an MLitt in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow (2015) and studied creative writing at the Oxford Dept. of Cont. Education Summer School (2012). Her poetry and stories have appeared in or are forthcoming in publications including From Glasgow to Saturn, Ink, Sweat and Tears, and Quailbellmagazine.com. She recently moved from the northwest coast of Scotland to Portland, Oregon because she happens to love northwest coastlines. Jessy Randall’s poems and other things have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry, McSweeney’s, and Rattle. Her most recent book is Suicide Hotline Hold Music (Red Hen, 2016). She is a librarian at Colorado College and her website is http://bit.ly/JessyRandall. Daniel M. Shapiro’s poems have appeared in Gargoyle, Forklift, and RHINO. His most recent book is How the Potato Chip Was Invented (sunnyoutside, 2013). He is a public school teacher in Pittsburgh and his website is http://littlemythsdms.blogspot.com/. Simon Williams has six published collections. His latest pamphlet, Spotting Capybaras in the Work of Marc Chagall http://www.indigodreams.co.uk/simonwilliams/4592093628, launched in April and his latest full collection, Inti, was published in July http://www.overstepsbooks.com/cat/inti/. Simon was elected The Bard of Exeter in 2013 and founded the large-format magazine, The Broadsheet. He makes some sort of a living as a journalist. Susan Taylor began writing in her teens in the idyllic setting of her family farm in the Lincolnshire Wolds—Tennyson country—in fact, the house where she grew up was a hill top folly built by the poet’s brother in the shape of a chest of drawers upside down. She has six published poetry collection, the latest, Temporal Bones, published by Oversteps Books in July 2106, brings versions of tales from volcanic Iceland to Arthurian meadows and from Dartmoor to Mesopotamia. Elizabeth Archer writes poetry, short fiction and novels. She lives in the Texas Hill Country.

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NICK HUMEZ RIVER HOLLINS CLIVE TERN WILLIAM RULEMAN MARCUS BALES JANE YOLEN MARK J. MITCHELL JB MULLIGAN ANTON ROSE DEREK KANNEMEYER JEAN L. KREILING SHERRY STUART-BERMAN BRUCE PARKER LEE TODD LACKS CATHERINE WALD CHRISTOPHER GOFF CHRISTOPHER SCRIBNER R. BREMNER ELIZABETH SPENCER SPRAGINS BRIAN ALLGAR LIÙSAIDH TERESA ZEMAITIS LOUISE FABIANI MOLLY MURRAY JESSY RANDALL DANIEL. M. SHAPIRO SIMON WILLIAMS SUSAN TAYLOR ELIZABETH ARCHER Cover Image © Unholy Vault Designs


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