by Olga Broumas
Let’s not have tea. White wine
eases the mind along
of the faithful body, helps
any memory once engraved
on the twin
chromosome ribbons, emerge, tentative
from the archaeology of an excised past.
I am a woman
the necessity of an impulse whose goal or origin
still lie beyond me. I keep the goat
than the pastoral reasons. I work
in silver the tongue-like forms
that curve round a throat
an arm-pit, the upper
thigh, whose significance stirs in me
like a curviform alphabet
to consist of vowels, beginning with O, the O-
mega, horseshoe, the cave of sound.
What tiny fragments
survive, mangled into our language.
I am a woman committed to
of transliteration, the methodology
of a mind
stunned at the suddenly
possible shifts of meaning – for which
in a ward on fire, we must
by Sylvia Plath
Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.
Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.
Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,
Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We
Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!
We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,
Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:
We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot’s in the door.
Divine Flashes … Iraqi
The Morning of Manifestation sighed,
the breeze of Grace breathed gently,
upon the sea of Generosity.
The clouds of Abundance poured down the rain
upon the soil of preparedness;
so much rain that the earth shone with Light.
The lover, then, nourished with the water of life, awoke from the slumber of nonexistence, put on the cloak of being and tied around her brow the turban of contemplation; she clinched the belt of desire about her waist and set forth with the foot of sincerity upon the path of the Search.
The lover desires to see the Beloved with Certainty’s Eye, and wanders a bewildered lifetime in this aspiration. Then suddenly with her heart’s ear she hears a voice;
The magic spring
that gives eternal Life, is in your heart
but you have blocked the flow.
Then the Eye of Certainty opens, and staring inwardly at herself, the lover finds herself lost, vanished. But … she finds the Beloved; and when she looks still deeper, realizes the Beloved is herself. She exclaims,
Beloved, I sought you
here and there,
asked for news of you
from all I met;
then saw you through myself
and found we were identical.
Now I blush to think I ever
searched for signs of you.
Reference: Chittick, William C. and Wilson, Peter Lamborn (trans). Fakhruddin ‘Iraqi: Divine Flashes. London: SPCK, 1982.
you who cradle uranium and the rose
in your arms – in this vast mysterious universe
my very bones belong to you.
You witness my love affair
with the tall grass, wind, fox:
my senses – your holy communion.
I stand on your soil
in sunlight, starlight, moonlight,
rain, eclipse and earthquake,
offering a timeless prayer.
I walk in the spirit of you
Earth, Mother, Ge.
I speak in your tongues
I plant your seeds.
Attend my dreams
Clarify my thoughts
Inform my acts.
And every day at dawn
seize my heart anew.
Excerpts from: H.D. “Tribute to the Angels” 1945.
Ref: TRILOGY by H.D. Norman Holmes Pearson,
NY: New Directions Books, 1973.
Swiftly re-light the flame,
Aphrodite, holy name,
Astarte, hull and spar
of wrecked ships lost your star,
forgot the light at dusk,
forgot the prayer at dawn;
return, O holiest one,
Venus whose name is kin
for I can say truthfully,
her veils were white as snow,
so as no fuller on earth
can white them; I can say
she looked beautiful, she looked lovely,
she was clothed with a garment
down to the foot, but it was not
girt about with a golden girdle,
there was no gold, no color
there was no gleam in the stuff
nor shadow of hem and seam,
as it fell to the floor; she bore
none of the usual attributes;
the Child was not with her2.
she must have been pleased with us,
who did not forego our heritage
at the grave-edge;
she must have been pleased
with the straggling company of the brush and quill
who did not deny their birthright;
she must have been pleased with us,
for she looked so kindly at us
under her drift of veils,
and she carried a book3.
she carries a book but it is not
the tome of the ancient wisdom,
the pages, I imagine, are the blank ages
of the unwritten volume of the new4;
1 “Tribute to the Angels” p.12, (1945) in Trilogy, p.75.
2 “Tribute to the Angels” p. 32, (1945) in Trilogy, p.97.
3 “Tribute to the Angels” p.35, (1945) in Trilogy, p.100.
4 “Tribute to the Angels” p.38, (1945) in Trilogy, p.103.
camped on the frontier
of my life, pregnant with the future
I am comforted by you
star fixed in my sky
think of your courage
a knife being born in your belly
you fear a painful birth
for the world does not yet contain
the contours of our sharp new selves
we had known this behind our minds
for years when over coffee one quiet dawn
we discussed the journeys that we must make
each to create a world that can receive us
thru new birth canals that will not strangle
the erupting self, nor rupture the body in birth
I have come past outposts warning
not to forsake a history written
in advance – into light that scrapes
my eyes clear of learned cataracts
seeking fresh eyes that can see new
bone forming in flesh
but never suspending my gravity
for another’s, for tho clumsy
with my weight, I must trust it
always watching for those who thrust
into the light
at the same deep angle
their refractions echoing
in the well of the future
to chart our depth by
New York City
(published in WOMANSPIRIT March 1980)
O MOTHER SUN
O Mother Sun
who is with me
wherever I am.
May I always remember
surging through my nerve fibres
breathing in my body,
Present in the forms all around me.
May I remember to be gracious
For Thine is the planet.
O Mother Sun
You are Daughter too – Child of Something Bigger.
Given life by the primordial cosmic dynamics.
We share the same Great Source
from whence all Form comes.
We … are Awesome.
All praise be.
Glenys Livingstone 1998 C.E.
Facing The Pacific at Night
by Kevin Hart
Driving east, in the darkness between two stars
Or between two thoughts, you meet the greatest ocean,
That cold expanse the rain can never net,
And driving east, you are a child again …
The web of names is brushed aside from things,
The ocean’s name is quietly washed away
Revealing the thing itself, an energy,
An elemental life flashing in starlight,
No word can shrink it down to fit the mind,
It is already there, between two thoughts,
The darkness in which you travel and arrive,
The nameless one. the surname of all things,
The ocean slowly rocks from side to side,
A child itself, asleep in its bed of rocks,
No parent there to wake it from a dream,
To draw the ancient gods between the stars,
You stand upon the cliff, no longer cold,
And you are weightless, back before the thrust
And rush of birth when beards of blood are grown;
Or outside time, as though you had just died
To birth and death, no name to hide behind,
No name to splay the world and burn it whole,
The ocean quietly moves within your ear
And flashes in your eyes: the silent place
Outside the world we know is here and now,
Between two thoughts, a child that does not grow,
A silence undressing words, a nameless love.
Rainer Maria Rilke – 1900’s
This is the creature there has never been.
They never knew it, and yet, none the less,
they loved the way it moved, its suppleness, its neck, its very gaze—mild and serene.
Not there, because they loved it, it behaved as though it were. So, they always left some space,
and in that clear, unpeopled space they saved, it lightly reared its head,
with scarce a trace of not being there
They fed it, not with corn, but only with the possibility of being. And that was able to confer such strength, its brow put forth a horn. One Horn.
Whitely it stole up to a maid,
within the silver mirror, and in her.