Lost in Translation
I’ve linked your name to each time
the muezzin pleads;
he will, by default, call your name
to my tongue. Forked lines on my palms
speak of cruel fate – fickle charity –
continue your sacrificing of me
if this will bring the world
to your feet.
The act of waiting isn’t lost
to my artistic clarity.
Your sleep is a castle of bones.
I’ve tied my wrists to your dominance;
way sided the hour of dawn
that should otherwise see me
bowed in worship. Become
known to the distances I’ve eliminated –
the boats I’ve been burning
to progress to you.
Sheikha A. is from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. Her work has appeared in over 90 literary venues so far, both print and online, including several anthologies by different presses. She edits poetry for eFiction India. More about her can be accessed on her blog sheikha82.wordpress.com
Suvojit Banerjee is from India and the United States. He started writing early, but found his niche in his early twenties. His works have been published in many Indian and International journals and
magazines and featured in several anthologies. He currently works in a software company, and has worked as a lead writer/reviewer for a technology website. When not writing, he can be found dabbling in sketch and photography.
Twelfth century icon from St. Catherine's Monastery, Egypt, based on The Ladder of Paradise, by John Climacus around 600 A.D. The monastic treatise, also known as the Scala, was widely used in teaching in Eastern Christianity. It included thirty steps or "rungs" that included "on lying," "on cowardice," "on despondency," "on avarice," and "on peace of the soul."
January 12th 2010, Haiti
Madonna of Port-au-Prince
You who look like Alice Your eyes red with shattered plaster and weeping
Your full lips bruised with dirt
Your hairpiece of locks slipping back like a cowl
The powder dusting your oval cheeks is grey concrete —
If the rest of you was not buried under rocks of blasted wall
And the figure in the foreground was not blood splattered
And someone’s leg was not trapped behind you,
You could have been a pretty girl
With sand on your bare arms
Writing your name on a shell
On some beach off Les Cayes—
You who look like Alice
Another lost girl I used to know,
Not an ikon’s model
On a chapel wall in Jacmel
But a strange Madonna anyhow
Flat on the scattered masonry
Sans enfant, or enfant gone from your hands
To the devouring earth —
The ikon herself
Impassive Erzulie, gazing through your Carib face
From a palette of pixels
Framing now before me.
Did you find him, maman, the old man,
Or was it the grandchild left in your care for the day,
Or, in the catastrophe behind you,
The daughter who was setting your supper,
Or perhaps your friend, having a Dominican ponche with you?
Your long arms, maman, are bathed in the white dust of disastrous city-fall,
Your fingers are exhausted from their frantic and futile search for bones,
For hair, for a belt or a bodice,
For a baby, a baby who was impossibly there,
Gurgling at her spoon
Teasing your heart,
And you singing a lullaby, “Haiti Cherie”
Haiti beloved, beloved child,
Gone child, gone with the walls, the debris, the tranblanterre and the lavalas,
Gone from your arms, from your keening, scrabbling fingers
Despairing under block, under board, under broken back
And the child disparu, taken —
Or was it your friend from Cap Haitien,
Or the daughter who shared your name,
Or the old man — companion of your days,
Comrade of sleepless hours, keeper of your young heart
Comforter of those fallen breasts
Fallen under your torn chemise
Fallen with the roofs and the windows and the President’s house
Fallen with the broken routes of Port-au-Prince Fallen and forlorn, Haiti Cherie?
The ionic columns hold nothing up
Not the twin cupolas that welcomed mariners to Port-au-Prince
Not the grand round windows of stained-glass ikons
Not the novenas of those who died in the fallen girders,
Unless you count the blue dome of vacant air
The ruined, ruined facades
The hovering stench —
Has Boukman triumphed?
Do Legba and Ghede aka Baron Samedi mount the buried altars?
Does Ogoun lie entombed in this broken peristyle?
Do these curious questions matter to the houngan
Crying down the mess of fallen masonry
To touch his daughter’s ears?--
Outside the shattered cathedral
The women kneeling in the dust
Raise rosaries to the familiar Haitian sky
And lift their psalms
Past the ionic columns
That hold nothing up.
At Capernaum, Boats
“The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who
sat in the region and shadow of death, light has dawned.” – Matthew 4:16.
This, the Port of the boat people
This, the Port of their Prince
Docks of sails in sunset--
This is the Port of the boat people
After Dessalines and Duvalier, HIV and cholera
After tornado and tremblor
The Gadarene adventure and their Bay of Pigs
Canoewrecks off Florida, the invading boots of marines
From caravel to carrier—
After the desolate cities of my pilgrimage
And diverse tribulations
From deserts and catacombs to creole favelas,
These crosses of masts under the purpling evening
Their sails folding like seamless robes
The people neither coming nor going Home-harbour safe
Intransit to the undying lands of their Prince
Who loved fishermen
Who slept in their boats
Roped their storms to His peace
And encompassed their little faith
With His incomprehensible love
Home harbour safe—
At Capernaum, boats
The Port of the boat people
The Port of our Prince.
In Caravaggio’s Ikon
In Caravaggio’s ikon of Thomas seeing Christ
all eyes are locked to the doubter’s firm finger
poking around the torn flesh, under
the strong hand of the Carpenter. Thomas,
Apostle to our secular, mocking, murderous
new age, meeting his worst-case scenario
with the firm grit of flesh under his thumb
that index of incarnation— incarnation, Immanuel
God is with us — under the impossible rubble
as we claw at the unimaginable earthfall, Immanuel—
over the body of someone’s son fallen in crossfire
in shrieking shadowlands of betrayal
through terminal disorientation of disease, Immanuel.
Because that wound is real, the death was certain
here, beyond reason, beyond the apocalypse
of private disasters, is something else
is Life beyond life, beyond heartbreak
beyond assassination, beyond the tremblor
at 3 in the afternoon, beyond the amnesiac cancer of the mind.
Here, under our finger, is faith, here is hope,
and He asks us, against the brutal heel on the locked door
the harsh fist of imploding earth
the shroud covered bier—
“Love one another.”
John Robert Lee
JOHN ROBERT LEE (b. St. Lucia 1948) has published several collections of poetry. His short stories and poems have been widely anthologised. His reviews and columns have appeared with regularity in newspapers, local and regional. He has also produced and presented radio and television programmes in St. Lucia for many years. His books include Saint Lucian (1988), Artefacts (2000), Canticles (2007), Elemental (2008), Sighting (2013), City Remembrances (2016). He compiled and edited Roseau Valley and other poems for Brother George Odlum (2003), Bibliography of Saint Lucian Creative Writing 1948-2013 (2013); he co-edited Saint Lucian Literature and Theatre: an anthology of reviews (2006) with fellow St. Lucian poet Kendel Hippolyte and co-edited Sent Lisi: poems and art of Saint Lucia (2014) with Kendel Hippolyte, Jane King and Vladimir Lucien.
Editor's note: Some of the photos shown with John Robert Lee's Haiti earthquake sequence were not the original photos that he was inspired by. Where unable to obtain permission to show specific photographs, Ekphrastic has substituted public domain imagery that is related to the pieces. In this case, the author and editor believe the subject matter is so important and timely again that selecting related imagery was the best option. Both paintings are the original inspiration.
Rothko Meant Nothing
canvases painted in one colour.
Where the detail? I've painted
house walls with one colour.
Modern art is crap. Money
then I saw the ordinary light
of a wintered Humber Estuary
subtle difference to the sky
Paul Brookes has performed in poetry performance group "Rats for Love" and is included in their "Rats for Love: The Book" Bristol Broadsides, 1989. His first chapbook "The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley" by Dearne Community Arts, 1993. He has read his work on BBC Radio Bristol and had a creative writing workshop for sixth formers broadcast on BBC Radio Five Live.
A black man in 1890 painted
these gorgeous glowing onions.
Don’t ask why his colour matters.
Colour mattered when he painted
the crock, the kettle, the onions,
their lovely coppery-gold patina.
Still does. Still life.
Tricia Marcella Cimera
This poem was written as part of the 20 Poem Challenge.
Tricia Marcella Cimera will forever be an obsessed reader and lover of words. Look for her work in these diverse places: Buddhist Poetry Review, The Ekphrastic Review, Foliate Oak, Fox Adoption, Hedgerow, I Am Not A Silent Poet, Mad Swirl, Silver Birch Press, Stepping Stones, Yellow Chair Review, and elsewhere. She has a micro collection of water-themed poems called THE SEA AND A RIVER on the Origami Poems Project website. Tricia believes there’s no place like her own backyard and has traveled the world (including Graceland). She lives with her husband and family of animals in Illinois / in a town called St. Charles / by a river named Fox.
Lorette C. Luzajic
mixed media on canvas
Did you know? You can support The Ekphrastic Review by purchasing a small artwork or photography print by Lorette at Etsy.
Ekphrastic readers and writers will receive a special 25% discount. Just enter EKPHRASTIC25 at check out.
The story of the West Virginia mothman- which in turn inspired the 1975 book by John Keel- inspired this creepy, surreal work.
The legend began in the '60s when some gravediggers all saw an eerie, impossible sight, a human figure flying.
Other sightings were reported in different counties.
Although experts believe folks were viewing a seven foot crane, the story had already taken root in the popular imagination.
12x12" work comes ready to hang, or frame as desired.
Thank you for supporting my creative practice.
Bacchus Brings Her
Bacchus brings her blue-violet bunches
from a landscape teeming
with patina’d clouds.
Trees bend around her
but their bare bark offers
no protection against wind.
She crouches no cave no pelt
He brings her leopard skin
He brings her to a cave
steaming with warm
He shelters her
under his shaggy brow
licks his lips
and scatters grapes like amethysts
on a dry floor.
This poem was written for the 20 Poem Challenge.
Taunja Thomson: "My poetry has most recently appeared in Anti-Heroin Chic and will be featured in the September 2016 issue of Halcyon Days. Two of my poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Award: “Seahorse and Moon” in 2005 and “I Walked Out in January” in 2016. I have co-authored a chapbook of ekphrastic poetry which has recently been accepted for publication and have a writer’s page at https://www.facebook.com/TaunjaThomsonWriter"
Seeing No Tomorrow
Dead wood hard and brittle
that won’t take fire
veins choked with dust
as the space between
strange as dark matter
a grief invisible
so deep the world moves back
forever out of reach
no welcome for you
in that perfect light
you are the opposite
a stopped watch
a dead end
a mouth without a tongue
a bridge that ends
in empty air
This poem was written as part of the 20 Poem Challenge.
Mary McCarthy has always been a writer, but spent most of her working life as a Registered Nurse. Her work has appeared in many online and print journals, including Earth's Daughters, Gnarled Oak, Third Wednesday and Three Elements Review. She is grateful for the wonderful online communities of writers and poets sharing their work and passion for writing, providing a rich world of inspiration, appreciation, and delight.
The answer is definitely NO!
I don't want a hopeless sky
layered with shades of dark grey
diffusing to pale teal
on the near horizon.
I don't want my view squared off
limited and restricted
by blank, silent or unstretched canvas.
I want hope
I want light
sunlight and nuances of shade.
I want colour
I want painters, photographers
carvers and engravers,
collagists and ceramicists
weavers and wordsmiths
with their delicious,
to burst from the frames
set my mind on fire.
This poem was written as part of the 20 Poem Challenge.
Sue Dymoke is Reader in Education and National Teaching Fellow at the University of Leicester, UK. Her research focuses on poetry pedagogy (for example: Dymoke, Barrs, Lambirth and Wilson, Making Poetry Happen: transforming the poetry classroom, published by Bloomsbury in 2015). Her second full poetry collection is Moon at the Park and Ride (2012, Shoestring Press) and she is published widely in poetry magazines. Sue blogs occasionally at http://suedymokepoetry.com.
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