propping each other up.
loosely forming a gothic
house of prayer or
“Here is the church
Here is the steeple,”
Will these hands turn over
Presenting the wiggling fingers)
Revealed when church is “opened” in the poem?
Our hands are indeed a greater church,
a cathedral, folded, a place,
where we meet God
open, performing deeds
that honor him,
God moves among us
on a path, in places,
wrought by our own hands
Joan Leotta plays with words on page and stage. She loves writing ekphrastic poetry. Her work has appeared on Visual Verse, The Ekphrastic Review, Pine Song, the Ashmoleon, and others. Her performance work includes telling tales of food, family, and strong women--and ekphrastic tales explicating art exhibits in museums.
The Forest Fire
What are you? Rare breed calf-human boy hybrid,
ornamental pot-bellied pig, saint’s face imposed
on the head of a mature tapir? I get that a lot.
One tends not to probe identity issues too deeply
when one’s forest is burning. The birds wheel aimlessly
here and are too heavy for the branches. One of them
is wingless yet suspended mid-air. I blame disturbances
in magnetic fields caused by the lack of distinct seasons.
in the foreground it is winter but, in the background
a luxurious amber summer is spreading out. The trees
are as furry and soft as mink. See me walking around
with my brother looking back upon the disintegration
of the natural order- a grass eater growling at a mountain
lion. Incongruence was like a powerful drug to our creator.
See how despair fills the bodies of the bears/oversized
Tasmanian devils/prehistoric sabercats, they can barely
stand with the weight of it. Notice that deer are inherently
spiritual animals and frequently tilt their heads upwards-
how vulnerable this makes them seem! If you stare at
a gazelle’s leap for survival, it will make you joyous. If you
stare at that running bull for long enough, the angle
of its legs will confuse you. Even if we called to that man,
“Save us!”, he would ignore us. Obsessed with mead
and milk maids that never appear. No idea he is as much
a prisoner here as we are. He refuses to look at the fire directly.
I don’t know what started this blaze, or why the canopies
of those trees are particularly flammable. A collection
of mysteries. Isn’t that what a forest is? But it’s too late.
A touch paper has been lit in in my animal heart. My brother
and I are running away to a new vista, just visible beneath
the orderly stream of those non-specific flying things
in the distance. It is opening up as we run. The sea, the sea!
Waves are rolling in, again and again, like beautiful new beginnings.
Fiona's poetry and short stories have been published in Lighthouse, The Blue Nib, Into the Void, Boyne Berries and Skylight 47, amongst many others. Her short fiction was nominated for the Australian Morrison Mentoring prize in 2014 and 2015, and her poetry was selected for the National Poetry Day Ireland 2019 ‘Labellit’ project. Her poem 'Moon' was nominated for The Best of the Net.
falling on the rock,
or rising off it,
comes and goes,
eats his liver each day,
grows back overnight,
liver or no liver
rising off the rock . . .
clouded souls cry out . . .
for him to return . . .
Prometheus dreams . . .
his winged hands . . .
hold a haloed star . . .
burn eagle feathers . . .
the god’s nightmare . . . chained to . . .
“You can have my liver
each day, but overnight
I reign supreme, when I,
closes his fiery eyes . . .
bows before it . . .
celestial lightning and thunder . . .
to crown himself . . .
before he opens his fiery eyes . . .
between a waking
and a dreaming
Eamon O'Caoineachan is a poet, originally from Co. Donegal, Ireland, but living in Houston, Texas. His work is published in Prometheus Dreaming, The Ekphrastic Review, Vita Brevis Press and the University of St. Thomas's literary magazines, Thoroughfare and Laurels. He is the recipient of The Robert Lee Frost-Vince D’Amico Poetry Award and the Rev. Edward A. Lee Endowed Scholarship in English at the University of St. Thomas, Houston. He is completing his MA in English and working on his first poetry collection.
Beneath the Trees
It is my father. He sits on a bench
on a patch of grass
beneath trees, a field of wheat
in the distance, a farmhouse’s
thatched roof gold under sun.
All are dots, bright-hued
circles of purple, blue, yellow, green.
Placed just so to form solids--
his body, the bench, the trees…
He wears a wide-brimmed hat,
a jacket and trousers, his dark shoes
firmly on violet earth.
His back is to me as I call
dad, dad, my voice outside the frame.
He is colour within colour,
vivid in this circular world.
This must be heaven I think.
How pleasing to the eye.
How gentle the air, the bounce
of colours, his breath a sigh
of new-green leaves.
Valerie Bacharach is a proud member of Carlow University’s Madwomen in the Attic writing workshops. Her writing has appeared or will appear in publications including Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Pittsburgh Quarterly, The Tishman Review, Topology Magazine, Poetica, The Ekphrastic Review, Talking/Writing, and Vox Viola. Her chapbook, Fireweed, was published in August 2018 by Main Street Rag.
Venus de Milo the First Night Her Husband Deploys to Iraq
Every sound is louder now.
Skeletal leaves scratch the patio,
the neighbor’s garage door clangs shut,
their television clamoring
through thin duplex walls.
Water from the kitchen faucet falls
like Niagara in the stainless-steel sink.
As the dreaming dog whimpers
moth wings sizzle against light
and time—a patient predator--
stretches on a limb of months
under which I curl unarmed.
Sarah Colby is a writer, art historian, wife of a retired Army Chaplain and mother to a Navy Veteran son. She has an exuberant interest in making the ordinary luminous. She enjoys writing poetry of place and is currently working on a manuscript of poems gathered from her experiences and travels as a military spouse. Sarah lives with her husband and two cats in San Antonio, Texas, where she mentors veteran/military writing groups.
A few years ago, a writer friend I loved was sick with cancer and I was looking after him. When I took him to the hospice, he packed nothing but a hand-drawn card from Ofelia, and left this note addressed to his landlords, taped to the stove: "I am going to a nice place to die. When I am finished with that welcome task, a trusted colleague of mine will enter the premises to take care of my belongings and tidy up for you. Please do not mistake my literary papers and classical records for trash and put them out on the curb."
Lorette C. Luzajic
This poem was first published at Black Coffee Review. It also appeared in the author's book, Pretty Time Machine: Ekphrastic Prose Poems.
Kuch saal pehle, aik musanif dost, jis se main payar karti thi, cancer ki bemari mein mubtala tha aur main uski timardari kar rhi thi. Jab main usse hospice chornae gae to uss ne kuch samaan nahein baandha siwaye Ofelia ke hath se banaye hue card ke aur ye note apne malik-makan ke liye choolae se tape ke saath chipka ke choar diya: “main aik achi jage marne ke liye ja raha hoon. Jab main is khush-aaind kam se farigh ho jaon ga to mera aik bohat bharose-mand saathi is jage se mera saara samaan le jae ga aur tumhare liye safaei bhe kar de ga. Meharbani farma kar mere aadbi muqalaat aur classical records ko galti se bhi radi na samajh lena aur bahir sarak ke kinare na rakh dena.”
translated into Urdu by Saad Ali
Saad Ali (b. 1980 C.E. in Okara, Pakistan) has been brought up in the UK and Pakistan. He holds a BSc and an MSc in Management from the University of Leicester, UK. He is an existential philosopher-poet. Ali has authored four books of poetry i.e. Ephemeral Echoes (AuthorHouse, 2018), Metamorphoses: Poetic Discourses (AuthorHouse, 2019), Ekphrases: Book One (AuthorHouse, 2020), and Prose Poems: Βιβλίο Άλφα (AuthorHouse, 2020). By profession, he is a Lecturer, Consultant and Trainer/Mentor. Some of his influences include: Vyasa, Homer, Ovid, Attar, Rumi, Nietzsche, and Tagore. He is fond of the Persian, Chinese and Greek cuisines. He likes learning different languages, travelling by train and exploring cities on foot. To learn more about his work, please visit www.saadalipoetry.com.
Lorette C. Luzajic is a writer living in Toronto, Canada. She studied journalism at Ryerson University. She most often writes about art, and has a seven year column on Wine and Art pairings at Good Food Revolution. Her creative writing has appeared in several hundred journals and magazines online and in print, and about a dozen anthologies as well. She has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and her one of her two works nominated for Best of the Net was a finalist. She is the author of five poetry books, including Pretty Time Machine, a collection of ekphrastic prose poems. Lorette is the founding editor of The Ekphrastic Review, a journal devoted entirely to literature inspired by visual art. She is also an award-winning visual artist, whose collage paintings are internationally collected and exhibited, and have appeared in galleries, museums, reality TV shows, billboards, magazine ads, and more. Visit her at www.mixedupmedia.ca.
Shelley Burns Romantically.
Caught in his repose
Shelley sleeps comfortably
on top of a smoking raft.
Onlookers bow their heads
in a funereal way,
moving closer to warm
themselves on the pyre.
Lord Byron stares
beyond the corpse,
and out to sea
to find his pleasure.
Trelawney inspects his feet.
The gathering crowd lean in closer still
for more heat.
Leigh Hunt suspects there's fakery.
He ponders, hand on chin,
how Shelley looks so well
ten days in;
no wrinkled, salty, skin.
Behind them all ─ a winter tree in August.
Sinéad McClure is a writer, radio producer, and illustrator. She has written and co-produced dramas that have aired on RTEjr Radio. Her latest production "Indestructible" was broadcast on Rtejr Radio in December 2019. Her poem "Tea & Sympathy" was published in Crossways Literary Magazine in January 2020. Her short story "Five Years" has been published in Meat for Tea, the Valley Review in Autumn 2019. Sinéad has also written articles for ALHAUS magazine. She often revisits the theme of the natural environment in her work and has a particular interest in wildlife conservation. She is currently working on an illustrated book of poems for younger people called Curlew Logic.
This oliphant was carved from ivory
and blown by a man who enjoyed hunting.
The man who blew the horn is
labelled in the cathedral treasury.
A Catholic relic revealing Islamic art:
a Fatimid warrior, gazelles, giraffe,
How did the man who blew this horn,
a thousand years ago, gain such treasure?
How many lives were taken altogether?
We can’t forgive inherent cruelty
but can take time to admire artistry,
carving beasts lined up for slaughter.
We know who killed the elephant,
can name the hunter not the artisan
which tells us much of medieval lives.
If the horn is blown
it will shatter.
All who held this oliphant
and trusted it was beautiful,
will have become dust.
Clint Wastling’s poetry has been published in Blue Nib, Dream Catcher, Strix, Marble and online with The Algebra of Owls. He’s also been published in the USA in Parody and Avocet. Clint has a pamphlet: Layers published by Maytree Press. His novel, The Geology of Desire, is an LGBTQ thriller set around Whitby in the 1980’s and Hull during World War II. He also has a sci-fi novel: Tyrants Rex set 3000 years in the future, both published by Stairwell Books.
many petaled crown
Alongside her career as a performer and playwright, Mary Lincoln has always written poetry. She has recently completed a short course in poetic form at Goldsmiths University (London) during which she was introduced to the Ekphrastic
Hunger fills me, though not for food.
A feast of one, but with a brood,
who watches motion, but cannot move.
It’s a fancy affair but full of gall.
A shining light casts a dreadful pall.
No body writes the writing on the wall.
There’s mischief afoot in this mellow fray.
The faithful now fake, the pack now prey.
A club could beat us, but could never slay.
Those below walk above in this rotten place.
There’s nowhere to go, but there's still a chase.
The host is all over yet won’t show his face.
A rainbow blazes upon the ground.
King without crown, player without sound.
Pity the sleeper that comes around.
Peter O’Donovan is a scientist and writer living in Seattle, WA. Originally from Saskatchewan, he received his doctorate from the University of Toronto, studying design aesthetics. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Typehouse, Sheila-Na-Gig, Qwerty, and the Torontoist.
The Ekphrastic Review
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