Hylas and the Nymphs
Our little eleventh-grade clique was something of a phenomenon at our high school. Probably had at least something to do with beating the odds and having seven carrot tops in the same grade. We’d coordinate our outfits and hair every morning, and discuss activities—like when to go for practice swims at the community pool, whose musty smell always seemed to prevail over chlorine. We’d rehearse what to say when Hy showed up for lifeguard duty, because, let’s face it, Hy was a god. You’ll probably guess this all happened way before #metoo and PC-ness when I tell you we delighted in calling ourselves the nymphettes.
One day, we skipped French class and walked down to the five-and-dime to buy seven barrettes with fake carnations—five yellow and two white—to clip onto our copper-coloured hair. We’d already saved up our allowances to buy the most revealing tank suits you could find at Sears—which wasn’t saying much—so we bought a size too small to emphasize our pale, burgeoning bodies.
On that gloomy Friday afternoon, we went to the rec centre close to closing time, so we’d be the only swimmers. We strutted past the lifeguard chair on our way to the water, vying to capture Hy's gaze, but of course he ignored us. Even when Daphne eyed the bump in his Speedo and said, “You look good in purple, Hy,” he kept his attention on his beefcake magazine.
As we slipped into the water, Cleo slapped Daphne’s rear. “It’s so obvious he’s a homo.”
Daphne flipped a blaze of orange hair over her shoulder. “Do I look like I care? He’s still a hunk.”
We were splashing around and giggling, when Mae went in for the kill. “Oh no!” she said, trying to sound all bougie, removing the string of plastic beads from around her neck, “I’m still wearing my pearls. Hy won’t you be a sweetie and hold onto these for me?”
Hy sighed, but obligingly knelt down poolside to receive Mae’s plainly fake offering. Taking advantage of his momentary imbalance, Mel reached up to stroke his muscular forearm, then yanked him forward into the pool where he landed with a great plunk and splash. The seven of us crowded over and around him, shrieking in delight. We swarmed and thrashed like a school of orange and white giant Koi at feeding time, kicking each other and sending up geysers of moss-green water. Now that we’d trapped him, we whispered to one another what we wanted to do with him. Pull down his trunks! You hold him, I’ll kiss him! Where’d he go, though?
As abruptly as we’d begun our shenanigans, we halted, a hush descending over the dank pool like dusk and we backed away from each other until we formed a ring and the water settled. Mae began to whimper and Daphne slit her eyes. “Too late to clutch at your pearls, missy.”
We all stared into the murk, some of us holding our breaths, until we made out Hy’s rippling, half-submerged form. At first there was astonishment, even triumph on our faces, as if we’d discovered new power in mortality and we circled in closer, contemplating his beauty until reality summoned us toward the inevitable.
Kathryn Silver-Hajo studied with Pamela Painter and others in the MFA program in Creative Writing at Emerson College. Recently, she’s worked with Meg Pokrass and Kathryn Kulpa in their Microfiction Masterclass as well as Hester Kaplan and Ann Hood in their prompt-based writing workshops. Pre-pandemic she worked with Andre Dubus III at Writers in Paradise at Eckerd College, and with Ann Hood and Stewart O’Nan at the Spannocchia Writers Workshop in Tuscany on her novel, Roots of The Banyan Tree. Kathryn's stories and poems have appeared in Boston Literary Magazine, Flash Fiction Magazine, The New Verse News, and Rusted Radishes: Beirut Literary and Art Journal. They may be found on her website: www.kathrynsilverhajo.com/
Reaching and Reaching: a Tanka Sequence
Reaching and reaching
Fingers searching desperately
Grasping only air
In need of something to hold
Reaching out to find nothing
A slow waltz throughout your mind
A spin and a twirl
Hard feet on tender neurons
Your wallflower thoughts racing
So very haunted
Deceptively pretty dreams
Lure you to nightmares
Happiness turns bitter fast
And love morphs into hatred
Unable to wake
Frantically you toss and turn
So desperate to make it stop
Living your truth in your sleep
Truth you loathe to face
But cosmic retribution
WIll be done somehow
Powers of the universe
Laugh at your unconscious form
Writhing as in pain
Seeking relief and solace
Outward dance matching
Needy internal rhythm
As you seek one last escape
Reaching and reaching
But never, ever touching
Such a cross to bear
Yours in both dream and real life
How do you carry that load?
With step after step
You grow increasingly weak
While your outstretched hands
Long for touch that does not come
Your lonely fingertips ache
Drenched in a fine sheen of sweat
Shaking with horror
You go from a dark nightmare
To soulless reality
With eyes wide open
Breathing and heart rate slowing
You rest, unmoving
As the real suffering starts
And misery becomes you
Time is running out
Coming faster each second
But you are frozen
Sick down to your very core
With a deadly miasma
This phantom illness
Is immune to all treatments
No voodoo potions
No scientific breakthroughs
And no snake oil cures will help
Reaching and reaching
Out into the great abyss
That was once your soul
For something just out of reach
Rose Menyon Heflin
Rose Menyon Heflin is an emerging poet and artist from Wisconsin who loves nature and travel. She is currently busy cyanotyping, but she enjoys handmade papermaking, photography, mixed media collaging, and screenprinting, as well. Among other venues, her poetry has recently been published or is forthcoming in 50 Haikus, Ariel Chart, Asahi Haikuist Network, Bramble, The Closed Eye Open, The Daily Drunk, Deep South Magazine, Dreich Magazine, Eastern Structures, The Ekphrastic Review, Haikuniverse, The Light Ekphrastic, Littoral Magazine, Please See Me, Plum Tree Tavern, Red Alder Review, Red Eft Review, Sparked Literary Magazine, The Texas Poetry Calendar, Three Line Poetry, Trouvaille Review, Visual Verse, The Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar, and The Writers Club.
Hylas must return to reveal the truth or they will assume him
Being captured by a magical force, as people paint his tale clandestine
With the Naiads, sinister, bare-bodied, enticing him, emerging from underwater,
Rising over the carpet of nymphaeaceae, a dark, lush forest behind,
Inviting him to an underworld of lust, his maternal kin.
Pale, porcelain-skinned, ghostly nymphs, but youthful and alike- all sisters,
And he, a passive, powerless, enchanted young man, being held by his wrist,
Tugged on his tunic by them, like young children often cajole the older siblings into
Submission of their childish stubbornness.
His face in the shadows, emotions obscure, but the Naiads painted gazing upwards to him,
Invitingly, and Hylas bent down,
His pitcher remained hidden, his intentions unpainted as the sky.
Menodice must’ve been denied of her right over him, for
He left with Heracles after he killed Theiodamas. He must’ve abhorred
His father. His cousins welcomed him to a home he knew he belonged,
Never abducting him. Reassuring, he was one of them.
Validating his love for Heracles, prodding him to embrace his true self, to do away with
Charades, how Shiva embraces Shakti as a part of his own in another part of the world
Beyond. They didn’t seek a lock of his hair. He must return to testify against
His own biological kind in a world where
Modern women tired of fighting the Madonna-whore binary, and of
Denying masculinist notions of malevolent, bewitching nymphs, will continually
Attempt at erasing his portrait from the public exhibits.
Hylas must resurrect and unveil his odyssey under the turquoise expanse,
The depths where innocent women were branded fiendish,
Which men now dread to cross.
Ms. Roopam Mishra lives in Lucknow, India. She is a Research Scholar at the Department of English & Modern European Languages, University of Lucknow. She writes in Hindi, and in English. Her works have appeared in an anthology Earth Fire Water Wind: Anthology of Poems, and in magazines, and journals like Confluence Magazine, Setu, Aspiring Writers’ Society e-zine, Rusty Truck, Café Dissensus, Literary Yard, The Quiver Review, Borderless Journal, Hastaksher, Sahityiki, Rhetorica Quarterly, etc.
Hylas approaches the pond,
Fascinated by dark eyes gleaming,
Arm extending to select one,
His ears full of melody,
The pulse of pleasure mounting within him,
His empty pitcher forgotten.
Seven nymphs scrum around him,
Each one a copy of the other,
Tangled tresses long and shining,
Their onyx eyes upon him,
Languid motions calming marshy water,
Smoothing leaves upon the surface.
Fair Nymph strokes his strong brown arm,
Her hair adorned with pale pink flowers,
Her eyes beseeching him to join,
Fingers curling elbow round,
Her budding bosom warming in the sun,
A corpse beneath the lilies fair.
Lifting his brush, John steps back,
His eyes grim in the studio light,
His beard bouffant upon his chest,
While a pale dark-eyed beauty,
Open laudanum bottle beside her,
Lies silent on the couch behind.
Short fiction by V.J. Hamilton has been published in The Penmen Review, The First Line, and The Antigonish Review, among others. Her fiction has been anthologized twice and she has won the EVENT Speculative Fiction prize. She lives and works in Toronto.
Hey Hylas, Where'd You Go
Do you drown or just disappear
When the seven sisters rise from the pond?
Fingers gripping arm and elbow
Others pulling on his cloak.
Pallid skin, like grave wax.
Surely their touch cannot be warm and,
There is no joy in those faces,
These seven petable sharks,
Their dead eyes unblinking,
Hypnotic and cold with
A hunger that drives.
And now he leans forward
The flask that was to be filled
Forgotten in this left hand.
Will Hercules miss him?
Michael Kleiza has new poems appearing in the Winter 2021 issue of Anthropology and Humanism. He has been published in Sledgehammer, Another Chicago Magazine, Rat's Ass Review and FrogPond. He is an alumnus of the Wired Writing Program at the Banff School for Arts and the Page as Tapestry Conference given by Tupelo Press. He is a technical writer by trade and has a degree in physics. He is also the editor of the Rhapsody Anthology out of Guelph. His first book of poetry is entitled A Poet on the Moon (Vocamus 2015).
The Viewing of the Naiads
They leave seven sets of muddy footprints on the museum’s marble floor. Wring the pond water from their long, grey hair into the potted ferns. Nymph 3, untamed after all of these centuries, punches out the canvas of the lone Cézanne, trails the others clutching her treasure, the gilt frame. A few museum-goers surreptitiously take photographs of the nude seniors, then quickly delete them when Nymph 1, the eldest, makes an obscene gesture. People gather to view, discuss. The women must be a live art installation, a commentary on society’s obsession with youth and beauty. For the naiads have neither anymore. Yet they wear their crumpled skin grandly as they creak through the museum, oblivious as the A/C kicks on, raising goosebumps across their withered legs and flattened breasts. A young woman stares, titters. A security guard moves forward to block their progress. Nymph 7, the baby, snarls and freshwater snails pour from her lips. With one glare she turns the two to stone. The museum crowd stampedes in Italian leather sandals for the exits, while the small army of naiads marches on.
In a roped-off room painted burnt sienna, the ancient women find their famous portrait. They crowd around it, chattering excitedly, stroking it with still damp hands. The nymphs, who long ago taunted one another with the many Latin synonyms for ugly, admire their alabaster torsos rising enticingly from the water, and their faces, as perfect as any stamped on a coin, framed with yards of copper hair. Only Nymph 4 stares not at the identical temptresses, but at the dark-haired man kneeling down to her younger self. She sees again the yellow flower he tucked behind her ear, feels the warmth of his bronzed arms as she tugged him toward her. The painting captures the moment right before his desire turned to surprise as she dragged him under the water, devouring his mouth with her ravenous kisses. For one glorious moment, the stranger was hers alone. Then the others tore at him until his blood rose in a watery red plume toward the sky. Now together the ravaged naiads lift the painting from the wall and set the man’s water jar full of his half-gnawed bones on the floor. The last moment of their innocence in exchange for the funeral urn of Heracles’ friend. A fair trade, in any age.
Lynn Mundell's writing has been published in literary journals including SmokeLong Quarterly, Monkeybicycle, Booth, Tin House, and Five Points, and in anthologies including New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction (W.W. Norton & Company). Her work has placed in the Wigleaf Top 50 Very Short Fictions short and longs lists between 2017 and 2020, and earned the 2019 Lascaux Prize in Creative Nonfiction. She is co-editor of 100 Word Story and its anthology, Nothing Short Of: Selected Tales from 100 Word Story (Outpost19).
In England, they took a painting out of a gallery
because of seven women and one man
but it may have been the breasts of young women
or that two reached for his arm
as he kneeled by a pond strewn with fronds
at water’s edge
and their hair that tangled what was open
although not much beyond lilies.
How do you go out into morning
with what’s left of sleep?
How do you walk to a bus for Wildwood
with buttons closed top to bottom?
How do you journey alone?
Not have the painting come back.
Kyle Laws is based out of Steel City Art Works in Pueblo, CO where she directs Line/Circle: Women Poets in Performance. Her collections include The Sea Is Woman (Moonstone Press, 2021), Uncorseted (Kung Fu Treachery Press, 2020), Ride the Pink Horse (Stubborn Mule Press, 2019), Faces of Fishing Creek (Middle Creek Publishing, 2018), This Town: Poems of Correspondence coauthored with Jared Smith (Liquid Light Press, 2017), So Bright to Blind (Five Oaks Press, 2015), and Wildwood (Lummox Press, 2014). With eight nominations for a Pushcart Prize and one for Best of the Net, her poems and essays have appeared in magazines and anthologies in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Germany. She is editor and publisher of Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press.
Hylas, Three Ways
I. Hylas. Buddy.
Make good choices, OK?
These nymphs aren’t hot for you.
They’re effing nymphs.
You can’t trust immortals, my dude.
Drowning isn’t sexy.
ll. Come away, Hylas
They will say we seduced you,
But come away.
This is a pond and not a grave,
And you need not give us what you gave
To he who slew your father--
We ask not your fealty
Nor your soul
We ask only that you come and play.
Resign the quests, the glory, arete,
Lay it down, and live a day.
III. What’s true is that splash of red.
It draws the eye, doesn’t it?
There’s depth in it.
There’s life and death.
Maybe it’s passion,
Maybe it’s blood.
It’s really just red.
Brian O'Sullivan teaches rhetoric and modern English literature in southern Maryland. He has had work accepted for publication in One Art, Everyday Fiction, and several nonfiction academic journals.
Song of the Water Lilies
I will return, Hercules. Fear not, this land
holds cellars of nectar & ambrosia— every grove
and valley pulses with the slumbering of the half-
dead. He wrapped my torso, parsed in silk, said
may the promise of victory rise upon your laurels.
Fare you well, my love. Be swift. Know no evil.
Look not to the nymphs of the river, they wait for men
to stumble upon their glade, then make nests of their flesh.
You know maidens, they like to tease. His eyes shone like fists.
The forest had a stillness. The leaves, my shifting audience
to a lone man’s soliloquy. The oaks parted. The sun crawled. At the river’s
edge, I felt no divinity, no gods pulled me forward & no mortals held me
back. Only naiads. Come into the water, my love. We raise no harm.
Us mistresses of the sea, bloom pearls during childbirth, wash away into lake-
foam. We know no Olympus. But you, a God, you of men & fire & a furnace
you staking wars of heaven and earth? Stay, here where the lily pads make
silly fancies with the breeze. Here, where the reeds obey only the rubber-sheen
of the dew after a rain. Here, where we were grown, from Gaya’s lips, us
the sinful harmonies before the pipe loses its guiding breaths.
The crickets fling their bodies to the shore, there where the grass
is always green, where the zinnias never pale, where the salmon- spawn
always trace the riverbeds home. Now a hand from the surface, rippling the
join of blood. Maybe I know her name. Maybe I was a god because I could
not bear to be a nymph, to be half-mortal. To frolic with all this price of light.
Every tendon of her body curves into my shadow, till we are one. So this tenderness
is our undoing. So all the flowers in her hair float upstream. Did the thunder
soften its own rumbling? I hadn’t quite noticed. Only the sound of her lips on my full bones.
Anoushka Kumar (she/her) is a student and writer from India, with work forthcoming or published in Vagabond City Lit, perhappened mag, the Eunoia Review, and elsewhere. She likes wood-panelled flooring and Phoebe Bridgers. Find her on Twitter @duskelegies.
Naiads plot, we must have him
as he bends to fill a water vessel;
many object; it is wrong to take him,
this beautiful young man Hylas.
He is to be ours! To be lover of nymphs,
called as by sirens to the depths,
he may not resist nubile bodies, locks
of hair decorated, plaited with lilies
entwine his arms, pull at strong limbs
caressed by warm summer breeze;
gentle hands coax as sweet voices croon,
mesmerize until he slips beneath, breath
ceased until lips reawaken, dream senses
overtaken, soothed and stimulated, smiles
of triumph, his eyes glassy as waves
wash over his body, their kisses everywhere
and nowhere – lost to Herecles he is found
beneath the surface, ours…
Julie A. Dickson
Julie A. Dickson is a NH poet and writer whose muses are water, nature and animals. Her poems appear in Misfit, Blue Heron Review, Gleam and The Ekphrastic Review among others. Dickson loves writing to prompts and finds the visual stimulation of art gratifying. Her work as a senior companion enriches both her life and those of elders. Dickson's full length works are available on Amazon. She is an extensive reader, curled up with her cats is a favourite past-time.
Friday Night at the Duck and Pond
Vessel to hand he enters
the seedy establishment,
and puddles across a liquid floor
of tequila laced with straws.
His armour slips, just a pocket
of one-liners to protect him.
Needing to quench his thirst
he spies a septet of wenches
and approaches the bobbed heads
nestled around the fishbowl.
He notes the painted lips
too bright amid flowered crowns.
At once his eyes are drawn
to alabaster skin peeking
out from skimpy skirts
that barely cover their virtue,
lily pads placed strategically
across the silken flesh.
The slurp of curled liquor
invades the air as one flicks
her hair wilfully across a breast;
fingers open, a pearl in a palm
winks seductively and he
falls, winged arm flailing in reed.
Kate Young lives in England and has been passionate about poetry since childhood. She generally writes free verse and loves responding to art through ekphrastic poems. Her poems have appeared in The Ekphrastic Review, Nitrogen House, Words for the Wild, Poetry on the Lake, Alchemy Spoon and a Scottish Writers Centre chapbook. Her work has also featured in the anthologies Places of Poetry and Write Out Loud. Her pamphlet A Spark in the Darkness recently won The Baker’s Dozen competition with Hedgehog Press and is due to be published. Find her on Twitter @Kateyoung12poet.
Hylas and the Nymphs
They said he’d been abducted. Hard to imagine anything else when you’re on a small vessel with mostly drunken sailors and some hero figure whose slave you were. Well, more or less. They’d later say Hylas was Heracles’ favorite, his companion. Since he was one of the youngest on that Argonautic expedition, he’d been sent ashore to fetch water. They’d anchored somewhere around Cios, in Mysia. The nymphs tell another story, and Hylas has remained shtum ever since.
Someone had been in the know of the incident, and the story went thus: “A water nymph, rising from the spring, saw the gorgeous boy up close. And Aphrodite (always someone to blame, of course) made her fall in love and in confusion. But very soon she saw her chance. When he dipped his pitcher into the stream, she knew what to do. She rounded his slim neck with her arm, pulled him towards her, and kissed him."
Heracles and Polyphemus—if anybody knew his nymphs, it would have been Polyphemus, after all, his mother was one—left the ship to go looking for Hylas, while the Argonauts were getting into each other’s hair over whether to follow them or not. But Heracles and Polyphemus in the end had other things to do (blame the Gods) as in twelve labours and founding the city of Cius – small stuff like that.
Hylas, in the meantime had married the nymph who made him forget what went before. After all, a nymph is a nymph and they do have certain tricks up their non-existing sleeves.
the boy’s hair curled
the nymph touched it just there
Rose Mary Boehm
Rose Mary Boehm is a German-born British national living and writing in Lima, Peru. Her poetry has been published widely in mostly US poetry reviews (online and print). She was twice nominated for a Pushcart. Her fourth poetry collection, THE RAIN GIRL, was published by Chaffinch Press in 2020. Want to find out more? https://www.rose-mary-boehm-poet.com/
Hylas and the Nymphs
He was already lost
soon as he saw them,
pale and luminous
as white lilies, floating
on dark water,
their skin glowing
like the light
of a fallen moon,
its radiance rising
into the night air,
their arms reaching for him,
delicate and curious,
as though they had been
waiting for him alone,
as though only he
could satisfy their dreams
and fill the emptiness
in their hearts.
In the old stories
innocence is never
Stumbling onto some
of more than human beauty
will be your undoing.
Powerless in the grip
of your exquisite
leaning eagerly in
you will be taken down
or even time enough
for one last breath.
Mary McCarthy has always loved writing and art, which makes Ekphrastic work particularly appealing to her. Her work has appeared in many anthologies and journals, most recently in The Plague Papers, edited by Robbi Nester, and The Ekphrastic World, edited by Lorette C. Luzajic, as well as the most recent issues of Earth’s Daughter’s, Verse Virtual, and Visual Verse.
The Way it Happened
in the ancient story,
they called to him—reed-voiced, bird-fluttering
from among water lilies, they beckoned and beseeched,
reaching, their thrice-bound flower crowns scented the air,
with wine-dark mouths, they called again and again, come to us, Hylas--
and tempted, snared, helpless, he stepped--
the water, alive, leapt. . .
and he was gone.
he saw flowing hair, a body, water-kissed and sun-shimmered--
and he wanted. Possession. It’s what men did, he’d been told,
chase and conquer, a hunt, a game of power and pleasure.
But her sisters heard the shouts and cries—a yank, a thrust
a rock, crushed,
he fell beneath the rippled water. . .
and he was gone
he was tired of endless battles and filthy men,
who taught and taunted, used him, lovely boy.
He longed to be bathed in honeyed-light, filled with flower-scent.
They found him lost and hungry. With his berry-lips,
he kissed their naiad hands,
Please let me stay. And they did--
washed him in the river of oblivion . . .
and he was gone.
Merril D. Smith
Merril D. Smith is a historian and poet. She lives in southern New Jersey. Her poetry and short fiction have been published most recently in Anti-Heroin Chic, Black Bough Poetry, Fevers of the Mind, and Nightingale and Sparrow.
Leave him, they said, the women in the water, the brute who killed your father. He, who dandled you on his knee and gave you all that you have, is now no more than bleak bones and another notch on Herakles’ sword.
Leave him, they said, the automaton who kills without thinking and fancies himself sensitive, overcome by beauty. Does he really believe you could ever look at him and not see your father’s bloody corpse, his lifeblood pouring, not hear his last cry? When he paws at you and calls you his beautiful boy, do you not see the spear thrusting again and again into your father’s throat? Herakles took the life of Theiodamas as easily as a goat’s for a feast. That you, Theiodamas’ son, might resent it, has never crossed his mind once.
Hylas bent his head to the water and sobbed. He had had no choice but to follow Herakles. Too young to fight, snatched from his mother’s arms, a curly-headed boy, by the man who called himself a hero, he thought himself lucky not to have been put to the sword. How his mother would have welcomed such a fate. He had no choice. But the honey-dripping whisperings, the caresses in the night, the bloody hands wiping away his tears, had driven him almost mad.
Come, she said, her hand on his arm. We will not take, or demand or kill. We ask you to come with us because we value beauty and grief, and we will heal your wounds.
Hylas looked at the women in the water among the waterlilies and heard the peace that sang in the breeze ruffling the water. He laid down his sword and his sandals and he stepped into the pool. As the water closed above his head, he heard the strident bellow of Herakles as he pounded from the beached Argo looking for him, how the trees creaked and groaned as he pushed his way to the spring. He saw Herakles face, stricken with loss, and the fury that flashed in his eyes, and he smiled.
A hand took his, in an uncomplicated clasp, and led him down among the trailing roots the silver-scaled fishes, to be loved forever.
Jane Dougherty lives and works in southwest France. Her poems and stories have been published in magazines and journals including Ogham Stone, the Ekphrastic Review, ink sweat and tears, Nightingale & Sparrow and Brilliant Flash Fiction. Her poetry chapbooks, thicker than water and birds and other feathers were published in October and November 2020.
The Concealed Skyline
As he knelt down at the threshold that separated the two worlds,
they promised to return him to his lost fates.
He was born to be a King,
Their sunlit faces eclipsing his love for Hercules,
Slowly enticing him to their waters,
Where human forms and mortal breaths sink,
Where the sapphires engulf the sepia.
The skies had been bright that day,
but perhaps they were concealed as an anti-symbolic dogma.
Hylas was about to be lost forever,
Concealing the conspiracies of the clear skyline,
Concealing the horizons that the Argo was yet to tread,
He, still kneeling at the threshold,
They, still singing out the promises,
The canvas froze upon the Fates that were yet to follow,
But even today, Jupiter continues to silently stare at the nymphs,
Still waiting, upon the concealed skyline.
Amrita Sharma is a Lucknow based writer currently pursuing her Ph.D. in English from the University of Lucknow. Her works have previously been published in Setu Bilingual, Earth Fire Water Wind: An Anthology of Poems, The Quiver Review, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Café Dissensus Everyday, AWS E-zine, Literary Yard, Trouvaille Review, Confluence: South Asian Perspectives, Women’s Web, Borderless Journal, , Tell Me Your Story, Muse India, Rhetorica Quarterly, GNOSIS, Dialogue, The Criterion, Episteme and Ashvamegh. Her area of research includes avant-garde poetics and innovative writings in the cyber space.
we've been here before
amidst apples and serpents
it did not end well
Elaine Sorrentino is Communications Director at South Shore Conservatory in Hingham, MA. Her work has been published in Minerva Rising, Willawaw Journal, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, The Ekphrastic Review, Writing in a Women’s Voice, The Writers' Magazine, Global Poemic, ONE ART: a journal of poetry, Haiku Universe, Failed Haiku, and has won the monthly poetry challenge at wildamorris.blogspot.com.
A Matter of Will
Hylas, I have you now.
Oh yes, you play around
my dear, but
you don’t know
What makes you think
you can come to
where we outshine
pick and choose from
among us as if
we were mere flora,
as if you were in charge?
Don’t you know it’s
we who decide
which one of us
will go with you?
Today, however, the
choice was this:
which one of us,
will to pull you in--
will you escape?
or will we win?
See the twinkle
in my eye?
I am the one to
Joan Leotta: "I love writing to these challenges. Ekprhastic writing is one of my favourite forms. Hoping that my work inspires others to read their own meaning into these works. Hoping also I am right, and this nymph did resist."
Youthful Imaginings on Alabaster Skin
Corruption isn’t concealed with a lily pad or a fig leaf
-or by political or public censorship.
In erst this canvases allure of innocents and deceit
did fix youthful imaginings on their alabaster skin.
At times I’ve contemplated Hylas's hunger to touch;
his a thirst to drink clear rock pool waters quite shameless
only hankering a taste of their refreshing bath salts, sigh.
I’ve enjoyed viewing this oil-painting on many occasions;
Hylas and the Nymphs, by John William Waterhouse 1896
visiting the Manchester Art Gallery and dwelling nearby.
And by the by, I come to buy a fine printed copy in 1986.
And ever since, it has seduced my speculative thoughts,
Shown up weaknesses in my theories and own politics
It-isn’t-easy being virtuous and honourable…I confess when
-female water nymphs have needs…desires to procure.
It’s the weakness of some men in the hooks of a wench
To-dine-in-hell. Or swim ashore and desire no more.
But who are we kidding our-thirsts are never quenched.
Beauty corrupts the purest of hearts, either to partakes
or sit on the fence and then drown in idle censorship.
Placing too much of an emphasis on innocence and nakedness.
Light sheds light the dark precipitates only more darkness.
Mark Andrew Heathcote
Mark Andrew Heathcote is adult learning difficulties support worker, his poetry has been published in many journals, magazines and anthologies, he resides in the UK, from Manchester, Mark is the author of In Perpetuity and Back on Earth two books of poems published by a CTU publishing group, Creative Talents Unleashed.