To John Bingley Garland Regarding A Blood Collage
So much to see is here embraced
by skill of eye and hand you've placed
together as the love ingrained
in being that by art maintained
reminds us we by blood entwined
may differ yet are of one kind
as generations by descent
of imperfection we lament
and sacrifice preserving dream
of soul eternal we redeem
by actions of the heart contrite,
from Living Water gaining might,
to bear what given we entrust
as legacy of dust to dust.
Portly Bard: Old man. Ekphrastic fan.
Prefers to craft with sole intent...
of verse becoming complement...
...and by such homage being lent...
ideally also compliment.
Ekphrastic joy comes not from praise
for words but from returning gaze
far more aware of fortune art
becomes to eyes that fathom heart.
Blood Collage Over Time
I am the cross
of the paradox
philosophers constantly test
and, at best, leave it to rest.
As for me – paradoxon,
in other words - contrary opinion,
was the favorite part of my fate.
You see, I was a young innocent branch,
dreaming of growing tall, bloomy and fruitful,
attracting birds to nest on my arms,
bees to rest on my petals,
sheep to find shade under my leaves,
and all to feed on my crops.
Instead, I was cut from the top of my dream
and was appointed to uphold a dying man,
just as my own body was in its last term:
so we met – a sapient man and a dumb wood
on the same last mile of the same last trip
of a character reset, as they said.
Versed in one skill only – delivering fruit –
I had just one last wish – to fulfill my job
and die not before he has given up his ghost.
So, I pulled all the fibers into my severed veins
opened my arms and welcomed his palms –
the nails pierced through both at once;
then they pegged his feet to my lower edge –
the nails crushed bone and timber alike;
finally – they lifted us up
as the oldest face-losing insult –
his head snapped, his body trembled:
when suddenly his mass metamorphosed
just like my bloom when turning into fruit,
and some sky-scrapping affection
converted into parable all plain prose:
my fibril ash rhymed with his flash
then rushed set in motion by his hush,
delivering verve as never before,
by none of my feeders – earth, water, sun;
and when the surge reached my top,
I stopped feeling my body weight,
it has become so light,
I thought I’m a leaf lost in space,
where birds come to nest and bees to rest,
until I realized that it was that man –
he was holding me up, not I – him;
he – paradoxically, has become my cross,
as would do a grafted shoot,
embedded to change you forever,
while both lamenting together:
“Ili, Ili, lama sabahtani”
Eons passed in a couple of hours,
we - glued in that incredible oneness –
tissue, cellulose, muscle, lignin, pain –
with one silent fervent breathing
hushed from him to my last tendril.
At the ninth hour he gave up the ghost.
At the last minute his blood burst.
Down my arms - warm, smooth, fiery red,
it entered my dried timberment
and the overflow infused the earth;
while crumbs of his body
filled my holes at the nail points:
I was out of myself – couldn’t tell apart
who or what was happening – true –
a character reset – without any known aliment,
just this wine and that bread,
sweeter than water, softer than wind,
it revamped my failed fruit-making skill
into a nebulous veil impressed with his icon,
just like the one on the shroud of Turin;
a paradox, live: the crucified-turned patron
of life, and, I swear, just a crumb and a drop
filled me up, while there were so many
crumbs and drops gliding over my sur-face,
as my last petals, that I stopped counting,
realizing at my last second of reset -
they were enough for all creatures on earth.
He, a whiz, delivered and departed to his dad.
I, a dumb, with unversed skill, now veiled,
remained to remind of his paradoxical fight
to fulfill his delivery right;
paradoxically, he keeps grafting me
with his blood-red glint –
quizzing me why we met…
Ekaterina Dukas has studied and taught linguistics and culture at universities of Sofia, Delhi and London and authored a book on mediaeval art for The British Library. She writes poetry as a pilgrimage to the meaning. Her poems appeared in printed anthologies, on The Ekphrastic Review and its challenge selection several times. Her poetry collection Ekphrasticon is published by Europa Edizioni, 2021.
The ancient Chinese had a name for flowers such as peonies, camellias and roses with irregular bright red patterns on paler background colours--blood-streaked beauties, or literally, “the beauty has scratched her face bloody.”
Imagine the Royal Botanic Gardens
hemorrhaging. Blood-red crosses
are planted in every flower-bed
and wild field on mountainsides,
amulets, charms to guard against
blight, angels to keep plants safe
from thunder strikes. Cardinal ribbons
are tied around every neck of phlox,
primrose, mallow, jasmine, marguerite.
Snowdrops and orange blossoms
white as Immaculate Conception
bear rubescent runes as pistils.
Blood fountains spring from soil,
sprouts rooted in fecundity. Fleshly,
yes, but simulacra of the spirit
are incarnate, incarnadine. Carnality
is the flowers on robes of holiness.
The firmament is blue as Mary’s robe
but long drops of blood descend along
walls scratched with faded scriptures.
Stabat Mater, dolorosa…a big dollop
of warm ruddy sticky liquid falls down
on her tear-stained hair. History keeps
erasing blood from religious art but
it comes back because Sarracenia rubra
has an ecological niche in Paradise
and sundews will always be secreting
red globules of glue from hairtips,
setting surefire traps for insects
who finds scarlet sugar irresistible,
mosquito bellies fat teardrops of ruby,
and Persephone still reaching her hand
towards the seven pomegranate seeds.
Lucie Chou is an ecopoet working in mainland China. Currently an undergraduate majoring in English language and literature, she is also interested in the ecotone between ekphrasis and ecopoetics. Her work has appeared in the Entropy magazine, the Black Earth Institute Blog, the Tiny Seed Journal website, and in the Plant Your Words Anthology published by Tiny Seed Press. A poem is forthcoming in from Tofu Ink Arts, both in print and online. She has published a debut collection of ecopoetry, Convivial Communiverse, with Atmosphere Press. She hikes, gardens, and studies works of natural history by Victorian writers with gusto.
Deep into the philosophical forests, the angels hover, watching over the Thinkers. They have suffered much, traversing vast ages, their blood drawing them to the Thinkers, marking them, and sometimes piercing them, as God watches from above. They have suffered and suffer still. Human errors weigh heavily upon their hearts. And sometimes their hearts are rent.
But the Thinkers persist, often deluded by phases of false flowering. They think they have seen through the gardens into the misty beyond but have only arrived at the threshold. Dig, dig, dig deep into the roots. Examine what was known and is yet unknown. Their investigations are ongoing.
The angels congregate. They organize a hieratic meeting as if to re-write history. God watches over everything. All-knowing, He sees the needs and establishes order. As the Thinkers recede, the angels let their blood drip on entire collages spread across the earth, hurrying to assemble new believers.
Aloft and ascending
Angels reach the greater heights
Collaged as one fabric
Carole Mertz writes and reviews for Dreamers Creative Writing, Kallisto Gaia Press, and Ars Medica. She is happy to be published in The Ekphrastic Review which inspired her 2021 collection, Color and Line. Her recent work appeared in Portage Magazine and was showcased in the Ohio Center for the Book, March, 2023 podcast at Page Count.
Arcana, gauche as bric-a-brac,
just whatnots till this Book of Blood
clicked histrionics, bored Waugh’s bland,
Blake and ilk, his catholic mind -
so Garland welcomed with those flowers.
These tortured tableaux of the weird,
paraphernalia let loose,
through cheetah drools and crosses’ seep,
slash sashes dangle, angel drapes,
plates stacked high by our herald hosts.
Platters, splattered India ink,
staccato sermons, other plates -
with centred bird, fruit margin blooms,
snake’s sneak, all blooded pendalogues,
chandeliers with little light.
Whose title entitled, name blamed?
Cryptic reference, Durenstein!,
to Lionheart’s castle didn’t stick -
vital craft for man’s collage art -
that ransom cite, now Ransom held.
‘Amy’s Gift’ safer, orthodox,
as marriage present to a child -
in zeugma and syllepsis joined,
bloody Mary, are less, jumbled?
It’s back to cryptic for our clues.
But why draw blood to drip throughout,
the haemorrhage here fetishized?
Cry shoutout from bipolar, drowned,
uncovered from some new found land,
grounds for fishing, deep stirring trawl?
Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales, UK from ministry in the Methodist Church due to Parkinson’s Disease, has had pieces published by on-line poetry sites, printed journals and anthologies, including The Ekphrastic Review. He has, like so many, been a nominee for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. His blog is at https://poetrykingsnorth.wordpress.com/
John, how did you decide to create this masterpiece?
One fine businessman, first and foremost, a provider
Heir to a fishery fortune, Dorset born and bred, life straight as a ruler
Nobility, heir to a fishery fortune, a strategic relocation to the Netherlands
Brought different fame, that of a competent leader, a glad population
Interred you first as mayor, then subsequently, the first British Parliamentarian
Notable and quietly charismatic, what prompted you to turn from commerce?
Going inward and away from obligations and spiritual pursuits, you
Leaned into a purely feminine pastime, making it your time-tested vision:
Etching little scenes and writing quotes into an old book, rendering it fresh
Your diligent pursuit of heart-full assemblage pumped art onto the page,
Gorging blood, connecting disparate elements with each slash of India-red,
A keepsake for your betrothed daughter, conveying a vivid love cut through by
Rime of scarlet, frosted over a delicate Victorian tableau, your untethered soul,
Long mummified under tightly woven wraps bursting open, was it sudden?
A tiny kernel of mind ephemera, expanding as ideas joyfully leapt out: yet
Notice that preserved beneath the overstory of sacrifice and angel wings
Doth lie the pithy, unsaid things: Illustrations of a heartbreak I too, know:
What is meant by “Letting go.”
Debbie Walker-Lass is a poet, collage artist, and writer living in Decatur, Georgia. Her work has appeared in several journals and magazines, including The Ekphrastic Journal, Poetry Quarterly, Haikuniverse, The Light Ekphrastic and Natural Awakenings, Atlanta, among others. She has recently read live for The Poet’s Corner. When not creating, she can be found beachcombing on Tybee Island or hanging out with her husband, Burt, and dog, Maddie.
of my iphone
i take you
on meditative forest walks
in case i have a brain
break an ankle
lose the dog
i take you
to bed every night
stories under my pillow
in the morning there you are
new yorker & nyt
i can't eat breakfast without you
i don't chat with my mate
believing the puzzles will keep
alzheimer's at bay
i spend more time with you
than with family & friends
i never go to the loo without you
can't poo without you
for a poem
poe would be proud of
you gave me
brought to her royal fold,
a royal right
i call it
the raven maniac
dedicated to poe's mama
who sat beside him while he wrote
to keep the horrors
i love your use of the comma
if i have a belly ache
or lichen on my scalp
you bring me
the mayo clinic
in a nano second
no cracking book spines
when i could be
posting my mug
thank you dear
for my artificial intelligence
as deep as a short read
o google god
you are all seeing
guiding me daily
to make decisions
on my iphone
Donna-Lee Smith frets about the eye sight and posture and brains of the wee generations who beg for iphones while still in day care
o lord we have no idea what awaits
but wait i can google that
on my iPhone
blood from every orifice
rain blood tears
angels, deities weep
daggers, swords abound
the only sound heard now
reach the cloudless sky
Julie A. Dickson
Julie A. Dickson is constantly writing and submitting poems, Ekphrastic being one of her favourites. Her poems appear in over 60 journals, including Blue Heron Review, Open Door Magazine and The Ekphrastic Review, among others. Dickson holds a BPS in Behavioral Science, advocates for captive elephants, has served on two poetry boards and has been a guest editor for several journals, including The Ekphrastic Review. She shares her home with two rescued feral cats.
They left us, but within these lonely fields
the loved ones muster, never more to leave --
but have -- and memory no longer yields
pictures in our heads of those we grieve.
The ones we tended when they cried, complained,
or raged became a test we took to heart
to soften us, and when it stormed or rained
the skies affirmed their moment to depart.
A black redoubt of shining starlings shout
a martial call, as aging soldiers hear
a volley for the fallen that we shoot,
as if the dead will think the Judgment near.
These costly limestone letters slowly weep,
as rain and acid air the names erase.
Wind and grass a vow of silence keep,
and even famous dead have left no trace.
Owls croon nocturnal songs of blood,
and heavy with new music evening air
flares with glow worms that become the food
for birds, and nature hints it does not care.
As children improvise a playground here
among the stones, and life accepts their mirth,
we think the tender darkness makes it clear
that death gives hidden signs of some new birth.
Royal Rhodes is a retired educator who taught courses on global religions for almost forty years. His poetry has appeared in various journals, including: Foreshadow, Ekstasis, The Ekphrastic Review, Chained Muse, and others. He also has published a collection of sonnets regarding a variety of animals: Animalia, with The Catbird [on the Yadkin] Press.
Was Red John’s Favourite Colour?
“The Victorians were sick,” says a Modern, a Jackson Pollack fan.
“It could have been beautiful without all that blood,”
Says a Baby Boomer who owns six handguns and three assault rifles.
Like teenaged boys judging their fathers,
Every generation that followed has judged the Victorians:
“Sexually repressed, perverts, self-entitled colonialists, garish,
Tasteless, their homes and art filled with fussy details, pinheads,
Obsessed with rules, filled with secret fetishes,
Religious fanatics, atheists in disguise.”
It’s easy to see all that in John Garland’s sweet little
Handmade wedding gift to his dear daughter, Amy.
John was a scrapbooker who liked Blake.
He had plenty of paper on hand and a bottle of red India ink:
Forty-three pages exquisitely designed and executed
With marbled paper front and back.
A busy treasure-trove of collages and decoupages,
All the space on every page, with typical Victorian vigor,
Filled with clouds, flowers, fruit, snakes, birds
And butterflies, swords, crosses, angels and saints,
And all that loveliness dripped with a heavy helping
Apparently, John had spare time, surprising,
Considering his twin careers as a business tycoon
And a politician. Maybe he made his little masterpiece
On all those Atlantic crossings from England to
Newfoundland. He didn’t have a phone or a computer
To waste his time, and he never created any other
Works of art.
The generations after him started two world wars
And several smaller ones. They helped racism, England’s ugly legacy
To the colonists, out of the box and thrived on lies.
Maybe we should pause before we judge John.
Rose Anna Higashi
Rose Anna Higashi is a poet, blogger and novelist who lives in rural Hawaii. She writes a haiku every day. She is a retired professor of English Literature, Japanese Literature, Poetry and Creative Writing. Her poems have appeared recently in The Ekphrastic Review, Poets on Line, America Media, The Avocet, The Agape Review and The Catholic Poetry Room. Many of her lyric poems and haiku can be viewed on her website: www.myteaplanner.com, and on her blog “Tea and Travels,” published monthly on her website.
Mother Nature Weeps
If blood of Jesus brought us to our knees, if resurrection opened eyes, if death had opened hearts
and minds, had sold us on the need for healing earth - and us, our mother, Nature, would not bleed
from fields of Bluets and Heirloom Pinks, all wilting, scorched. She calls on Sisters Seraphim to guide
their host, all busy with their reverent concerns, too much to tourniquet the flow. The Sycamores
have poured out blood like sap, as chippers grind the woods. The swamps run red, the peepers drown,
the damp evaporates. Our Mother’s tears run scarlet on the grit of reservoirs that once were deepest
wet, that mankind drank, engorged itself without a thought of what comes next. And all the blue from
rivers’ run reflects above, the sky becoming thirst, the world turned upside down like Peter’s martyrdom.
We have no need for Satan here. Our shadow invades all of Mother Earth’s domain. She cries and cries
in vain her hematohidrosis tears.
Gaia’s earth falls to fragments
twenty silver bits
MFrostDelaney is a bean counter by trade, a tree hugger in heart and a recovering soul, practicing life in New England. A member of the Powow River Poets, her poems appear regularly in Quill & Parchment, and has been nominated for the Push Cart Prize. She has contributed poetry to HerStory 2021, has poems in the Powow River Poets Anthology II and Extreme Sonnets II, and displayed a poem at New Beginnings – Poetry on Canvas, Peabody Art Association 2022.
May-summer light at my window to mark my disposability
and the brisk air is right where beautiful ends, on the edge
of error, I look at my handwriting, that marks this distance,
my guilt after reading an old love song, neat notes, the lines
in black-and-white-like portraits, to distantiate from time
and flawless rooms.
The violent emptiness took me, hereafter, so yes, I left, I
was afraid of the salt that filled up the windows, the sills
that showed uncomplicated evenings to last. You glowed
like internal death round flowers, the borders, as red bars
behind my eyelids closed, and yes, the blue sky struck me
down, made me hungry,
so, I curled up in the shade, avoided butterflies, unable to
move like someone in love, once the wings are clipped, the
hands stretch out to fells. I will never cross borders again,
even though you said: “trust me, you like this”, even though
you laughed at my prayers
for sweet strawberries, for perfect altars and cold carmine
on my wrists. I saw you as angel, eyes out to blue, up to my
shoulders, and my eyes out for you, feeling clean, a free
bird from wheeling hedges. Yet, I kept my legs curled up
under my dripping skirt, the smell of rain drowned lights
of swords and daggers.
Trust me, you never liked this.
Kate Copeland started absorbing books ever since a little lass. Her love for words led her to teaching & translating; her love for art & water to poetry…please find her pieces @ The Ekphrastic Review, Poets’ Choice, First Lit.Review-East, Wildfire Words, The Metaworker, The Weekly/Five South, New Feathers a.o. Her recent Insta reads: https://www.instagram.com/kate.copeland.poems/ Over the years, she worked at literary festivals and at workshops for IWWG and Breathe-Read-Write-hours. More workshops are in the making. Kate was born @ a harbour city and adores housesitting @ the world.
(after John Bingley Garland)
Time breathes its secrets into stone.
Ancestry is full of mirrors and ancient riddles.
The stilled silhouette of memories is amplified by the blood of silence and lies.
The wounds of suffering are surrounded by healers casting spells into a web of stories
Everywhere is within seeking distance.
Are you our Mother?
Who knows why or if?
A resident of New York City, Kerfe Roig enjoys transforming words and images into something new. Follow her explorations on her blogs,https://methodtwomadness.wordpress.com/ (which she does with her friend Nina), and https://kblog.blog/.