It was an evening of mist,
though not dense enough
to keep the moon
from believing it could
lay its likeness across the bay.
Night began to settle in,
I began to relax-
darkness has that effect on me.
If I recall we were presided over
by a sense that, without coercion,
convinced us that as we walked
we should keep our gaze
allowing that sense to believe that
it had misled us into imagining
that the answers lie in the direction
I held onto your arm a little more firmly,
attempting to reassure you
that ignoring senses that emerge on
misty evenings when the moon
is stretched out across the bay
and we are most vulnerable,
is the only way to travel.
I knew, or at least surmised,
that we each contained
a pile of smoking ash inside us,
the image of a life that for all
its errors continued – at least for the moment –
I turned to you to say,
My love, do you feel
that warmth inside you?
It’s just the remains
of one of the old yous
encroaching on one
of the last turns.
John L. Stanizzi
John L. Stanizzi’s books include Ecstasy Among Ghosts, Sleepwalking, and Feathers and Bones. His new book, Viper Brain, will be out in the fall. Besides The Ekphrastic Review, John’s poetry has appeared in American Life in Poetry, New York Quarterly, Tar River, Paterson Review, The Cortland Review, and others. His work has been translated into Italian and appears widely in Italy. A former Wesleyan University Etherington Scholar, an adjunct Professor of English for 26 years, a former New England Poet of the Year, and in 2021, he received a grant from the State of Connecticut Commission on Arts and Culture.
Beyond the Beach in Turkey 1913
with youth may forstall
the nemesis of armies
marching just beyond the bluffs
a cresting brutal map
of conquest and empire
the slow crawling fuse
of WW1 hissing
war with Greece
will explode in a decade
all this history
is a vague dawn light
a yellow and blue fog
small lights in distant towers
while they dream together
watching the Aegean horizon
their lonely fortress of immortal waves
will shift like ocean foam
a fragile shelter against the combertide of bombs and blood.
Daniel Brown has just published at age 72 his first collection FAMILY PORTRAITS IN VERSE and Other Illustrated Poems published by Epigraph Books. He has most recently been published in Jerry Jazz Musician and Chronogram Magazine and is included in Arts Mid-Hudson gallery presentation Poets Respond To Art in Poughkeepsie, NY.
Look out my love
on a moonlit bay
reflected to us on
tide rippled shore
I take your arm
as we walk slowly
dreaming of a good
life, our love carries
us along like a wave
Julie A. Dickson
Julie A. Dickson has been hooked on ekphrastic poems for a few years now, loves using art, music and other mediums as prompts. Dickson holds a BPS in Behavioral Science, has twice served on poetry boards, has been a guest editor for poetry journals and has full length works on Amazon. Her poetry appears in various publications including Medusa's Kitchen, Lothlorien, Blue Heron Review and The Ekphrastic Review. She shares her home with two rescued feral cats.
We say goodbye under a peach coloured moon
It's a cool spring evening, the moon is a peach coloured apparition hanging in the pastel sky, its shimmering moon glow reflecting off the calm lilac sea that breaks in small foamy wavelets near our feet.
The sunset prayer call rang out from the minaret a short while ago and now the first evening lights are beginning to appear along the coast lending an enchanted charm to the town in the silhouetted eventide.
We stand side by side, looking the same way towards the path from the beach, the one leading to the road out of town that will take you away from me tomorrow. For now, you hold my arm, gently, tenderly, your warm hand comforting through the gauzy sleeve of my light coat.
We both knew this evening would arrive, yet tried to pretend it would not. It's 1912 and war is coming. Even now the Balkans are a hotbed of foment. Rumours fly that other countries plan to join the hostilities. Every man of a certain age is expected to play their role, including you, my love, and that is why you must leave.
We stand together, contemplating what the future might hold. You seem lost in your thoughts. I am lost in mine, too. I fear the spectre of the dark shadow, as was foretold on my last birthday, the one that will separate us forever. Knowing that we would be forced to part has leant our time together such a bittersweet poignancy, made it a kind of exquisite torture. I've treasured every second of our love affair and the knowledge of this impending end has been almost unbearable.
Tonight we have each other, the soft caress of the sea breezes and the poetry whispered by the peach coloured moon, and for now that is enough.
Emily Tee writes poetry and flash fiction. She's had pieces published in The Ekphrastic Review and for some of its challenges, and elsewhere online, and in print in some publications by Dreich and in Poetry Scotland among other places. She lives in the UK.
Land and Sea
A city where the sea kisses the land, I wish I kissed you too
Along the coast, we ran hand in hand, chasing the morning dew.
I dreamed a dream that you were mine, I dreamed it all in blue
We lived a lifetime, then I killed it and with it, I killed you too.
The city sleeps in dead silence, but the land rumbles by the sea
‘Cause here lays my heart in violence, in loving memory of my beloved, so hear my last plea.
The waves will water our graves, we will be together in death, you and me
Our love will light this city ablaze, ‘cause you are my land, I am your sea.
The flowers will bloom over our grave of love that withered away
The soil, the very thing that separated us, will bring us together on the last day.
They say young love burns fast, dies young, so be it, we dig our own young graves
We choose our land, we choose our fate, we dare to put our hearts on the blade.
This city reeks of that daring youth, of that valor that possesses the resilient truth
So love may burn and make you cry, but let that spirit never die.
A writer and an artist, Kanishka has majored in English literature in India. She studied language and culture while conducting research in film studies in Japan. She writes speculative fiction and her works embody elements of dread and dark fantasy. You can find more of her work on zicokanishka.wordpress.com
Christmas WITHOUT Snow
for my ex-wife, Ayesha Ali
2 post meridiem – approximately:
at the Bondi Beach, the sun is merry
as if The Son of Mary Himself
at The Gates of Jerusalem.
With her ring finger, she draws
the shape of heart in the sand
– out of the league of the impressin’ waves –
and embosses it with a signature: Saad + Ayesha
– shaped as a Cupid’s arrow –
all the while, not lettin’ my hand
– with the ring finger – go:
FOREVER & EVER!
[‘Tis] Xtemass, but there’s NO SNOW!
As misfortune would have it,
it all sounds Greek to her:
she hasn’t an iota of idea
of the love affair of the pine/tree with the snowflakes!
The December of ’09 C.E. marks
my virgin Christmas WITHOUT Snow!
And I find it rather analogous to:
(It turns the tables (in your head):
makes you doubt the credibility of the entire narrative!)
Only if I had an iota of idea
—in the end, I would only be leavin’
The Lands of Sons & Daughters of Rome
for the Sands of X-mas without snow/flakes--
I would’ve abandoned the very idea
of the (self-)RESURRECTION all together!
Saad Ali (b. 1980 C.E. in Okara, Pakistan) has been educated and brought up in the United Kingdom (UK) and Pakistan. He holds a BSc and an MSc in Management from the University of Leicester, UK. He is an (existential) philosopher, poet, and literary translator. Ali has authored six books of poetry. His latest collection of poetry is called Owl Of Pines: Sunyata (AuthorHouse, 2021). His work has been nominated for The Best of the Net Anthology. He is a regular contributor to The Ekphrastic Review. By profession, he is an Educationist, Management Consultant, and Personal & Professional Development Mentor. Some of his influences include: Vyasa, Homer, Ovid, Attar, Rumi, Saadi, Nietzsche, Freud, Jung, 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, or his Facebook Author Page at www.facebook.com/owlofpines.
After dinner, we walked hand in hand
along the beach, watching dusky ripples
of fish jumping through the surface,
to catch water striders. Across the lake,
the city lights blinked out as the scholars,
librarians and poets went home. The purple fog
blended the edges between the water
and the sky and our stepping feet,
and we were one, serene, interconnected being,
moving in unison towards the horizon.
Mahaila Smith (any pronouns) is a young, femme writer, living and working on the traditional territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg in Ottawa, Ontario. They are one of the co-editors for The Sprawl Mag (thesprawlmag.ca). They like learning theory and writing spec poetry. Their debut chapbook, Claw Machine, was published by Anstruther Press in 2020.
But love, not lovers, sea translates,
Sahil’de Aşk, a wider wake,
much broader canvas, miniature.
With notes, piano, oud, kemenche,
now liminal, as woman’s craft
observes herself, in scape with folk.
Presenting strong, hand belt, her arm,
pure she, white dressed, moonlight and hope,
a tonal spread in dreams of young.
First teacher, Ottoman female,
art, contra-diction sets apart,
juxtaposition, empire, she.
Against the tide of current flow,
she sets a course that followed through,
a novel homage, Last Work penned.
Such works of forty, twice her years,
as sold, support, Society,
calligraphy that marks her grave.
Like any cocktail, shaken, stirred,
Love on the Beach, a heady mix,
talent ingredients, short life.
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/
Swathed in the sun’s setting rays,
we walk, arms entwined,
along the water’s edge
of our town’s tiny inlet beach.
We know this path
and lapping sounds by heart.
Though senses blurred by time
our touch remains untouched.
We wade into almost silent,
unseen waters garbed in wedding dress,
repeating, daily, the vows we most cherish.
Sixty years, passion untamed.
We will lead each other blind
and deaf to our united death.
Catherine Perkins, 67, has lived in Kentucky since 1984. She has numerous poems published in locally produced anthologies, but as of today still no manuscripts published.
If your fingers loosened
your hand would fall as
five pillars of stone fruit
from my body, return
to milk skin I remember
Then I would show
myself to the moon
held up only by salinity
Infuse my veins with lunar myths
shake out the stars and wail
Shoot midnight shivers
down your father's back
in time before his voice broke
Only then could I relearn
how to walk on and under water
Mariel Herbert enjoys playful, little poems that sometimes take on bigger stories. She writes short fiction occasionally and English-language haiku and senryu quite often. Her work has appeared in Carmina Magazine, Liminality, and Uppagus, among other lovely publications. Mariel lives in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, where she also runs a few niche reading groups. She can be found online at marielherbert.wordpress.com or in a second-hand bookstore near you.
Questions About a Beach
Orange light wavers on a gentle swell.
A harvest moon floats heavy
over a distant slender minaret.
A couple in cool linen pauses
along a narrow strip of sand.
Lovers on the Beach it’s called,
dated 1913. The sigh of the tide,
the fresh air, it’s almost tangible:
a Monet-like subdued tranquility.
An effortless, enduring high romance,
but for the date. An oddity,
as it’s the year after the artist died.
Did she paint a portent?
Was it a sickbed gesture of hope?
Somehow, the vista’s serenity
is unmarred by time passing,
but the impress of history is upon it.
Is this peace before the storm,
an omen, then? The noise of the 20th
century crowds the edges of
this calm depiction. It can’t be helped.
Did these lovers survive an empire’s end?
Did they endure war, famine and flu?
This beach, was it bloodied by battle?
Was it defended from attack?
Did the persecuted leave their
footprints in the sand as they escaped?
How did Müfide Kadri know we’d
yearn for these two and their view,
given the unintended weight
this one canvas carries?
Rebecca Dempsey lives in Melbourne/Naarm, Australia. She writes poetry and short stories across genres and can be found at WritingBec.com.
Mufide Kadri Overheard Near Her Lovers on the Beach
Now each of them must be this sea
that rushes to embrace
and each the willing, waiting shore
the other will replace.
And each of them must be that moon
in which the other glows
and each to one another's night
the light as fleeting rose
that beckons both to be two worlds
that labour with respect,
where each of them as seed and womb
together must effect
the spirits, though but half a soul,
that love professed has rendered whole.
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.
In the fading days of Ottoman glory, a magic child was born.
Her life was the stuff that dreams are made of
And ancient mythic legends portray.
An orphaned baby taken in by the barren wife of
An elegant and patrician man, this precious girl grew up
In old Constantinople, sheltered by date palms and whitewashed walls.
Her doting adoptive father provided her with tutors
And teachers of the highest caliber—violin virtuosi and pianists.
By the age of ten, she learned to paint professionally,
Like Renoir and Monet, beautiful, dreamy, light-filled
Visions of happy, respected women and men,
Reading, playing music, strolling in the sunlight in the finest
European clothing. This was all before everything changed.
She won prizes, held her head high as the first
Woman art teacher in Turkey. But in all this worldly glory,
Still pure and holy, what went on in her secret heart?
Her self-portrait shows only a shy girl with lovely dark eyes,
Her glossy hair veiled in white lace.
Did she dream of true love, like Aphrodite among the nearby Greeks?
Did she hope to fly from the palace on demi-goddess wings and find
A lover to hold her in his arms?
Her final painting, Lovers on the Beach, depicts a man and woman,
In creamy white clothing, the lady wearing a French style chapeau,
And looking a bit like the self-portrait.
The lovers walk near the shallows. An aura of pink and crystal light
Permeates this lovely dream, this vision of quiet passion,
A girl’s fantasy of being loved by a handsome man,
Who holds her arm as they stroll together and looks at nothing but her.
All is gauzy and golden, with the sun sparkling across
The rosy waves, as they gently lap the sand, almost touching
The hem of her ruffled frock. In the distance, the clock tower
Chimes its soft sound, speaking only with the waves,
Saying nothing about time. In this tableau, his love
Will linger forever, and he will be handsome always.
Alas, like Keats, England’s Golden Boy before her, she died young,
Unmarried, childless, and Turkey fell to ruins,
But everything she left behind was exquisite.
Rose Anna Higashi
Rose Anna Higashi is a retired professor of English Literature, Japanese Literature, Poetry and Creative Writing. Her poems have recently appeared in America Media, The Ekphrastic Review, Poets Online, The Catholic Poetry Room, The Agape Review and The Avocet. Many of her lyric poems and haiku can be viewed on her website, www.myteaplanner.com, which also publishes her monthly blog, “Tea and Travels.” Rose Anna lives in rural Hawaii with her husband of sixty years, Wayne Higashi.
Kadri’s missing thought bubbles appear as wannabe sonnets that float, unspoken, over their heads
I The new bride dreams…
A man who holds me so near,
who values me so dear!
How fortunate am I to be
so cherished, so protected—why, he cares
even for the moon-blanched gown I wear,
which sweeps the rattling shingle;
grasps my arm with strong, cool fingers;
draws me from salt water’s harm!
In no way is my passion now amiss;
this is an evening of calm delight.
Here, now, we celebrate our wedded bliss
under the quilt of sky, so full of tender light.
In the blur of dusk through which we move,
we stroll the shore in a haze of love.
II The new groom schemes…
A burning moon has risen on our right,
lambent on the oily bay for this night:
gold as the goldmine I shall find:
all her riches to me bind.
Ah, but she steps to the edge: too near!
With my heavy soldier’s hand, I’ll steer
her closer, ever closer as we promenade;
still closer as the daylight fades.
Clouds unwelcome overhang the town;
the sky looms frowning over us--
claiming night, as I shall claim her for my own
when darkness shall discover us.
For that is now my solemn right:
to have her—always, ever—in my sight.
Last year, Ballagher was chosen as winner in Poetry on the Lake's 2022 formal category with a pantoum entitled ‘Across the Barle’. Her work has appeared in print and online on both sides of the Atlantic. She lives in the UK, writing a blog at https://lizzieballagherpoetry.wordpress.com/. She enjoys experimenting with formal structures as well as free verse.
Lovers on the Beach
A million stars dot the inky night sky
each denoting a second of our togetherness
The full moon is a glowing silver orb
shining bright as our love.
It is under this canopy that we walk
arm in arm
Our footfalls imprinting our history in the sand
as we talk of and look at what lies ahead.
We walk past the lighthouse
till we reach the very end
Here, surrounded by the crashing of the waves
we gaze at the horizon.
No words are needed, a comfortable silence descends
soon the sound of silence echoes
Slowly our heartbeats sync with the waves
the lub-dub of love crescendoes.
Note: The non-indented lines (1, 3, 5, and so on) can be read and understood as a complete poem on their own. Further, reading the entire poem (indented and non-indented lines together) gives a slightly different outlook.
Nivedita Karthik is a graduate in Immunology from the University of Oxford. She is an accomplished Bharatanatyam dancer and published poet. She also loves writing stories. Her poetry has appeared in Glomag, The Society of Classical Poets, The Epoch Times, The Poet anthologies, The Ekphrastic Review, Visual Verse, The Bamboo Hut, Eskimopie, The Sequoyah Cherokee River Journal, and Trouvaille Review. Her microfiction has been published by The Potato Soup Literary Journal. She also regularly contributes to the open mics organized by Rattle Poetry. She currently resides in Gurgaon, India, and works as a senior associate editor. She has two published books, She: the reality of womanhood and The many moods of water.
Lovers on the Beach
The waves are besotted
with the shore,
furiously kissing it back and forth
with the changing tides
with its various moods.
Though they recede,
they always return.
On this lovelorn beach,
You walk hand in hand
with your lover,
thinking you are
unnoticed, but the sand
rejoices under your feet.
The air balmy, hums
a ballad, to the
the distant moon
which shines on the sea,
a touch, non tangential
One can almost believe that
there is nothing wrong
with the world in this moment.
There is no sadness.
There is no war,
no apocalypse, approaching.
Only endless love
stretching to the horizon
carried on however flimsy hope.
Akshaya Pawaskar is a doctor-poet hailing from Goa, India. Her poems have been published in Tipton Poetry Journal, Shards,The Blue Nib, North of Oxford, Indian Rumination, Rock and Sling, among many others. She won the Craven Arts Council ekphrastic poetry competition in 2020 and was placed second in The Blue Nib chapbook contest in 2018. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, The falling in and the falling out (Alien Buddha Press, 2021) and Cocktail of life (bookLeaf publishing, 2022).
Split Sequence for Müfide Kadri as she paints
pale brush strokes…
her lingering cough spatters
on her palm
spring’s last rites…
in fading light on the shore
a woman and man
two lovers stepping out
with her spirit.
Based in the United Kingdom, Dorothy Burrows enjoys writing poems, flash fiction and short plays. Her work has appeared in various print and online journals including The Ekphrastic Review. She used to live by the sea.
they posed as the honeymooners dressed all in white
as they stole away from industrial life,
away from the secret tryst in a dark alley.
handfuls of curly brown locks of womanhood
lay undiscovered on the floor of a hidden home
although she still owned the rest within.
she did as she'd seen her father do -
the pants, the shirt, the buttons, the tie,
the boots, the hat, the mustache,
and finally, the posture.
she offered her hand to the lady in white
whose hair was worth wars,
and they escaped servitude
they posed as the honeymooners on a midnight stroll
but their boots pointed forever away from the towers of their prison,
one pair hidden under silk and cotton.
they stole away under the full moon
tingling with fear and hope and incredible trust in the future
and they followed the moonlit coastline until they saw their sanctuary on the horizon:
the island of the witches.
Sohei Wu is a writer and poet, often found hunched over a laptop lost in the world of a new poem. They find inspiration in nature, social justice, and everything in between.
"As night came on, the light became more and more
bewitching...Things weren't simply lit up: they radiated
light from within themselves."
Jean-Luc Bannalec, Death in Brittany
"Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea."
Dylan Thomas, Fern Hill
I was in love with the Mediterranean and with you, a guard at the Sultan's Palace.
Some days I painted you -- the tall hat, the fine boots and your incorrigible mustache.
Standing at attention outside the rooms where I taught "young ladies" the fine arts
of drawing and music, I hoped you were enchanted by the oud and kamenche,
listening as I played -- an overture to a good day -- and prepared my class for a lesson
on Monet, his impressionistic colors like the luminescent petals in a thriving field,
redolent with brush strokes; or like the moon-made yards of fabric I ordered for a dress
to wear with you for our last promenade; to watch your fingers trace the ancient star maps
and configurations of an astronomical twilight. On canvas (when I put us there)
the moon left a trail for us to follow by the shoreline yet we could have been together
anywhere, on a street in Paris when the sun drifts down, slipping away to evening,
the cloud-filled sky lashed with pink and purple over the Seine, an interpretation
of the wild and anonymous innocence of my girlhood before the rain and storm;
and before we came to this beach, sand beneath my feet though I remember
trembling foliage in the Bois de Boulogne (in Brittany, the Bois D'Amour), the trees
predicting this breeze that embraces Istanbul: It is across the water, distant as the night
in a work of art where there are no boats --
where sky and sea are suddenly seamless
in our unavoidable ending.
Laurie Newendorp lives and writes in Houston. Her book, When Dreams Were Poems, explores the relationships between poetry, life and art. Mufide Kadri, an orphan, adopted and trained in the arts, was the first female teacher in the Ottoman Empire. Multiply talented, she taught in the Adile Sultan Palace (now a school for girls) until she contracted Consumption (Tuberculosis) and died at 22. The brevity of her life is like a phantom thought in "Sahilde Asiklar" in Turkish; in English, "Lovers On The Beach."