Why do we seek to know divinity
and cloister our divine in labelled walls
along with hymns of grand ubiquity
whose echoes prowl confined in airless halls?
What greater glory than the first design:
a grove that raises limbs towards the light,
a gentle rivulet that serves as shrine,
while joyous birdsong flows from day to night?
No teaching seat squats boldly on this floor,
whose aisle is just an earthy forest track:
here untold beauty lifts the soul to soar;
the eagle bears no scripture on her back.
Draw near and smile and, if you wish to, sing:
Let happy nature ever reign as king!
F.F. Teague (Fliss) is a copyeditor/copywriter by day and a poet/composer come nightfall. She lives in Pittville, a suburb of Cheltenham (UK). From 2014 to 2016, Fliss was Poet-in-Residence for Happenstance Border Morris; and she has had some success at The Mighty, an online community for chronically ill persons. She entered the Spotlight at The HyperTextsin July this year and has remained there ever since. Her other interests include art, film, and photography.
Joan of Arc
Led by angelic voices to defend
the former Dauphin’s interests in France,
she struggled first and foremost to befriend
those who would hear and heed her, take a chance
on such a maiden’s claim to apprehend
the will of God. Too many looked askance
at this strange girl—until she could transcend
all peasant and provincial happenstance
with victory at Orléans, attend
in Reims a coronation, then advance
the kingdom. How she managed to offend
her foes! Their vengefulness served to enhance
her righteous calling through the fiery end
of martyrdom—so far beyond romance.
This sonnet, first published in The French Literary Review, is the work of Jane Blanchard, who lives and writes in Georgia (USA). Jane’s latest collection is Never Enough Already (2021). Amazon.com: Never Enough Already
Open All Night
Let’s stay out late, light’s a shrine,
each lit storefront a refuge.
Let’s prowl the streets,
echoes of our own after-curfew
footsteps stalking us.
Neon is Main street’s candlelight--
photons streaming through
a slender glass tube
like cocktails through a plastic straw.
Maybe we’ll find a tavern
with a fake fireplace,
mirrors garish with longing.
Everyone selling the good news
of easy camaraderie.
We can hear a woman’s laughter,
nervous little shrieks fluting its edges
like the crimping on Mom’s apple pie.
Gene Kelly never danced on this street,
never sang to these lampposts,
never sloshed on the shine
of this sidewalk.
This isn’t home and the heart doesn’t
ache for anyone here.
You can leave the sad stories behind,
unless they’re your own.
Jeanne Wagner is the author of four chapbooks and three full-length collections: The Zen Piano-mover, winner of the NFSPS Poetry Prize, In the Body of Our lives, Sixteen Rivers Press and Everything Turns Into Something Else, published in 2020 as runner-up for the Grayson Books Prize. Her work has appeared in Alaska Review, Cincinnati Review, North American Review, Florida Review, and The Southern Review.
To Edwaert Collier Regarding Vanitas Still Life
Your somber work so cloaks our fate
in dote on darkness we await...
...where candlestick you've overturned
held flame of hope so long that burned...
...and silence wafts as music made
from instruments no longer played...
...and nib with ink forever dried
has left unfinished work implied...
...and books in which we've bound our dread
are turned to ground we fear to tread...
...and yet your globe shows daring's yen
as map to be redrawn again...
...when treasures pass with blood that flows
to future faith, in darkness, grows.
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.
We browse the coffee shops and market stalls
beneath the tired, horizon-tilted gaze
of a giant, standing silently above
Our Glorious Dead, and Honour, Gratitude, Praise.
Beyond those words, what did the sculptor mean?
That we should read the dates and names, and know
they’d stood unbowed, and that their sacrifice
has leached into the soil in which we’ve grown?
That we too should be ready to be called?
Or stand so close we feel the webbing’s weave
and bear the rifle, knapsack, bayonet
and pouches’ weight, see what this soldier sees
and saw – and ask what he might want to say?
“You barely see the plinth you hurry by,
eyes to the ground, and once a year place flowers
for a past in which I may have died,
while I, my future finished, look ahead.
But, cast in bronze, I’m cursed: I have no tongue;
I don’t know you; I never knew this town;
I see, but can’t reveal, what’s still to come.”
Phil lives in Kent in the UK. He works as an advisor on peacebuilding and international development. His first full collection Poetry After Auschwitz was published by Sentinel in 2020. Hedgehog Poetry Press published This Quieter Shore, a micro-pamphlet, in 2019, and will publish a full collection Watching the Moon Landing in 2021. Some of his published work can be found on his website www.philvernon.net/category/poetry.
On November 27, 2021, TER editor will be speaking about ekphrastic writing at the Great Flash Throwdown online.
There are multiple all day flash fiction conferences throughout the winter. If you haven't done the online Flash Fiction Festival, don't miss out! Sponsored by Bath Flash Fiction Award and Ad Hoc Fiction, and organized by the amazing Jude Higgins, these events feature an array of literary luminaries, great readings, publishing tips, panel discussions, interviews, writing exercises, and more. There is even yoga stretching for writers to make the computer haul bearable.
The flash fiction days are a lot of fun, a great learning experience, and a chance to meet writers online.
We are very excited about introducing flash writers to the joys of ekphrastic writing!
Monologue of the Creamed Camel
How shall I not love the humans, nomads
that snap-shutter the Western Cordillera with a third eye?
They say the world is peeling off like whatever wallpaper is.
All I know is their sprawl is dead center
now in the grasslands. They dig for their brushes
and cigarettes to honor us, riding with noble abandon,
not so sharp-edged. We appear ready to hump
in two directions without groan.
Why would God allow them to follow us?
We love bearing their loads in transport
forty million years later since our ancestors
were bored in South Dakota like rabbits.
Could our Creator in her tipped joyfulness
match this grace as we ponder the Marfa Lights?
You will never capture my face so well as the guard hair,
the fat-laden bumps, and the serene proudness, headed
for the corners of earth’s splendor.
John Milkereit lives in Houston and has completed a M.F.A. in Creative Writing at the Rainier Writing Workshop. His work has appeared in various literary journals including San Pedro River Review, The Orchard Street Press, and The Ocotillo Review. Lamar University Press published his last collection of poems entitled Drive the World in a Taxicab. He is a 2021 Pushcart nominee.
Join us this Sunday afternoon from 2 to 4 pm EST for an ekphrastic writing workshop with moon-themed artworks!
The moon has been an intriguing subject throughout art history. We will look at and discuss a selection of artworks and let them inspire poetry and short stories.
Our workshops so far have been lively, creative, productive, and fun.
This is our second theme-specific workshop and we hope to have more!
The new challenge prompt has been posted! Check out the rules here, or click on the image above.
Song of Violet
Another grey day, dreams begin to slow down, our
limbs become heavy as old leather suitcases.
Light falls, has nowhere else to go. Where it touches
shadows grow, spreading petals of darkness.
If time could pause, even for a moment, this would be it.
Strangers passing, we ignore each other, deny
at heart we’re the same, clothed in blank stares, frozen feelings,
clutching in our hands a fragile parcel of self.
Colin Pink lives in London, England. He writes fiction, plays and poetry. He has published three collections of poetry: Acrobats of Sound (2016), The Ventriloquist Dummy’s Lament (2019) and Typicity (2021). Colin Pink - D & W PUBLISHING - BOOKS, PAMPHLETS AND POEMS (dempseyandwindle.com)
The Ekphrastic Review
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