Poem of the Month

MARCH 2017

The Crabapple Tree 

 We stood beneath the flowering crabapple,

the pink and white blossom

like clusters of cream and strawberry icing

sprayed throughout the slender branches.

Plentifully sprinkled with frenzied honeybees

the old tree, backlit by the morning sun,

triumphantly glistened –

a dessert prepared for Springtime.

(c) Peter Stiles

 

MAY 2016

Upon holding a brand new person (womb-fresh and yawning)

Give melodies to everything you say,

new life must be sung into this world.

 

Let your arms be a lush valley.

Sway like a grove of she-oaks in a fresh sea breeze.

 

Watch their eyes.

Whisper ‘open sesame’.

Keep watching.

Study the red river deltas on their eyelids;

follow them all the way to the sea.

Keep watching.

 

Stroke their downy hair

as if it were the ermine fringe

of a sovereign’s crown.

 

Blow gently on the bouquet of dandelions

that is their face.

Smell them like you would a new-blooming rose,

aware that thriving comes with fertilising –

the scent of poo, itself a miracle.

 

Be the librarian.

This soft-covered story with blank-page eyes

shelved on your forearms needs your shushing.

Quick, sharp shushes for boisterous visitors.

Soft, slow shushes for lulling and loving.

 

Fill your mouth with colourful marbles,

surrender your vocab,

and let your tone

do all the talking.

Let your sighs be fairy floss;

let your hums be jester plums.

 

This warm body in the corona of your love

carries heat passed on through generations;

it is the hot tip of an iceberg –

the cold bodies of myriad humans

the submerged mass

of traits and immunities and adaptions.

Hold this vital, restless tip

carefully,

prayerfully –

it can burn through

flesh and future.

 

(c) Cameron Semmens

This poem was Runner-up in the 2015 Poetica Christi Press Poetry Competition

and is published in the recent anthology ‘Imagine’. 

 

April 2016

Praise

Deep in a sea of golden staves,

tincture of sun on a summer sky.

Strangely blunted distant sounds,

and a whisper of thanks

met with peace and gladness.

Why come to me for so little, Lord?

A sheaf of grace

for the husk of my scribbling,

Wheatfields of love

for this kernel of praise.

 

© Peter Stiles (from Trumped by Grace)

1952 : Survivors

War had been hard, though six years down the line
in Adelaide, the pain was fading off.
But letters came from Europe; there, the crack
of pistols, rifles, bones and caved in skulls
still echoed at the borders, where the wire
and occupying flags staked out new worlds.
They echoed in the ears of children who
had seen and heard too many bitter things –
had dined on rats at tables in Berlin
while mother pulled her skirts back down
and turned her head to watch the Russians leave.
Their homes knelt down in piles of ruined bricks.
Sometimes a lonely slab still stood; revealed
a splash of flowers on a bedroom wall
bombed-out and on display, for all to see.
Their fathers never made it back to towns
where patriotic flags once fluttered stiff
in summer breeze above the proud town hall.
The telegrams had ticked them off the list.
A million childhoods throttled by a war
that wrapped its dirty fingers round their throats,
before it left to seek new nurseries
in Kabul, Mogadishu or Phnom Penh.
In after years, imaginations plucked
some keepsakes from the fractured growing-up.
Our cousins’ memories would sift the wreck
like treasure-hunters passing magic wands
across the post-war silence and decay,
until a moment gleamed from early days.
Snapdragons on a wall. The scent of starch
in mother’s pinafore upon their face;
an uncle’s figure pointing to the sky
where aircraft droned and slid into the clouds –
in days before the sirens howled and sobbed.
A stamp collection like a tiny world
inside an album, where the nations lay
in neat serrated ranks, before their fall,
and, on the farms, the clicks of breakfast plates
downstairs, as they lay warm in bed – those days
when hearts could lift, as cocks called up the dawn.

©2015  C Ringrose


Winner of the 2015 Poetica Christi competition and used by permission from the recent anthology Inner Child.