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Contributors to the Fall 2022 Edition

C. B. Anderson

Toni Artuso

Michael Baldwin

Jane Blanchard

Erica M. Breen

Matthew Brennan

Susan Jarvis Bryant

Paul Buchheit

Barbara Lydecker Crane

David Crocco

Philip Fischer`

Flora Higgins

David Horowitz

Jenni Wyn Hyatt

David Jennings

Barbara Kenney

David Kofalt

John Liakakos

A, H. Leventoff

Fr. Richard Libby

Barbara Loots

Paul Malamud

Larry Michaels

Bob Moore

James B. Nicola

Harry D. A. Pratt

Erica Reid

Jane Barrett Ross

Lee Slonimsky

Susan St. Martin

B. R. Strahan

Barbara Wall

Mid Walsh

Gail White

Joseph Whitten

Julian Woodruff

Alessio Zanelli

Robert Zisk

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ANNOUNCEMENTS

The winner of the quarterly award for the Summer issue was chosen by David Crocco, a frequent contributor who has a deep appreciation for the natural world and for the significance of the flow of daily life.

His comments follow:

Best Poem: Mark Rich’s “From Clay and Stone”

This sonnet is most unusual, with two simultaneous points of view and alliteration crafted with a chisel. We join the praising bees

Honorable Mention: “Transparency” by Thomas Donovan Murphy who finds, like Burns when he turned a mouse out with a plow, the universal in the commonplace.

Just as we were heading to press, we received word that Paul Malamud, who has shared his voice with our readers for 28 years, had passed away. Born the son of Ann and Bernard Malamud, he received a Ph.D in English literature from Columbia University, then served the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D. C.  for over thirty years. Throughout his life, he maintained a fascination with 18th century philosophy, ancient currency, and most of all with poetry; he translated poems from Latin and Old French, and wrote his own. We will miss him!  To commemorate his presence, we chose the poem below from the archives (Fall 2019) in his memory, as past, present and future have merged into timelessness for him.

AUTUMN, AGE 70

Everything is being turned down,
world of boiling blues becoming still,
quieting into grays, and pewter clouds.
The white light lies, weak, on a window sill.

The body’s easier, because it can move faster
in coolness down the sidewalk, with no need
for greasy sun block, rivers of sticky sweat,
as skin-peeling sun starts to recede.

Some like it cool.  The world around me spins
into an orange night, the sugared glee
of childhood’s Halloween, and a blood moon
will rise at ten –a phantom strawberry.

People begin to layer, take the shape
of seeds turning into pods, extruding shells,
and become oval as they hurry along.
The autumn leaches into leaf mold smells.

A few Japanese lanterns sway in the dusk:
remembered teachers, parents, who smile at me,
who make fall joyful.  I feel their candle warmth.
As I walk on, the past’s in front of me.

Paul Malamud

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SELECTED POEMS FROM FALL 2022

ON DICKINSON ISLAND

I hear from far away beyond the trees
the sounds of something useful being done.
It’s Monday morning, when the industries
of what’s called normal life begin again
out there, while I keep still in reveries
suggested by the aspens and the rain
here at the cottage on a pile of rock
encloistered by a gray, impassive lake.

Not today, refulgent August sun
a-dapple through the tangle of the leaves
of birch and maple, balsam, and white pine,
but silver sky and shadowless low groves
of hazel, where unmeasured hours move on.
Not today, the chain of other lives,
the slavery of calendar and clock,
but only this deep anchorage of rock,

this solitude, this loosening of ties
to everything that mattered in the past.
Here, I am neither innocent nor wise,
the wealth I claim invisible and vast.
Each morning opens to a fresh surprise
of fragile webs and weathers east and west.
Today I listen to the island speak
a word from the unmanufactured dark.

Barbara Loots

 

CLOUDY IDYLL

Pink flames shot upward in the southern sky,
easily diverting the eye
from two low-lying slivers of slate gray,
whose several companions lay
lazing well to the east.
These nodded to the paling fire, at least,
by donning puce, while merging into one
and bidding welcome to the sun.

By early afternoon the brightest blue
gave backdrop to smudged tufts that knew
their fate was to be herded right along
in silent yet chaotic song,
lighthearted though it was.
These puny, nebulous patches of gauze
slipped in and out of shapes—cats, butterflies,
pigs wearing hats of comic size.

Mid-afternoon’s sheet, moth-eaten and torn,
had shifted far off, to adorn
the most distant southeastern limit of
the blue then darkening above;
while in its place were streaks
well brushed, and mocking them a flight of freaks—
weird dotted shapes, possibly scaly perch
in an unfrenzied feeding search.

The sun, languidly sinking, won’t be hidden
by out-of-kilter slats –-unbidden
Venetian-style, would-be interference
with solar glory.  Their appearance,
though, may induce some minds
to dream of what exists beyond those blinds,
floating about the sun but not in sight—
harbingers of the nearing night.

Julian Woodruff

 

SONGS FROM INISHLACKEN

THE LOVE OF AN ISLAND WOMAN

     Mary Conroy, an islander, 1899

O that my love were humble like pale flax,
a gentle bud uprooted, strong and straight,
spun, dyed, and knotted at our wedding mass.
At shy nineteen, in you I wove my fate.

But now September rain glows on your brow
and children fly like terns across the sea.
You throw your flaxen net across the bow
and leave me hackling, spinning on the quay.

The shirt I weave for you is beaded web,
salt water and the wind.  Though I may try
to hold our bond, it falls to spill and ebb.
If I could mend our love or seize the sky,

     or to God’s face, beg his begrudging plan—
that he would teach me how to love a man.

Barbara Kenney

 

THE LURE OF AN ISLAND, ABANDONED

Artists create portraits of Claire King, an island descendant, 2018

Outside the schoolhouse, artists gather round
a blue-eyed girl who poses on a chair.
A scumbling brush on canvas joins the sound
of sheep and wren and waves against the pier.

An artist paints the island in her hair,
another draws the ruins in her eyes.
Each hand creates a portrait of an heir
to empty houses taken by the tides.

At midnight on the beach, the artists call,
they light a torch and signal ancient Ogham.
Under the solstice sky, they stand in awe,
through colour, hail the emigrants back home.

     Aunt Bridget left the isle long ago.
Her best advice is, “Look at it and go.”

Barbara Kenney

 

SAILORS’ FARWELLS

That’s what they called them:  These glass rolling pins
with tender mottoes painted on the glass.
Last gift before he disappeared for years —
perhaps jumped ship rather than bear the lash
on a whaling vessel in the vast Pacific
and sired golden babies on an atoll
in Polynesia – or, like Ulysses,
wandered back home at last, a graceless sinner
hoping for grace, and saying, “What’s for dinner?”

What was the point of the glass rolling pin,
symbol of bread?  Perhaps it was a bid
for her fidelity, a pledge of his,
a voiceless way to bid “Goodbye, my dear”
or Pistol’s words “let housewifery appear.”
(And she, perhaps, hoarding the rolling pin
to crack his sconce the minute he walked in.)

Gail White

ONE HAND ON THE GATE

That moment­­­—Oh! That instant

     When life and death combine,

That last brief breath , but remnant,

     Where is and was define.

What secrets in that second—split—

     When last the heart has thrust!

Time stays though the clock has quit.

     We pray.  We doubt.  We trust.

Oh! To stand where you have stood,

     With one hand on the gate,

To leave this all behind for good

     And know! –not speculate.

  

David Jennings

 

SUNRISE AND MOONRISE

Once upon a time, in our green bed
Of mountain thyme, I blew the morning’s dew
Through your soft hair and onto your forehead.

Around us little redwinged blackbirds flew,
And, in the morning’s shrine, I kissed your eyes,
Whilst, on soft breezes, golden monarchs blew.

But now, this latter time, filled with moonrise
From the high nave of the cathedral night,
Casts doeskin violets over our dark eyes,

So that, in the requiem of twilight,
As the blue and purple shadows grow,
Our hearts, entwined, flutter and fledge in flight:

And, in the risen moon’s pale, naked glow,
We soon become the stuff of long ago.

Robert Zisk