poem of the day: The Cave Painters by Eamon Grennan

The Cave Painters

Eamon Grennan

Holding only a handful of rushlight
they pressed deeper into the dark, at a crouch
until the great rock chamber
flowered around them and they stood
in an enormous womb of
flickering light and darklight, a place
to make a start. Raised hands cast flapping shadows
over the sleeker shapes of radiance.

They’ve left the world of weather and panic
behind them and gone on in, drawing the dark
in their wake, pushing as one pulse
to the core of stone. The pigments mixed in big shells
are crushed ore, petals and pollens, berries
and the binding juices oozed
out of chosen barks. The beasts

begin to take shape from hands and feather-tufts
(soaked in ochre, manganese, madder, mallow white)
stroking the live rock, letting slopes and contours
mould those forms from chance, coaxing
rigid dips and folds and bulges
to lend themselves to necks, bellies, swelling haunches,
a forehead or a twist of horn, tails and manes
curling to a crazy gallop.

Intent and human, they attach
the mineral, vegetable, animal
realms to themselves, inscribing
the one unbroken line
everything depends on, from that
impenetrable centre
to the outer intangibles of light and air, even
the speed of the horse, the bison’s fear, the arc
of gentleness that this big-bellied cow
arches over its spindling calf, or the lancing
dance of death that
bristles out of the buck’s
struck flank. On this one line they leave
a beak-headed human figure of sticks
and one small, chalky, human hand.

We’ll never know if they worked in silence
like people praying—the way our monks
illuminated their own dark ages
in cross-hatched rocky cloisters,
where they contrived a binding
labyrinth of lit affinities
to spell out in nature’s lace and fable
their mindful, blinding sixth sense
of a god of shadows—or whether (like birds
tracing their great bloodlines over the globe)
they kept a constant gossip up
of praise, encouragement, complaint.

It doesn’t matter: we know
they went with guttering rushlight
into the dark; came to terms
with the given world; must have had
—as their hands moved steadily
by spiderlight—one desire
we’d recognise: they would—before going on
beyond this border zone, this nowhere
that is now here—leave something
upright and bright behind them in the dark.


poem of the day: Passer-by, These Are Words by Yves Bonnefoy

Passer-by, These Are Words

Yves Bonnefoy (link)

Passer-by, these are words. But instead of reading
I want you to listen: to this frail
Voice like that of letters eaten by grass.

Lend an ear, hear first of all the happy bee
Foraging in our almost rubbed-out names.
It flits between two sprays of leaves,
Carrying the sound of branches that are real
To those that filigree the still unseen.

Then know an even fainter sound, and let it be
The endless murmuring of all our shades.
Their whisper rises from beneath the stones
To fuse into a single heat with that blind
Light you are as yet, who can still gaze.

May your listening be good! Silence
Is a threshold where a twig breaks in your hand,
Imperceptibly, as you attempt to disengage
A name upon a stone:

And so our absent names untangle your alarms.
And for you who move away, pensively,
Here becomes there without ceasing to be.

Old House

poem of the day: Night looks down on me (with speed) by Sawako Nakayasu

Night looks down on me (with speed)

Sawako Nakayasu

Night looks down on me
(with speed)

while I write poems about the wrong balcony, try to store them in the wrong parts of my body quaking, trying to fend off the mint that you are not brewing for me inside as of course you wouldn’t or couldn’t, being inthe wrong side and all moon ignored is better than acknowledged now, mid-sentence, while I withdraw my fingers full of no point! no point! but my nails don’t hold anyone up at all and now look what I’ve written.

No wonder the night.

Tokyo at Night

poem of the day: Visionary Eulogy (Part 5) by Amina El Bakouri

Visionary Eulogy (Part 5)

Amina El Bakouri

Rarely did I whisper my erotic poems to you . . .
A single eyelash twitch suffices
To awaken the soul from its slumber . . .
To distress a flock of sand-grouses in their nests
To open the gate of probability
Towards a mutilated poem
That might wail, but never come . . .
Or thus whoop the falling nights!
My own night was not enough
As I stared at the same glare fading slowly into
The blossoms of speech . . .
Perplexed larvae ripped up on the loom of
My own killing letters.
Marble thirst beat me
With a feeble whip.
I aimed thus the spark of nostagia at your secret water . . .
O disdainful passer-by
Let our words fall like hail
On the jujube trees of time
Let us by means of water
Pay allegiance to the metaphor therein
So that poetry exalts in us . . .
Let us see the dead sea  off towards its own exile
Let us wait a little . . .
Tell me
Why are poets first to die?

Morocco landscape

poem of the day: And What it Means by Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer

And What it Means

Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer

and what it means to smell of happy grass
to travel in blue irises while the ancient gods
flutter past unrippled on a smile
what it means to spell love upside down
on an awkward tablecloth
as if you have never before
written or loved

and what it means paralysed by L-
love firstly and forever to be round
with blue rain to gleam proudly in the sun
to comprehend in a brand-green beaming volapük
and to sail your golden horn till the bight of genova
and sargasso sea in the wind
with hearts agreeing like a syllogism
folded together like a swiss knife
to wake up in the armpit of venice

you know what it means for you give meaning
to grass waking up alphabet and the seven seas
untranslatable are these days
that dance on the toes of logic
after this summer there
is no excuse for autumn

poem of the day: The Lake Isle of Innisfree by W.B. Yeats

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

W.B. Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.