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Indra’s Net, a poetry anthology

I’m delighted to be featured in this international anthology – sales go towards literacy projects in Africa, Asia and South America, so if you would like to support a good cause and read poetry at the same time, here you are ….

The following is an extract from Carol Rumens’ foreword:

The title of this anthology, Indra’s Net, was suggested by one of its poets, the late Cynthia Jobin. She explained: “Indra’s net is a metaphor for universal interconnectedness. It’s as old as ancient Sanskrit and as ‘today’ as speculative scientific cosmology. It’s what came to mind when thinking about nets and webs and interconnectedness … and jewels and poems.”

There are many ways in which the metaphor suits the anthology. It’s a book filled with poetic gems, of course, the work of a happy mixture of new and well-known writers, including prizewinning poets like Beverley Bie Brahic and Katharine Towers. The poems connect: poems always do. The poets may have shared their work and reached their global readership via the Internet. And then there’s the most important net of all, described by Wallace Stevens as “The magnificent cause of being,/ The imagination, the one reality/ In this imagined world …”

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1999740807/ref=sr_1_1…

 

The other side

We are the children of Africa,
the brotherhood of unwanted strangers
if our faces don’t mark us our accents will
we keep our heads down and walk next to walls.
The church feeds us,
the university canteen feeds us
we stuff our pockets with sliced bread,
take it home for a stale breakfast,
soak it in instant coffee, black and strong,
made with water from the hot tap.

At night we walk the streets
search the gutters, the pavements.
Stand on cigarette packets
to see if they are empty,
check the return slots in the phone boxes.
If they’re jammed we kick them
and the coins fall like water into our hands.
We climb into skips,
open black bags on rubbish day,
find mattresses, shoes, jackets, a suitcase,
burn fruit boxes in the stove,
watch the snow blow through the streets.

In summer there are figs and cherries,
They’re free, anyone can pick them.
The shelf is lined with bottled fruit,
we find an almond tree.
The days are long and hot.
We are happy for a while.

Tunis

Jasmine hangs heavy in the air,
a sweet caress.
Dusty urchins sell bouquets
the flowers bruised, bleeding fragrance.
Night-flying moths whirl, cascade,
drunk with the promise of love.
Shadow-hidden, veiled women pass.
The hot sky is star-scattered.

Water-carriers lay the dust,
drops flying from sweeping hands.
The men lie outside on cushions
hookah smoke curling in lazy wreaths,
Oum Kalthoum sings of heartache and loss
longing etched in every word.
The men touch their hearts,
kiss their fingers, speak of passion
in whispers, so that the women cannot hear.

The limbic brain

 

My elder sister
the lizard
lives in the front yard
of my brain.
She keeps strangers from the door,
sees danger everywhere.

I’m hoping to find her a husband.
Once she’s married off
I intend to take chances
go out dancing
and make my own mistakes.

Fairy godmother

Beneath your ribs
the snail shell curl
of a baby girl,
a spiral unfolding
a forest fern
a slow awakening of spirit in flesh.

Her name is decided
her bed is made
the clothes are packed on shelves
the date has been set.

My gift is hidden
under her pillow,
a wish for uncertainty,
a promise
that there will be questions.

Time passes

I’m watching the slow dance of dust motes in a sunbeam
as they enter and leave in a never-ending flow.

I wonder if god sees the universe
as a drifting waltz of ephemeral beings
floating on cosmic currents.

I wonder where the dust comes from
and how it rises unseen,
and why it endlessly falls.

my dog

my dog she dances
she’s half dingo you know
walking in dreamtime
stepping on stones.


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