Poem of the day

Dream Diva

by Carla Jetko

A shotgun in her parlour, Amazon says Enter.

A barefoot wedding. She gestures like treacle,

a guttering of purple in a dugout canoe on the

dream banks of the living room carpet. A diva, she

demands more body. Her want is citrus scented.

She waits in silence, a pulsating black

widow's abdomen. A calling. When you finally

wade into the first-sex smell of nectarines, she

tells you a night-time scare story : of alien

autopsy, the power of the drum, and the psychic

potential of humankind. Designed to send your

blood into the web. "Relinquish" she mouths into

the spaces between your outstretched fingers. Give

way to the sinking vibration of a temple bell. Let

her drop you, head first into the green with

nothing more to cling to than the ozone, ivy and

spider within.

 

22 April

'How can the bird', from The Schoolboy

by Paul Peter Piech

21 April

Rhymes of the Zodiac

by Alastair Walker

Capricorn

 

Do not pour scorn

on the wintry Capricorn;

their smiles may be bland,

their jokes may be corny;

but they were born

on a stormy morn;

their thoughts are rand-

y, their horns are horny.

 

Aquarius

(to be spoken with a Glasgow accent)

 

We’re Aquarius.

Ah’m tellin yuh, pal:

beware-eh-us.

 

Pisces

 

You won’t find a whale

at the bottom of a pail,

but you could find a Pisces

on the high seas.

 

Aries

 

It’s ewes’ milk

but Aries’ dairies

 

Taurus

 

All beef, horns and testicles,

making his usual row.

Beef, horns and testicles;

who’d be a bloody cow?

 

Gemini

 

Gem’n’I

are an item.

 

Cancer

 

It was a canker in the apple

It trailed Adam and Eve’s shadows,

picking sideways

at mortality.

 

Leo

 

She was a sprightly jungle nymph,

Ever so pretty and twee-oh;

She went fluttering through the trees

And tripping o’er the lea - oh,

The lea – oh, the lea – oh,

The big nymphiverous Le-o.

 

Virgo

 

If you are awakened by your partner 

in the middle of the night

and told there is a noise downstairs 

and you should go and see,

 

Eleven times out of twelve you’d better do it, 

and that’s not

just because the very thought of it 

will probably make you need a pee.

 

But if your partner’s a Virgo,

Let her go.

 

Libra

 

I have a little  mollusc who so tiny is

he doesn’t even understand what sign he is.

But I know a most sophisticated zebra

Who’s a Libra.

 

Scorpio

 

My God – a scorpion!

Shoot it; or pee on 

it works without fail:

another deadly tale.

 

Sagittarius

 

Some have a beard

That’s never been sheered;

But nobody’s as hairy as 

A big Sagittarius.

 

20 April

Lost at Sea

by David Constantine

We suppose, he left 

Our cheerful fug 

No worse for wear 

Than often before 

And under the lintel 

And over the threshold 

That afternoon 

Knowing the tides 

And the way to wade 

Went into a mist 

As thick as a bag.

 

These islands camp 

Like wagons for the night 

And all within 

Shallows and landmarks 

Home. He stepped 

At one of the gaps 

Into the river of sea 

Where the banks are close 

As often before 

Warm in his aura 

Of fags and beer 

In fog as thick as a shroud.

 

The sea is everywhere 

Under the window 

Along the wall 

It salts the gardens 

It rides on the air 

Especially at nights 

We taste of it. 

Foreign or local 

Ignorant or sussed 

Put a foot wrong 

And out of our midst 

The water takes you 

As cold as Styx.

 

A long disappearance 

Weeks, months 

And no one likes 

To chisel a stone. 

The sea is shapeless 

Or every shape. 

Where is its mouth? 

Where are its paws? 

It moves you along 

When you lodge it bides 

Does something else 

For a while, you are shelved 

Then it fetches you 

With a nudge and a shove 

And on you go.

 

The land stacks up 

On its contour lines 

To nothing compared 

With its going below 

Big step by step 

When you think how the heart 

Of a swimming man 

Stops at the hints 

Of the deep that cruise 

In here from beyond 

That mouth of the river of sea 

Where there’s always a swirl 

Of noise and it’s never 

One second still. 

Gannets impact 

Like arrowheads 

But it’s nothing at all 

Their height of fall 

And penetration 

Compared with below 

Where the drinker drifts 

Who is less and less 

Himself and more 

And more like a log 

And all his mind 

The rememberer 

And stash of dreams 

Gone in a run 

Of bubbles into the fog.

 

And all’s the same 

The sun and moon 

Exchange their views 

The wind, the light 

Play on and on 

And the clarities 

Are vaporized 

But come again 

And would hurt the eyes 

Of anyone waking out there. 

And ‘Lost at Sea’ 

Is better than 

‘At Peace’, ‘At Rest’ 

‘Asleep’, the sea 

Never sleeps 

Is never at rest 

Has no peace 

Gives none, and he 

Drifting alone 

Is like a draught 

Coming under the door 

Through bar and snug 

A cold whiff 

Of the river running 

A step away 

The river of the sea 

That hurries through 

The crack in our camp 

And carries off 

All manner of stuff. 

 

19 April

In memoriam (Easter 1915)

by Paul Peter Piech

18 April

The spring night

by Basho

17 April

Riding Out

by Savannah Sevenzo

National Poetry Library at Southbank Centre

Image Credit: 
Pete Woodhead
National Poetry Library at Southbank Centre