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Entries in new writers (6)


FAST EDDY - by Peter Neary-Chaplin

I straight away let go,
the need to know.
A little point of turbulence I shall be,
fast eddying
in this crazy downhill flow.
Somewhere downstream
I form
a pirouette
and seem
to draw things to myself awhile,
hold them in my gravity.
I am
But then unwind
and all my swirling self
ending up in far-off lands,
evaporating into space
or crashing in a sea of grace.
So swirling’s what I came to do.
It’s not my fault:
there is no blame.
I swirled
and now
the river’s not the same.


From Steady, Pilgrim by Peter Neary-Chaplin


Return of the wolf - by Peter Neary-Chaplin

From the time of his freshest young imagining,
the earliest conjectures,
the first tug of horizon-longing
to the hewing and working of sweet wood
into a squat cabin,
to the dragging of rocks to clear a way for the ploughcut,
the sparkle and rush of mountain water
and the sudden dash of birds around the tiller,
the thrum of bugs in a warm sundown ,
the sculpting of ferocious land,
the carving of order and setting of boundary marks,
the wolf was always there,
present in half-shadow,
near enough to snatch scraps of meat and bone,
pale eyes made orange by the licking flame.

Soon the woman came,
the fire went indoors.
The tiller looked away,
took baths,
embraced the soft joy of her.
There was always much to do,
the summers bloomed and they were full.

Soon long winter took more than summer gave.

I have loved you, loved this, she spoke,
but this is not the love I crave.
This is my best, he sighed, my best.
This is what I have. 

One day she took a nap,
woke after two long days.
The doctor puffed his cheeks,
stared at the floor. 

While the earth mound was still fresh,
even before the wooden cross,
the wolf returned by night.
Scenting where she lay he howled her loss.


The fire came back outside
and neither made a sound,
pale eyes made orange by the licking flame,
red muscles stretching on the dusty ground.

From Steady, Pilgrim by Peter Neary-Chaplin


Jericho Road - by Peter Neary-Chaplin

Pour the wine back in the tall stone jars
and draw some water out.

Unleaven your bread.
Remove your robes,
take out the gold and crimson thread.

Dress in the clothes of every day.
Let celebrations fade away.
Be once more single and alone.

Strap on your sandals
and recommence your walk.
Move beyond the comfortable talk.

The answer is not here
but in your feet,
in the robber
and the saint you’ve yet to meet.


From Steady, Pilgrim by Peter Neary-Chaplin



Initiation - by Adrian G R Scott

The hug you gave me in that first moment
of diagnosis was vice like, sob racked.

Type one diabetes, at sixteen
a hammer blow and a terrible fear
realised in the time it takes
to go and out of the surgery door.

Now you prick your fingers every day,
that sharp droplet touched to the blue strip,
a trill pronouncing the amount
of sugar sweetening your blood.

Then the second wound, insulin in,
to the flesh of your stomach,
a place I once made raspberries
with my lips to make you laugh.

Initiation the ancient art
of wounding the boy,
teaching him that his bleeding could
become a place of wisdom,
that he needed to learn to weep out loud,
to wield his new found strength
in the service of something larger,
that he was part of a greater story.

What kind of a Dad do you need now?

One who has done his own bleeding,
who is not frightened by his own shadow,
who can call time on his own ego.

A man ready to start the next chapter called your story,
an on-going narrative that he will leave before it ends.

But Son, in the time we have left
can we embrace again like on that day?

Connected as men, sharing our pain
at sea on a strange ocean,
initiated by all this unasked for suffering.

Distinct - your journey not mine,
yet for a time in the same boat.

Carried by the true tide of courage to a shore
I want to reach first and wait for you to join me.

From Arriving In Magic, by Adrian G R Scott.


Breathing Under Water - by Carol Bieleck

I built my house by the sea.
Not on the sands, mind you;
not on the shifting sand.
And I built it of rock.
A strong house
by a strong sea.
And we got well acquainted, the sea and I.
Good neighbours.
Not that we spoke much.
We met in silences.
Respectful, keeping our distance, 
but looking our thoughts across the fence of sand.
Always the fence of sand our barrier,
always, the sand between.

And then one day,
- and still I don't know how it happened -
the sea came.
Without warning.

Without welcome, even.
Not sudden and swift, but a shifting across the sand like wine,
less like the flow of water than the flow of blood.
Slow, but coming. 
Slow, but fowing like an open wound.
And I thought of flight and I thought of drowning and I thought of death.
A while I thought the sea crept higher, till it reached my door.
And I knew then, there was nether flight, nor death, nor drowning.
That when the sea comes calling you stop being neighbours
and you give your house for a coral castle,
and you learn to breathe underwater. 


See also this beautiful short video based on this poem.