. one-hundred and ninety-eight --POETRY

3/09/2010 06:56:00 AM

"Puce Fairy Book"

Alice Major

You wanted Rapunzel waiting in a tower
braids of hair like ropes
stairs that only you could climb

my hair would never grow long enough

you wanted a lady sleeping in a garden
no rings on her fingers
never been kissed

other princes had made it though my forest

so you tried revisionist tale-telling
and turned them into dwarves-
you wanted happy ever after

I forgot to water the roses round the door

I piled up mattresses to cushion you
but you tossed and turned
bruised by that one small nub-

the part of me that is no fairy tale

you brought me a crystal slipper
on a heart-shaped pillow
pretty but slightly passe

my foot was too big to fit into it

you might have been the one true prince
but on mature consideration
I declined, with thanks, the honour

of cutting off my toe

"The Story"

Karen Connelly

Eventually each of us
will tell a story
of scars and ocean,
the way you never
know what's in deeper water
while the seaweed shadows
twist below you
and the slow fear
fills your thin arms.

You know you are a fool
for having come this far.
You know you could never
swim fast enough.
In your mouth your heart
dissolves like a holy tablet
of salt.

In the end, it is
only a drifting body
of wood. Or a dolphin.

But what we own
beyond a shadow
of a doubt
is our fear
of being eaten
alive, torn apart
in depths we have entered

"And If You Should Leave Me"

Ben Okri

And if you should leave me
I would say that the ghost
Of Cassandra
Has passed through
My eyes
I would say that the stars
In their malice
Merely light up the sky
To stretch my torment
And that the waves crash
On the shores
To bring salt-stings on
My face:
For you re-connect me with
All the lights of the sky
And the salt of the waves
And the myths in the air.
And with your passing
The evening would become too dark
To dream in
And the morning
Too bright.

"This Is A Photography Of Me"

Margaret Atwood

It was taken some time ago.
At first it seems to be
a smeared
print: blurred lines and grey flecks
blended with the paper;
then, as you scan
it, you see in the left-hand corner
a thing that is like a branch: part of a tree
(balsam or spruce) emerging
and, to the right, halfway up
what ought to be a gentle
slope, a small frame house.

In the background there is a lake,
and beyond that, some low hills.

(The photograph was taken
the day after I drowned.

I am in the lake, in the centre
of the picture, just under the surface.

It is difficult to say where
precisely, or to say
how large or small I am:
the effect of the water
on light is a distortion

but if you look long enough,
you will be able to see me.)

"The Woman I Am In My Dreams"

Maxine Tynes

The woman I am in my dreams
is taller than I am
and sees the world as she walks
unlike me with eyes on every step
with eyes ever and always on the ground
the woman walks only when
she feels like not running
not jogging
the woman I am in my dreams
lifts one leg effortlessly over the other
crosses them
high up on the knee
the hip
the thigh
not just at the ankle like I do.

The woman I am in my dreams
breaks all the rules about shoes
wears them high and red
with killer spike heels
moves from Nikes to spikes
and the kind of pumps
that go with a dress
and having your hair done
the woman I am in my dreams
her legs are straight and sure
they don't fly out from under her
they don't hide under long skirts
her legs and feet are well
they speak for her in footsteps on the road
they laugh at hills and
at rolling, unforgiving gravel
they dialogue with ice and snow
and they always win that argument

The woman I am in my dreams
I wake up and carry part of her
with me everywhere.

"The Six Strings"

Frederico Garcia Lorca

The guitar
makes dreams cry.
The crying of lost
escapes from its round
And like the tarantula
it weaves a huge star
to catch sighs
that float on its black
wooden tank.

"Eagle's Work"

Wayne Keon

Eagle strikes her prey
out of the air

one screaming blow
of blood nd

swift nd clean nd proud
I torture this page
for hours

finally my soul stumbles
out sick of being the
official witness

starts walkin nd talkin nd dancin right out loud

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