A Poetry Showcase from Elizabeth Barton

The Ballad of Waiorongomai

Vertiginous drop
heart-stopping grope
measured remorselessly
by the drip of water
gouging time in staccato echo,
drumming the scope of years.

All that is left of the whoring,
the gambling, the fever
lie graves of twisted iron
marking abandoned tramways,
distorted agony in metal
gold's grip on tempted souls.

Frozen in contorted hell,
a smelt of fire, pyric excess
still shudder in rusted shell.
Stout infernal edifices
shoulder the line of hills,
hold vigil on encrusted incline.

Scope of fear,
tickle of madness 
fingers the scarred rock
tracing a melancholy path
through hideous bent rails
and damp fern-lined enclave.

In brazen declivities
histories are entombed;
the failing hand,
a cryptic gesture,
a lover's handkerchief
mourns the miner's plight.

Tears upon a crag,
searching in a darkened room,
despair for granite fever
grinds dread on fragile hope,
melds a leaden ambience
in dusty curtained gloom.

Envious death crouches
in the darkness of a shaft,
its shadow falls upon strong love;
a raging conflagration struck
between lure of gold and yearning heart,
crushing weight on human flesh.

Where I wander lie
the hidden tombs of miners,
no last rites to secure their rest,
no priest's hand to bless their life;
snapped in two by swooping death
their home is in the wind.


The Reckoning

The earth whispered to me
as I descended into her world,
the damp loam obscured the track
of the sun, its watchful eye
in waving frond and winking bush;
as the light of sky diminished
an inward eye illumined my path;
my feet made sure steps, brave
in a growing darkness.
In dim descent I breathed as one,
in close embrace with unhurried earth.

The cave of my mind flickered to life
as if by an ancient fire;
I knew at once the secret heart
of soft betrayal; the machinery
at work hidden behind acts
forged centuries before, the knife 
of sacrifice cut a clean path
unbroken across thousands of years
and still carved the purpose
of those marked by its driving blade
born and living in this very day.

Joined in the blade's signature,
iron tongue ignited nameless hungers
forced to reckon with the dust
of age-old memories, caliginous
in a vista of stars, long
lost from the count of history.
No map, but the footfall
of firm pressed earth
may guide me, and the forms
of cave-born shadow cast by
my rising inward fire.

Interned by approaching night,
kiss of cold earth, searching,
the myth of ancient rites
unwound stark and clear as I traced
the cypher of untamed dreaming
acts beyond recorded time;
the smear of ochre on bone,
the iron blade summoning the god.
Who may break the spell?
Who may first unbind the curse,
the glamour entrenched in rock?

Men have forgotten to read the grain;
the tainted bother of a froward
kiss sucked its tender betrayal,
and from those lips hastily profess
service to distract the truth
from ever falling on willing
ears cocked to the nocturnal wind.
Who, like the owl stirred at night,
may see the trick unmasked,
and utter its shrill arcane note
to echo through footfalls of time?

                           Abandoned


An Edenic place, cupped by ancient wind
curving cavern and mountainside,
its once inhabitants outlined in memory,
ghosted silhouette by fire glow;
burnished in coal-lit scenes, exiled 
to a vanished era, weighted by the burden
of too many dreams to hold,
spilt as gold dust in reckless streams
that still murmur through ravines.

What tales were woven under the broken
chimney, what reminisces by the rusted grate?
If I pause and listen in the mossy ground
where lie the foundations of a tumbled
bushman's hut, I might catch the echo
of voices locked in brick and smoked stone,
and seeking hope, give them tongue.
The night is parchment; inscribed reveries
scratch softly as the rush of an owls' wing.


                 The Taniwha


The wind in the eye of the crescent moon
harbours a secret as old as hills;
through gulleys and abandoned shafts
soughs her flute-like lament. Trees know,
bent across inky Stygian ravines
where voices from long ago thunder
in wet rock, and echo up eerie chasms
needled to the moonlit skyline;
black spiny ridges etch deep night
to reveal where the Dragon lies.

Her sinuous back formed the Ranges,
her body contoured the land; scales of gold
trapped in deep earth, forged in volcanic fire.
Where she writhed, soil merged with skin,
mixing dross with precious elements;
her flesh was panned by miners' hands,
her scales elusive as clouded stars, glimmered
before the lustful eyes of men, to trick
them with dreaming fugitive gifts,
promises unkept like faithless love.



Poetry background: All the poems featured here are poems on the themes of descent, the ancient world, gold mining and ghosts from the past, all inspired by my exploration of an abandoned gold mining town Waiorongomai – which grew into the place that is now home, Te Aroha. Many of the miners’ cottages and villas were transported by bullock cart to Te Aroha. The gold is still there, in the mountains which form part of the Kaimai Ranges. The jagged peaks are collectively named the Dragon’s Spine, and I think a Taniwha actually dwells in the laced gold veins and underground fortresses of the hills. The Taniwha is analogous to the Welsh dragon and is part of the mythos of New Zealand.

Twitter: @destinyangel25
Quick bio: Elizabeth Barton is an artist and poet living in New Zealand, close to nature and free to create. Her art is in private and public collections world wide.


Tanka/Haiku style poetry showcase from Samuel Stathman

brown and black wooden guitar and black leather bag

photo from Unsplash (Europeana)

1.

cartographer’s bone
picked with the equestrian
stampeding ensued
bicoastal defamation
rewrite historical maps

2.

in dull recesses
find the neon imago
mother’s milk to drink
reawaken unified
not god but cultured creature

3.

small wind instruments
tickling the widow’s ear
heady blandishments

4.

sky’s furrowed tendrils
lightening revives the dragon
exhumes vile bones
goliaths of an old tribe
discarded relics

5.

black air raising hairs
prickling the needle neck
red limbless ocean
eels traversing coastlines
Persephone on lookout

6.

rending of the sea
ghosts preying on destruction
aligned with their posts
islanders abandoning ships
swashbuckler’s bad omen

7.

grandiose ghazal
sultry arabian night
fiddler’s heaven
dripping wax overexcites
opium cloud dynasty

8.

meditative snowfall
unconscionable tension
cathartic release
noon hour crowds dissipating
solace behind coloured glass

9.

thrush’s old singsong
head north before nerves kick in
10.

plows in the distance
prizeworthy lineation
stones heaving in the mud

11.

galvanized breezeway
intimate pyrotechnics
bubbles among stars

12.

nightmarish dungeon
somnambulist skeletons
mourn finality
last rites for fallen angels
black flower necropolis

13.

ashram for your thoughts
yellow moths grow from tall grass
mood can be anchor
draw an ocean with a glance
smell the brine off flying fish 

14.

winged ritual
birds scaling belltowers
wind breaking current
gleam of passing vehicles
splitting the time barrier

15.

vermillion sluice
zombie rats lining spillways
deadbolted prey
eyeless momento mori
hail the bony chimera

16.

memorial park
widows placing spring flowers
dewy bloodshot eyes
groundskeeper whistling tunes
keys jangling on their ring


Bio: Samuel Strathman is a poet, author, visual artist, and educator.  He was also the editor-in-chief of Floodlight Editions.  Some of his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Cobra Milk, I-70 Review, Prole, and other magazines and journals.  His debut poetry collection, "Omnishambles" is forthcoming with Ice Floe Press (2022).


A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Samuel Strathman

Poetry by Samuel Strathman from Fevers of the Mind Anthologies

2 poems by Samantha Terrell : Embodying Imagery & No Dogs Allowed at the Poker Table Anymore

Giving Your Cards Away | Dogs playing poker, Dog paintings, Dog art

Embodying Imagery

Don Quixote, your imagination is my muse.
I wish to court her,
As you court your Dulcinea,
To draw insight
From the wind
That turns our mental turbines,

Refusing to be intimidated
By arrogant
Giants who would
Readily defeat us,
Or naïve villagers
Who don’t see us

As we truly are.
Your Sancho Panza befriends me – a follower,
Turned leader; Leader, turned follower –
A companion on this
Journey of
Endless endings.

No Dogs Allowed At the Poker Table Anymore

We’re mostly all dogs,
Trying to operate as a pack,
Pissing on things we want to claim, but
Ultimately knowing
The earth was never ours. And,
New science says what we of faith
Already instinctively knew:
There’s so much
We don’t know.
But we have long known some
Ways to operate in this place;
To teach our children not to litter,
Wear a coat when it’s cold,
Turn off the water while
You brush your teeth,
Always tell the truth,
Share the hiking path with others.
But now the hiking paths and parks
Aren’t even ours to share.
The sacred places and spaces
We’ve called home are
Robbed from us by cheaters
At the national poker table.
Casino Pit Bosses are paid off,
And players suspecting foul play,
Reluctant to speak up,
Have rolled over, belly-up dogs.


https://pottersgrovepress.com/product/vision-and-other-things-we-hide-from/

these poems are from Samantha's series "Unpopular Culture" 

Sunday Interview with Poet Samantha Terrell

2 Poems by Samantha Terrell : Carpe Diem & Standards

2 Poems by Samantha Terrell : “Unfurled Living” “Off and Away”

2 poems by Linda M. Crate : Once We Were Sisters & All You Gave Me Was Rage

two person walking on ground

photo by Andrea Tummons (Unsplash)

once we were sisters

i remember
when you said
i was your favorite,
now you're no 
longer in my life;
i remember sitting in your
car my hair dancing 
wild in the wind and our laughter
mingling together with sunsets and the stars—
i have always wondered if you think
of me,
because once we were sisters
now we're just ghosts;
i don't understand why we bury the 
living
when we're both still alive—
some people are so okay with letting me go,
but i am never okay with losing people;
always makes me feel as if i have failed
sometimes they say people
aren't forever
but i wonder if they ever tried to hold onto
friendships and love instead of their egos—
some people may be toxic,
but some people are just learning how
to function through their pain;
and in your absence i find that i trust no one
who promises they'll always be there.

all you gave me was rage

you invalidated
my concerns, my 
worries, and my trauma;
but now you're confused
as to why we don't
often speak?
you can read my journal,
and instead of getting some
self-reflection you decided
to punish me for my feelings;
and take things away from me
that gave me joy—
you refused to let me lock my door
when i was angry so i could cool 
down because it was your house,
and you used to yell and belittle me
until i couldn't hold in the tears any longer;
you were never sorry for hurting me
just sorry for the tears that spilled forth
out of me—
never took the time to get to know me
only judged me,
i still get nightmares of you 
as a grown adult because the trauma
runs deep;
i didn't have depression because i stayed inside
a lot—
i had depression because all i wanted was
to be a good daughter,
and you wouldn't even acknowledge me;
you used your authority as a weapon in order 
to demand respect you never gave then got angry
when i refused to cave—
all i needed was love, all you gave me was rage


Poetry Feature for Linda M. Crate from the Anthologies

New poems from Linda M. Crate “all i wanted is to be loved” “i’ve outrgrown you” and more

5 poems by Linda M. Crate

Several new poems by Linda M Crate

A Poetry Showcase for Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon

Yellow Crocus Flower Opening and Wilting in Time Lapse on a Black  Background by Sagrata
Wild Cleansing

I lie in warm places on prickled turf,
stare up into cyan skies, drift and gather wool.
I swim in cool streams, bob in currents, 
surf downstream. I discover waterfalls,
take fresh showers, bathe in ponds 

and rinse smeared grease 
from my mind’s grimed pane. 

By the River Tyne

Mist drizzles low light grey.
Her cable-stitched, black beanie
absorbs damp from the cold air,
and from her curly, silvered hair.

She’s walked five miles, briskly –

intent on keeping warm. Her gloved hands
touch rough-barked trunks of bare trees.
Her eyes follow waterfowl and other creatures.
Her feet take her familiar path without question. 

She rambles each day, with few surprises
and great pleasure, wandering in all weathers. 
Her trips keep hope alive, in Covid times:
help her lose herself, mentally meandering.

Splash! Splash! Splash! 

Startled she swivels, boots grating on gravel.
A swimmer, today … surely no one would.
She stares, a dark mound rises, disappears.
Is this someone on the edge, who’s had enough...

She holds her breath, hears asthmatic wheezing: sees
another rush of spray, another brash and reckless Splash!
A honk, a prima-donna roll, a reel around in circles.

Then all is still. She bends her head. Blessed.

A cyclist passes on the dual track, Guess what, 
she shouts at his back, I’ve seen a seal, today. 
He nods, and rides away to somewhere else.

                  Longings

          Your face shines through glass,
            dazzles my eyes. Still waiting
                for lockdown to end.
                          *
              Time difference synced:
      spare words pulse love’s overflow.
            Transatlantic voices crack.
                       *
              Birthday party plans.
     Mama, will Granny come round?
      Mama, is she cross with me?
                    *
     Your brave doorstep smiles:
 your stoic words say you’re fine,
    your lips tremble otherwise.
                 *
          Music makes her cry.
   Memories of hugs and smiles –
      ghosts echo absent comfort.
               *
       Long allotment days 
   return with nesting swallows.
Gardeners drink distanced toasts.


[Katauta]

Ancient Sisters

Your pearl-cast eyes look outwards 
into dark glass, no-one looks back.
Your flared skirts fray, stray threads 
spool away. Your thin-soled shoes,
tread on snowy pavements, seep ice
into your veins. Your tor’shell comb
claws and scrapes your hairless scalp

lined with raised scars from falls. 
Your hand trembles, finds mine. 
You kindle my love, find my warmth. 
Your mind regains my lost focus 
in the long-shared space between us.


Yellow Crocus

Last March a yellow crocus caught my eye,
and balmy winds sprung dreams of summer days.
I didn’t snap its beauty on my phone,
I believed better blooms would follow.
By Easter, old tiles had blown off my roof,
grim clouds smudged sun’s rays clean out of my mind.

I thought I’d use lockdown to clear my mind,
create new furnishings soft on the eye.
On grey days, water found holes in my roof
and my intentions proved hard to follow.
Yellow crocus yearnings mocked many days,
I wished I had an image on my phone

I wasted time, doom-scrolling on my phone,
until despondency silted my mind.
Concentration fled, no lead to follow,
distracted by whatever snatched my eye.
Yellow crocus’s absence grimed my days
and dust settled, blown through my hole-strewn roof.

Nightly, I stargazed – used gaps in my roof
to capture yellow flowerings on my phone.
Astral blossoms, crocus ghosts, softened days.
Gentled, I reassembled my sad mind –
started to notice, wipe tears from my eyes,
reached out, touched, saw loving kindness follow

Our old maps are now useless to follow,
I must hone new skills, learn to mend my roof.
Resilience requires a steady eye,
I’ll record my progressions on my phone
and limit news-scrolling that wounds my mind. 
Yellow crocus’s inspire hope these days.

Fierce times have coursed through this last year’s long days,
now another spring will burst and follow.
Yellow crocus’s grow, light up my mind.
Soon I’ll mix with friends beneath my good roof,
we’ll leave Zoom behind, arrange dates by phone,
value fine treats nature gifts to our eyes.

Flowering days with a watertight roof,
support hope to follow. Pics on my phone,
nudge my mind, but never replace my eyes.



Bio: Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon [MA Creative Writing, Newcastle, UK, 2017]
Ceinwen lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and writes short stories and poetry. She has been widely published in web magazines and in print anthologies and is a Pushcart and Forward Prize nominee. She is developing practice as a participatory arts facilitator and believes everyone’s voice counts.
@CeinwenHaydon