Poetry based on Photography Challenge from Ankh Spice pt 2

(c) Ankh Spice

can you describe this beautiful photo taken by (c)Ankh Spice better than Ankh?

“a thousand miles of grey wind-calved mountains on a veil-world, material for a sorcerer’s armour, fallen bits of storm-sky, shoals of glass sharks” -Ankh Spice

” a seascape – choppy, restless pewter sea in endless unbroken waterpeaks. Long dark hills brood sleeping-dragonry alon gthe horizon, a split of orange dawn/dusk firing down the spine. The rest of the sky is exhaled smoke, beginning to tint around the ember” – Ankh Spice

At journey’s end by staci-lee sherwood

What lies beneath the sea
Hidden from our eyes
Secrets the ocean keeps
Only sharing 
With a few

Do the mermaids sing softly
As  whales swim by
Wrapped in a watery blanket 
Made of ocean tears


Waves crash against rocks
Holding back the tide
When it becomes too fierce
As cool mist 
Calms the night 

As the sun begins to set
Getting ready for its slumber
All the world’s creatures
Begin to settle in 

A mystery awaits
In a far away place
For each to unravel
As we chart our own course
Of self determined destiny

Shall we rush to the land
Or linger in the sea
Time is a precious gift
We unwrap 
With every sunrise

The dawning of a new day
Beckons us to explore
A new era
And new wisdom
As we set our own course

Immersive from Lisa Falshaw


Stand. Still. 
Look out over silken-grey, sea-tumbled bed, hiding
love-depths smoothed and honed
like hand on skin, gentle lapping water,
salt-taste bites granular on lips edged with kisses.

Mountains rise, sky-tipped,
rugged contours flow back to water,
settling to razor-sharp edge,
slices soft-dipped embrace.

Sinking sun hangs low, suspended
over dark-hushed land,
dips gold to treasure of love,
flashes hot sky under foaming clouds,
sets fire to what lies beyond ink shadows,
promises and disappointments
in glowing embers of a dying fire.

Stay here, immerse yourself, my love.


(twitter: @LisaFal)

Water by Bailey Gee

I sit in silence 
Looking at the water
The waves ripple
As they greet me at my feet
Calming
Soothing 
For one moment
My mind is blank
I feel relaxed
Waves 
Are a magical thing
Natures cure

So much depends by Helena McCanney

on gravity.
This thing we cannot see
feel or lick that lurks
every place among
and between each object,
but never shirks its duties,
tugging us towards
each other and bonding us
steadfast to the ground. 

So much depends on gravity
setting the planets
on track around the sun,
our homestar. 
This celestial roulette wheel  
that never loses momentum
keeping the moon in unbroken
perambulation around the Earth.

So much more depends on gravity,
And with the pull of the moon,
the tide lumbers in
and out.


skald by Debbie Strange

this is the way
it comes for you
in the end
a valkyrie sun astride
the mountain's obsidian back
mercury swans and planets
laying claim to the words
of your bioluminescent suffering

(twitter: @debbiestrange)

Upon these waves by Alex Irwin (the ulsterpoet)

Upon these waves
I rest my day,
o'er gilded light
and dwindleday.

And as I dwell
I hear them say,
I wash, I wash,
I wash away

Ampersand by Larissa Reid
(In memoriam from the gannet colony of the Bass Rock, Scotland, 2022)

Gannet banks, copper light infusing wing tips, 
Crisp white arc against a split wide sky 
Stitching elegance from elements. 

Gannet arrows through metal shell of sea 
Folded origami meets slim sleek shoal; 
An ampersand scatter of mackerel. 

Gannet pulls up and out of water’s density,
To soak in laced air, 
The sea oscillates in her wake.

(Twitter: @Ammonites_Stars)

Untitled piece by Sidney Mansueto

A thousand roaring waves roll into 
A void of deep passion with no voice
To be heard and seen, hiding with fear.
Fear drowns the voice, lessening its truth
Making waves in the name of fictional stories
That make the real story lifeless. 
Something as beautiful as an ocean
Is shaking with thunder, a storm to erupt
Yet nothing can stand still,
only can be if it chooses to stand against fear. 


Links:
Poetry based on photography Challenge from Ankh Spice pt. 1 

Poetry from Ankh Spice : Reclaiming the birdboy

Holiday Interlude by Ankh Spice from Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen 

5 Poems by Ankh Spice : That which can be made visible, Hold the river, Feeding the koi, Act like you were never for sale, & Hathor’s gift 

A Quicksilver Trilling by David L O’Nan    : Poetry & Writing style lyrics inspired by Dylan 

Poem by David L O’Nan Writing Suicide Notes in the Bluebird 

Poems by Peach Delphine: Every Cloud Has Life of Its Own & Speaking of Home, Beyond the Wind, Flat





Poetry based on photography Challenge from Ankh Spice pt. 1

can you describe this beautiful photo taken by (c)Ankh Spice better than Ankh?

“a thousand miles of grey wind-calved mountains on a veil-world, material for a sorcerer’s armour, fallen bits of storm-sky, shoals of glass sharks” -Ankh Spice

” a seascape – choppy, restless pewter sea in endless unbroken waterpeaks. Long dark hills brood sleeping-dragonry alon gthe horizon, a split of orange dawn/dusk firing down the spine. The rest of the sky is exhaled smoke, beginning to tint around the ember” – Ankh Spice

Waveforms by Lesley Curwen

wavelets / chins tipped  / hold sun’s embrace  
squirrel grey in livid rays/  their ranks of open lips
mouth sweetness/  at the eye of dusk
no swimmers here/  to rip their harlequin silk 
to shreds/  of light

ashore/  sole-prints are shadowed/  by day’s ebbing 
gold/  to be immersed in crosshatched expanse 
of tide/  whose basketwork 
convexities/  suck land’s mauve loom 
below/ a quilt of cumulus

a haiga description from Mo Schoenfeld

light slips, struggling,
night laps at the mountain top,
darker depths settle.

I framed a portrait for an absentee by Sam Hickford

Here is a cranny for you to seize, my love,
among the volcanic strait of smoke-stung cloud..
will you take it, as the wagtail claps
this wreath of Autumn, makes this land its vow?

As each trilled wavelet furnishes a mountain
for a chalk-board dreadnought to a droughtless word,
come. I watch the ocean’s opiate
break mirrors in the champion of its lens

and picture you cradled in these hues
of fire and lazuli and scarlet shards.

Shores of Safe Distance by Robin McNamara

When we divide our words between 
a stanza with image-filled meanings
and one with an abstraction of reality
not easily deciphered/ 
do we need anything more than the
acceptance of our verses read by the judgmental or do we find our oars and paddle out a bit further; into deep waters 
of thoughts, without a compass. 
With only the stars to navigate a way 
to your account of my words. 

What if I drowned, what if the storms of uncertainty was too much, 
what would 
wash up upon the shores? 
A body of work beautifully polished by the waves or a piece of driftwood? 
Would you tread water to find our existence, or would the stones under your feet compel you to go back and stare at the ocean from 
a distance and say; maybe another time.

That's All Folks by Elizabeth Cusack

The sky is burning—
It’s not exactly news—
It’s been this way since I was born.

There was an egg before akasha,
If you care about language,
And there was the ein sof,
If you care to read that tongue,
And there was an egg before the chicken—
This is very hard to grasp,
It has ruined paradise,
This inability to understand,
The great unknown was once one, 
And all multiplicities someday will blow apart.

A prophet comes along once in a while
And says, this is what it’s all about— all is one,
Call it love or whatever makes you smile,
But the fact is we are killing every one,
And as we come and go,
And as we kill our mother,
And read our revelations,
The steel-grey cable under the sea
Is recording every absurdity,
And as we remember the essential dead poets—
Remember what, exactly?
That everybody who ever lived is now here!

James Joyce got it in the Wake,
And they mocked him
As they do every damned prophet—
All the condemned are on this ride
As we read up on Aleister Crowley,
As we are on this burning earth,
As we read revelations from the dead
And martyred who died for clarity—
And don’t forget Stalin, Mao, and old Paul—
And as we drink the soma and submit when we are called,
We remember the ones who saved our lives—

Thank you to the poets, that we have a mind at all!
That is the final thing they will try to take from us all.

STRUGGLING by Spriha Kant

Kaleidoscopic dreams 
float like amorphous clouds
and the hopes shine like the sun
in her psyche.
Stuck amidst
the turbulent eddies
trying to drown her
in the stygian abyss
she keeps the 
waves of her
mind, heart, and actions
synchronously tranquil
for she is as vulnerable as a fire in the water
who can’t dare to rebel against her inner voice
ordering her to achieve something that will
raise the eyebrows and open the mouth wide
of the pessimistic commentators.



Links to some work of a few of the poets: 

A Poetry Showcase from Robin McNamara

2 poems by Spriha Kant from Hard Rain Poetry Forever Dylan Anthology

Dylan Poetry Showcase from Elizabeth Cusack

A Quicksilver Trilling by David L O’Nan : Poetry & Writing style lyrics inspired by Dylan

5 Poems by Ankh Spice : That which can be made visible, Hold the river, Feeding the koi, Act like you were never for sale, & Hathor’s gift

http://www.irisi-magazine.org/healing/healing-haikus-and-senryus-by-maureen-schoenfeld

https://inksweatandtears.co.uk/sam-hickford/

5 Poems by Ankh Spice : That which can be made visible, Hold the river, Feeding the koi, Act like you were never for sale, & Hathor’s gift

*From the Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020*

All of the poems that follow first appeared in their original, unedited forms on the WombwellRainbow blog. Thank you to Paul Brookes for curating with such care, and the artists (Mary Frances Ness, James Knight, and Sue Harpham) who provided images for the month-long ekphrastic challenge which inspired them

That which can be made visible *

Sun’s first sleep-breath
sweets the dropped shoulder

of Te Puia o Whakaari, her bones
in early mistlight all grace

and delicate pickings, gulled
clavicles of a hard dancer, stilled

Coiled tension is resting. It is hard
to recognise a haunting

in the rose-gilt of a sunrise. Do you know
her name, when you recognised it

did you forget to exhale? Release
your living now to cloud

the pane we do not see – deep
scratches creep across this vision.

The guardians are always here to remind you –
this light, it may change any moment.

*(In memory of those lost in the eruption of Whakaari on 9 December 2019. One translation
of the te reo Māori name of this volcano forms the title of this poem)

Hold the river

You told me you haven’t been outside in 57 days
and tonight the river is a dropped ribbon, limp and lost
and the sharp stones of the trail as I begin to run
become the sound of something chewing. The faster
we go, the faster we’re eaten. You are moving,
in the lines of your confinement, so slowly now
you’ve become a painting in my head – static –
existing never to be touched. And in the guilty, lucky air
down here we’re starting up the engines
and on my knees in the soft mud I can hear the first plane
for months, idling beyond the water. I’d wish
you were here, but the wind is whipping up cold,
and the coming dark is frantic
with sudden birds, woken startled
from their neat new nests along the runway.

Feeding the koi

You save the crusts from the good brown loaf,
not truly stale, but tired. On your early walk

through the city gardens, there is a patient round mirror
to crumble them into, and in it an unfamiliar creature,

folded and loose in his aspect. He watches you from the water.
You have never met his eyes, although you sense they are kind.

This morning, autumn has nodded last orders at the trees
and the ember of the squalling sun catches

a plume at his throat, and his blur blushes bright — young
with reborn flame. In the dry world the wind arrives

to spread the blaze outwards in ripples
from the man standing, the man lying, with his hands full

of burning bread, and when the fish surface
their mouths make round holes in his body.

In one tiny circle after another the fire
goes out. Cool water — O O O —

welling dark and smooth
from the gut. It was always the truth.

What feeds on us that steals our fire.
What we feed to remember what we are.

Act like you were never for sale

On those days we were flutter and varnish. Time blown
on the tradewinds — toys for the updraft, downdraft, too hard

and brittle-bright for any landing but the spurt and gasp
of applause. And on those days we painted the unspeakable

feelings, the ones that never made it
into the script, on hot ripe faces with palmed-

palm-sugar and unguent-of-anthers, and on those days
those same faces slipslid their gaudied eyes and touched their cheeks

together intimately, brief and baked electric with proper unsaids, and on and on
arced those spat-out days when the electric that moved us

moved us wet with big colour in that little pond of footlights
all thrashing pick me from the swirl of young eels, him so slender, her good

bright needle-teeth, and on those days company meant
only that we played together well, that even the most badly bitten didn’t drop

a word or miss a step, or when they did the faces they’d loved-by-painting bled
laughter tainted kindly, and not yet like they smelled a life dripping away

into the water or as if they’d finally bumped against the glass, seen the strings
of our dangling tags, and some of that last part

is a lie. But who doesn’t want to lie just as pretty
as something made to end up in a prettier box, for now

sticky with the ghosts of fertile anthers, and so we bite
into recall again and again, this cake now invisible on the pink plastic

saucer so sweet, so sweet and fallen to bits
in the grass. And these days we know the magic

poured out of that flimsy doll’s teapot’s more real
than you’ve been in your life. Don’t ever act

like it didn’t — like it doesn’t —
make you sick.

Hathor’s gift

Last night you called me from the bottom of a well
and I pictured the signal between us as a rope ladder
woven from a bunch of old strings attached. A bit frayed,
this connection, and this wry analogy, but both holding together
just enough for you to see the ladder a little bit more clearly
than you were seeing the rope. And I don’t care if we’ve not spoken
since before the world cracked its lid, I’m just grateful
I still look like some kind of stick when the alligators
find the ass. Often it’s hard to respect the tree in someone who’s fallen
in an indifferent swamp, over and over, they think
that makes you soft wood. But it was you who told me Hathor
kicked out the crocodile god even though she was
at least partly a cow. I bet they underestimated just how fierce
a prey animal waxes when her herd is in the dark
and feeling the closing teeth. I bet they underestimated her
even after she teamed up with the sun itself
and gored the darkness threatening her loved ones on the tips
of her kind, soft horns. Stabbed it until it was striped
with secondhand light, then drowned it
in her milk of most inhuman kindness.

Ankh Spice is a queer-identified, sea-obsessed poet from Aotearoa (New Zealand). Almost 100 of his
poems have been published internationally, online and in printed anthologies, over the last 18
months. He’s been incredibly grateful and a bit astounded to have four poems nominated for the
Pushcart Prize, and two for Best of the Net. His poem ‘New Cloth’ was selected as a winner of the
World View 2020 competition run by the Poetry Archive, and he’s really delighted that the video
recording of him reading this work now appears in the archive in perpetuity, along with readings
from other winners from all over the globe. He’s also very proud that audio recordings of his work
are held in the first wave of Iambapoet, an audio archive of poets reading their own work, created
and curated by Mark Antony Owen.
It’s been a very busy year — Ankh accepted roles as a Poetry Contributing Editor for Barren
Magazine, and as co-editor at Ice Floe Press. He was also a guest reader/editor on EIC Matthew M.C.
Smith’s team for Black Bough Poetry’s Amazon best-seller, ‘Deep Time’ — two volumes of poetry
from hundreds of poets inspired by Robert Macfarlane’s ‘Underland’, and was part of the early
editing team for ‘Black Dogs, Black Tales’, a horror anthology produced in Aotearoa by EIC T Wood,
to raise money for a local mental health charity. He’s also found time to edit innumerable stories for
popular dark-fantasy author C.M. Scandreth (aka his incredibly talented author spouse, Caitlin Spice)
for the NoSleep Podcast, and is grateful to have appeared (in virtual guise) as headline poet at two
sold-out sessions of Cheltenham Poetry Festival.
At the time of writing this, Ankh is also working on several collections of his own poems. One of
these is a collection of his shorter ekphrastic and vividly imagistic work and photography — Ankh
calls these ‘gift poems’ as most of them are uploaded to social media rather than being held for
traditional publication — that’s been picked up by a small indie press as a two-volume deal for print.
Further details will be released in early 2021. He’s also working on a very short volume of poems for
Hedgehog Press’s ‘Stickleback’ series. His larger collection, which was picked up by an independent
press earlier in 2020, but which he withdrew when behaviour damaging to the poetry community by
person/s working for that press was uncovered, is being reworked for re-submission elsewhere. He
very much hopes that 2021 will be the year for this book to make its way into the world.
Ankh’s poetry explores a wide range of themes close to his heart – environmental/climate change,
mental health, identity, queerness, body politics, mythology, natural science, spirituality, ‘the
persistent briefness of being human’, the landscape and environs of Aotearoa and of course, the
ocean. His poetic lens, which often employs strong derealisation and very flexible language that
purposely opens up multiple interpretations, has been described as oracular, reverent, and
visionary, and his poetry has been most often compared to G.M Hopkins and Dylan Thomas. Ankh’s
favourite recent compliment about his work is that it feels like walking a tightrope over the abyss
between two worlds — being forced to look down into the dark but with an awareness that balance
is possible, and that there’s a new place on the other side, beckoning us on. Ankh’s favourite recent
compliment about himself is that he’s a walking Mary Ruefle poem. (With great thanks to Sarah-Jane
Crowson and Julia Beach).
If he’s not out running the coast of Te Whanganui-a-Tara sporting alarming neon and sparkly cat
ears, you’ll find him and his work at:
Twitter: @SeaGoatScreamsPoetry
Facebook: @AnkhSpiceSeaGoatScreamsPoetry
Linktree: https://linktr.ee/SeaGoatScreamsPoetry
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-448322296
Iambapoet: https://www.iambapoet.com/ankh-spice
Poetry Archive: https://poetryarchive.org/poem/wordview-2020-new-cloth/

Feature photo by Ankh Spice

Holiday Interlude by Ankh Spice from Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen