Sunday, May 1, 2016

My 2016 GloPoWriMo Favourites

Harris' Sparrow, March 24, 2016
Photo Credit: gurdonark via Compfight cc

Going Home

We conspired to stay here forever,
but the house crumbled around us.
The house is gone from the maps.
The river rose and washed it away.
We found ourselves, stranded,
at the top of the hill,
A newborn sea raging beneath us.

They said in the papers
the sparrows were coming back.
They built a home for the sparrows
high up in the oak tree.
Now we have to wait.
We have nightingales and flamebirds,
but no sparrows yet.
Some people don’t believe in sparrows.
They say those are just stories
told to children at bedtime.

I am going home.
My decision is final.
I will find my home
exactly as I left it.
Not a brick will be missing.
My home, as I wrote it down.
My palace, as I painted it.

GloPoWriMo Day 16

The Old Witch’s Mare

I am the mother of dragonhorses.
My children can fly into the clouds and over the sky.
No man can keep me.
I have flown with eagles and run with wolves.
So you fell asleep and lost me?
You knew that would happen.
Look under water, maybe I have grown gills.
Maybe I am hiding with foxes or sleeping with bears.
Maybe those are my eyes lurking in the dark.
You have found me twice already, but
you can’t keep running after me forever.
What kind of life would that be?
Sooner or later you will lose me again
and that will be your head on the stake.

I am proud to say that I was the featured poet for Day 21  on the NaPoWriMo website with The Old Witch's Mare. This poem was inspired by Gold Apple and Nine Peacocks.

GloPoWriMo Day 21

Unhelpful Advice

How to Build a Butterfly House

I hate to be the one to tell you:
don’t live in houses.

How to Dehead an Iris

Before you dehead an iris,
give it a fair trial.
Everyone deserves one.

How to Create a Dream Garden

To create a garden of your dreams,
You must learn to dream
in your garden.

How to Be a Domestic Goddess

You either are,
or you aren’t.
Nothing I tell you will turn you into one.

GloPoWriMo Day 19

Saturday, April 30, 2016

GloPoWriMo Day 30

The Start and Finish Line of the "Inishowen 100" Scenic Drive

It is the last day of GloPoWriMo. Our challenge today was to translate a poem. This is the first time I have tried my hand at poetry translation and I have chosen Critique of the Metaphor by my favourite Serbian poet, Branko Miljkovic. But before that I wanted to write a poem of my own on this last day of our poetry challenge. It is a found poem which has been patched together from various translations of Serbian poetry I found online. The sources will be listed underneath.

Public Domain,

Mining for Silver

This morning I have forgotten a song.
The song I kept hearing through my dream all night,
Through the midnight air and densely woven trees.
In Maydan where they mine the purest silver
dream is an ancient and forgotten truth
that no one can verify anymore.
I seek mercy
for the simple and guileless,
Oh, my sunny ancestry, that sunken blood.
The little box which contains the world,
She has no one but the Sun and me.
This is indeed the greatest love poem,
yet there is not a word about love.
Nothing is lost in fire
it has only been interpreted.

Here are my sources: Vladislav Petkovic Dis, "She Sleeps Perhaps", translated by Rajko Maksimovic Djura Jaksic, "Through the Midnight Air", translator unknown, "Musicic Stephan" (Serbian Epic Poem), translated by John Matthias and Vladeta Vuckovic Branko Miljkovic, "Everyone Will Write Poetry", translated by Aleksandra Milanovic
Desanka Maksimovic, "For Those who Stumble over the Treshold", translator unknown Branko Miljkovic, "Dis", Translated by Gavrilo Dosen Vasko Popa, "Last News about the Little Box", translated by Charles Simic Branko Miljkovic, "Ode to the Fire", translated by Aleksandra Milanovic Miroslav Antic, "The Greatest Love Poem", translator unknown Vasko Popa, "The Rose Thieves", translated by Anne Pennington Vasko Popa, "No Final", translated by Charles Simic Vasko Popa, "Give Me Back My Rags", translated by Charles Simic

And now, my translation followed by the Serbian original by Branko Miljkovic.


Critique of the Metaphor

Two words touch as soon as they are said
And melt into unknown meaning
Which has nothing to do with either of them
Because there is only one word on the brain
And a poem is only written so
That that word wouldn’t have to be said
That’s how words teach each other
That’s how words invent each other
That’s how words lead each other astray
And a poem is a string of blinded words
But their love is more than obvious
They feed off your complacency
They get more beautiful, the more powerless you are
And when all your energy has drained off when you die
People say: damn, he wrote such great poetry
And no one is suspicious of the word you never said.

Kritika metafore

Dve reči tek da se kažu dodirnu se
I ispare u nepoznato značenje
Koje s njima nikakve veze nema
Jer u glavi postoji jedna jedina reč
A pesma se piše samo zato
Da ta reč ne bi morala da se kaže
Tako reči jedna drugu uče
Tako reči jedna drugu izmišljaju
Tako reči jedna drugu na zlo navode
I pesma je niz oslepljenih reči
Ali je ljubav njihova sasvim očigledna
One žive na račun tvoje komotnosti
Sve su lepše što si nemoćniji
A kad iscrpeš sve svoje snage kad umreš
Ljudi kažu: bogamu kakve je taj pesme pisao
I niko ne sumnja u reč koju nisi rekao.

GloPoWriMo Day 30

Friday, April 29, 2016


Photo Credit: nesson-marshall via Compfight cc


The first feature film I watched was about a girl who couldn't speak. When I went for a walk in the park, I liked to pretend that I was lost. I hated meat. My grandmother never let me talk about dead people. There was an earthquake and that winter we slept with our street clothes on. I tasted mulberries for the first time from a staircase in my aunt’s garden. The janitor was killed in a car crash and his daughter came to stay with us for a while. When they finished the foundations for our holiday house, I went around with a broom and swept the sand away. I was trapped inside the rectangle that was going to be a house. On my first day at school, I sat on fresh paint. Some children went across the railway tracks to smoke cigarettes. Mulberries make your lips turn blue. I was always thirsty because frogs lived inside my stomach.

GloPoWriMo Day 29

Thursday, April 28, 2016

His Name Was Yani

Vourvourou Sithonia Halkidiki
Photo Credit: fourkas via Compfight cc

His Name Was Yani

The music had started playing again.
A girl was spreading an orange beach towel.
New people were here now.
The ambulance came and took him away.
His name was Yani.
The woman called his name one more time.
The music stopped.
The beach boy put his head in his hands.
“Why do they keep trying. He is long gone.”
His name was Yani.
The woman kept calling his name.
The beach boy gave him CPR.
They used a beach bed as a stretcher.
His name was Yani.
The woman kept calling his name.
He had drowned, I saw his face.
“What have you done to me?” said his face.
His name was Yani.
A woman was calling somebody’s name.
We went for our first swim that day.
The sand was pink, the sea without a ripple.
 “This is the closest we will ever get to paradise.”

GloPoWriMo Day 28 - our prompt today was to tell a story backwards. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How to Feed the Fire

Photo Credit: Patrick Copley via Compfight cc

How to Feed the Fire

You feed the fire slowly, you never put everything in at once.
You want it to keep yearning, reaching out for more.
You tantalise it with love letters, poetry books, torn photos, and pressed flowers.
Then you add the wood, small items first, starting with that Chinese box you got for your last birthday.
After that you break the furniture, piece by piece – the favourite armchair will go last.
You need to be careful not to choke the fire by throwing in everything at once.
That would put it out, and you will want it to keep raging.

GloPoWriMo Day 27

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Trees

The Trees

They know who I am.
They have been around for a while.
It is all right to be afraid.
It is dark and I am alone.
Everyone would worry at this point.
The silence is complete.
I can’t hear my footsteps on the forest track.
As if I was gone already,
invisible, washed out, merged
with this silence, my body
absorbed, digested, entwined 
with theirs.
We are together now.
We are one.
Being lost becomes the way to be,
staying still the only thing to do.

GloPoWriMo Day 26

Monday, April 25, 2016

Two Poems for Day 25

The Newest Earth on New Year's — Hot Kona Lava Flows
Photo Credit: jurvetson via Compfight cc

Our challenge today was "to write a poem that begins with a line from a another poem (not necessarily the first one), but then goes elsewhere with it." Here are my two attempts (I have linked the two first lines to the pages where the original poems can be found):

The Mountain Is Alive

My ancestors, meanwhile, are eating cabbage. High above them, the mountain is alive. My ancestors scrape the last remains of the soup from the bottom of the pot, then they wash their hands in the river, which has turned red by now. They curl up and fall asleep immediately, so they don't see the bloody sky that has ripened above their heads.

Spiral-Bound Pad

Photo Credit: incurable_hippie via Compfight cc

The Forgotten Song

It was a good one, about a mountain.
I search for the notebook I keep by my bed,
but there's nothing inside.
Funny, because I can remember
how I got up in the middle of the night
and wrote it down, word for word.
My notebook is empty, the song is gone.
I remember the chorus,
which now makes no sense.
My bed is warm and I am still drowsy.
I think I’ll grab a few more hours of sleep.

GloPoWriMo Day 25