Saturday, March 26, 2016

Poetry about Folklore

BY francine sterle

The first time
      I went to the tree
             was to knock on wood.

No one answered.
      The second time I knocked, 
             the tree, wild in the wind,

leaned toward me.
      No bad luck arrived.
             I went back and knocked again

to tell the tree
       my good fortune
              was not forgotten.

Chiseling a nest hole
       in dead wood,
              a woodpecker drills a downed log.

The rapid blows of its beak
      hammer me awake
             each night for a week.

Beneath the bark
       nymphs live
              like hidden charms

people leave
        in drawers or cupboards
               for protection.

I believe in tree spirits
       who embed their souls
              in this wood.

They are not immortal

but their lives, 
       says Hesiod,
               are ten times

that of the phoenix,
       who outlives nine
              ravens, who outlive

three glorious stags,
       who outlive four
              crows, who outlive

nine generations of aged men.

Beyond the shelter-
       belts of farmsteads,
               found deep

in poplar woods
       and birch thickets,
             a flicker assaults a tree

as nymphs
       retreat into the tunneled
              ruts of the trunk.

The bird chips away
       without distraction.
              Its showy

red patch,
       a splash of blood,
                catches my eye.

       wing buds
                of an immature insect

are like the rising
       nipples of a
               young girl.

The temptation
      to slide a finger
             over the small mounds...

Fly away!

The nymphs are free,
       changed forever
               as they brush

the pond's scalloped edge.
      What part of me they take away
            will settle some day.

Deep in dying wood.
         I will be there
               when you knock.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: The Enchanted Nymph by Misha Levitzki

The Mermaids
BY marianne boruch

The spell is a mouth’s
perilous-o as they dark circle the boats in
their most resplendent pliable armor.

The concept fish aligning with girl
or love with death
to bring down men at sea, temptation

confused into offering,
the mismatch of like plus unlike
really likes, straight to rock bottom.

No equation has ever been this badass.
It’s the men who will enter the spell
so far into exhaustion as weather, as waves,

the tide pulling toward if, letting go then
over the whale road in the company of
the dolphin, the only other animal, I’m told,

who can do it solely for pleasure. It.
You know what I mean. The lower half
aglitter, the top half brainy as beautiful

is sometimes, murderous lovelies, their plotting
and resolve and why not
get these guys good, the lechers.

To see at all in the whirling, to hear
what anyone might
in wind roar and faint whistle

don’t worry about girls shrewd
as whimsy, legend-tough
to the core. Don’t. But it’s

their spell too, isn’t it? Locked there.
Aligned with singing, dazzle
razor-blackened green. Not that they

miss what human is like or know any end
to waters half born to, from where
they look up.

Men in boats, so sick of the journey.
Men gone stupid with blue,
with vast, with gazing over and away

the whole time until same to same-old to
now they’re mean. After that, small.
Out there, the expanse. In here,

the expanse. The men look down. Aching
lure that hides its hook steely sweet

to o my god, little fool’s breath
triumphant, all the way under and am I
not deserving?

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: The Mermaid by Alexander Zemlinsky

Mal Agueros

BY nick carbo

If you come to Mojacar
and peel open an orange full of worms,
count how many there are because
those are the days it will take for your body
to decompose after you are buried.

If you come to Mojacar
and find a small green snake with its back
broken, don't step on it or you'll cause
an earthquake that will catch up to you
while you sleep in a continent far, far away.

If you come to Mojacar
and two brown long-legged spiders crawl
on your face and shoulders, keep a sharp eye
out for two individuals, a mother-son, or
sister-sister who will try to take your money.

If you come to Mojacar
and see a scorpion scurry by your feet,
note the direction it ran to, north, south,
east, or west. You must avoid going there
or risk the sting of losing a loved one.

If you come to Mojacar
and a cock crows ten times at three
in the morning, lock your door and all
the wooden windows because nightmares in silver
dresses will arrive to slip into your bed. 

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Musica callada by Federico Mompou

Fabergé's Egg
BY elizabeth spires

Switzerland, 1920
Dear Friend, “Called away” from my country,   
I square the egg and put it in a letter   
that all may read, gilding each word a little   
so that touched, it yields to a secret   
stirring, a small gold bird on a spring   
suddenly appearing to sing a small song   
of regret, elation, that overspills all private   
bounds, although you ask, as I do, what now   
do we sing to, sing for? Before the Great War,
I made a diamond-studded coach three inches high   
with rock crystal windows and platinum wheels
to ceremoniously convey a speechless egg to Court.   
All for a bored Czarina! My version of history   
fantastic and revolutionary as I reduced the scale   
to the hand-held dimensions of a fairy tale,   
hiding tiny Imperial portraits and cameos   
in eggs of pearl and bone. Little bonbons, caskets!   
The old riddle of the chicken and the egg   
is answered thus: in the Belle Epoque   
of the imagination, the egg came first, containing,
as it does, both history and uncertainty, my excesses   
inducing unrest among those too hungry to see   
the bitter joke of an egg one cannot eat.   
Oblique oddity, an egg is the most beautiful of all   
beautiful forms, a box without corners   
in which anything can be contained, anything   
except Time, that old jeweler who laughed   
when he set me ticking. Here, among the clocks   
and watches of a country precisely ordered   
and dying, I am not sorry, I do not apologize.
Three times I kiss you in memory
of that first Easter, that first white rising,
and send this message as if it could save you:   
Even the present is dead. We must live now   
in the future. Yours, Fabergé.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: (not available)

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