A Burns’ related theme for this new enterprising poetry site with a group of talented writers. Well worth a read.
>> Burns Night
To launch Scotia Extremis we chose two topical themes: Burns Night, celebrated on the bard’s birthday 25th of January; and the Shetland festival of Up-Helly–Aa, which this year falls on January 26th. This pairing reflects two very different types of festival; on the one hand, a commemoration of the radical social commentary and beguiling love poetry of Robert Burns, seen by many as the epitome of Scots culture; on the other, a Norse-flavoured pagan festival full of drama and fire, so far-removed from Burns’s lowland Scotland as to be almost another country.
To a Burns Night
by Ryan Van Winkle
Some have meat
and some have friends to gather
close some nights, hot
in those cold places so often
between us — my how you whistle & slope
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As many have said before me, this is an obscenity in the modern world.
Photo: Google Images Public Domain
Concrete gray becomes their hair
Sidewalk cracks too much to bear
Melding, blending with their position
No glance their way gives recognition
A man downtrodden, sad, consumed
Has no shelter within this tomb
Others care, some don’t have time
To tend a hand covered in grime
Human beings reduced to this
A land of plenty became an abyss
Once okay and doing fine
One tripping slip they crossed the line
Whole families now are on the streets
Life’s shifting changes kicked their teeth
Now invisible, we don’t care
Concrete gray became their hair
I’m linking this to the 100TPC Event at Into the Bardo/Beguine Again with Jamie Dedes. Come join us!: https://intothebardo.wordpress.com/2015/09/26/100tpc-reader-event-today-link-in-your-poems-art-stories-film-music-videos-for-peace-sustainability-and-social-justice/
DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (1890-1969)
34TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
In office 1953 -1961
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed … “ Dwight D. Eisenhower
Note: I wrote this piece on December 13, 2011 after I learned of the first 100,000 Poets for Change (100TPC). Seemed appropriate to pull it out, dust it off and share it once again since our theme for this year for 100TPC is “poverty.”
The quote above is from Eisenhower’s speech, A Chance for Peace, delivered in 1953 three months after he took office and on the occasion of the death of Joseph Stalin, Premier of the Soviet Union (1941 to 1953). The “just peace” that the world hoped for in 1945 at the end of World War II had…
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Here in the room the breaths come
maybe every ten seconds apart,
snoring sounds from a mouth agape,
now voiceless, beneath eyes mostly closed,
but probably unseeing.
She doesn’t hear the talk in the room.
We think. We hope.
Above the bed, a little plastic bag
of morphine perches like blessed fruit
from a swirly silver branch atop
the six-wheeled tree they’ll roll
out of the room whenever her spirit does.
Here in the room we watch, we wait,
hearing only the sounds of the family,
of the bubbling O2 humidifier,
the beeps of monitors and machines,
the murmurs and shoe-squeaks from staff
in the hallway on the fifth floor
as the hospital awakens this morning.
And punctuating it all come
the snorting gasps of a life dwindling away
every ten–no, fifteen–seconds.
We think. God help her, we hope.
– Joseph Hesch
© 2014, All rights reserved
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Tell me a truth
like a small penny
I can turn over
and over. Teach me
to let it shine,
keep it close.
I will do better
than most. Hold
my truth, never
trade it away.
Please, just spare me
this day a small light,
a far off star
and I will endure.
Give me a story
steady as rain,
soft as snow.
Let me grow
bark like a tree
and I’ll stand, be still,
with the dependable dawn
Copyright © Stephanie Arsoska 2015
Stephanie lives in Scotland and has work published by The Emma Press, Prole, Magma, Ink, Sweat & Tears and Nutshells & Nuggets. She writes a blogs at stephaniearsoska.co.uk.
In her back yard, their yard,
there were a coal bunker, a stack of kindling,
a bird table, two apple trees,
bramble downgarden and a stretch of local grass.
He spent four springs there
while the hedges sopped through sunlight
and the burst of tits and rooks and starlings
renewed the shout of season.
Copyright © Robert Nisbet 2015
Robert Nisbet’s poems have appeared recently in magazines like The Frogmore Papers, The Interpreter’s House, Dream Catcher, The Journal, Prole, Scintilla and (in the USA) in The Camel Saloon, Hobo Camp Review and Main Street Rag.