Daily Archives: April 1, 2019

Three poems by Renwick Berchild

I am not a silent poet


And men are the evilest of beings—
there is no doubt in this.
In southern keelings,
in northern sleeps, hungry lions
Like mewling cats, like baaing sheep, as dying
bodies deflate and hiss, waters inky
with mass casualty, with weeping
boys take their guns and wash them.
So is war. So is violence. No freedom flapping
in a wind. There is no noble purpose when it is happening
there is no greater understanding when the last bombs drop
and all cheer loud.
Men don’t have names. Men don’t have minds.
Not on the plains cragged in murder.
Women don’t have love. Women don’t have truth.
All slaughter flows downstream.
The Guns
Damn your guns. Damn your corporations.
Benefactor—beguile me no more. I curse your silk sheets and feather bed.
How much wider can be craned the maw?…

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Blade, by Nigel Hutchinson

I am not a silent poet

Sharpened steel is a rate of exchange,
a language to the point, a one liner,
blade delivers its simple message,

distils it all, reduces prey
to a single wordless transaction,
as if blood alone is currency,

light on steel flashes a stainless smile,
though it’s not a full-face portrait,
just teeth looking to bite, unthinking eyes

that’ve shrunk their victim
from subject to object,
to obstacle.

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Knife Angel, by Isabel Palmer

I am not a silent poet

After the Knife Angel sculpture by Alfie Bradley, currently on display at Coventry Cathedral

His face is a mask of tragedy, open-air,
Dionysos, eater of raw flesh, the wand
or weapon god, only his mother mortal,
the cult that feeds the dead with blood

or Christ, the dying and returning God
of blood and wine: a face stripped to the bone,
a crucifix of nose, eyes, chiselled cheekbones,
saints’ lips that speak only to ghosts.

Hollow, gargoyle eyes and nostrils, doves’ nests
for squabs, the same word for young birds
and their flesh, his eyebrows, knife-slashes, traced
with a priest’s thumb, how children draw birds.

His veins are needle-sharp, threaded beneath the skin,
shoulders, hatchet blades, his chest a cathedral ruin,
its ribbed canopy, Gothic tracery eviscerated, the spire lunging
upwards, Coventry’s cross of knives, St Michael on the baptistery,

the Devil at his feet, the saw-toothed walls of nave

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Bassano Moon, by Terrence Sykes

I am not a silent poet

bright as that
votive candle
lit after mass
rises above those
war torn mountains
partaking red wine before
dreaming of crepuscolo

mere shadow of a man
paralyzed & nightmares
battling memories
scarring my soul
flashbacks & delusion

traditional shot of grappa
upon grandmother’s
ancient flowering rose
aiming for the roots
pricked my already maimed finger
bleeding upon sacred soil
blood of an unmartyred saint

I often write about WWI/II  probably because I like the Italian poets between the wars – I always try to make it a persona poem and take myself there.  Bassano was the little city at the foot of Monte Grappa where soldiers from all over Italy stopped before marching into those mountains to perish or be maimed for both wars – but fortified the fragile body with Grappa before ascending into Hell. 

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