‘Acts of Survival’ – International Times

Illustration ©Claire Palmer, ‘International Times’

Before the execution date,
each night,
lands I have never seen come to visit
this self-contained universe.
The only place for waiting, for submitting,
the place where god decided
it was the moment to shoot itself.
This captivity has become an act of survival,
for an industrious nation of slaves.
Here, the immediate!
The fear behind the hate sounds louder and louder
in each city where cathedrals
are now for sale
on detergent coupons.

A man is lost at sea, I hear,
total strangers marching East
minutes before the water-ropes bring the closure.

Here and now, my enemy,
the blood inside all my cavities has become
the last supper
for I,
chiselled, strapped, nailed to my crimes,
had confessed: ECCE HOMO!

My nation, my never-never land!

If we have been at war for thousands of years,
still,
barehanded,
catching bullets today,
in these meat-eating times,
it is the pain which, finally, will set us free,
not words.
The silent joy of those who know
how very few will make it through the
death sentence.

The poem can be accessed at International Times

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Winter Months in Chernobyl

Photograph: ©John Stadnicki, MMXVII

 

And under the bridge two dogs

locked in a fight over a dry stone

rolled back into the muddy waters.

 

Somehow a winter settled

in that box of unopened foreign letters.

 

For days on end, I numbered

the marching coffins across the city.

The funerals kept going and going

with free food for the poor.

 

The acid-rain became a silent witness

to my white-thoughts-confinement.

War Correspondence

Photograph: ©John Stadnicki, MMXVII

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A train passed, at a slow speed,
through iced waters.
It could have taken minutes
or maybe days.

The crushing sound of my doubt,
the unnecessary beauty,
push the march backwards.

Blessed be the stones. So many
are thrown at us from above.
A thousand years of anger in one place.

The graveyard is now in bloom.
Bread-flowers are shooting upwards.
Defeated.

My defeated words, stronger than my weapon.

 

(Poem published in ‘Stride’ magazine, available here)

Thank you, Rupert Loydell!

 

 

 

 

‘Seeds of War’ for a Nation of Slaves

 

Photograph: Performance Peter J. King

A moving and chilling reflection, last night at Pembroke College, Oxford University – ‘Seeds of War’ hosted by Peter J. King. An inspiring evening with performances by Adnan al-Sayegh, Jenny Lewis, Peter J. King, Jenyth Worsley, Matthias Dilling, with piano setting by composer Janet Davey.

Photograph: Performance – Jenny Lewis and Adnan al-Sayegh with piano composition – Janet Davey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If we have been at war for thousands of years,

still,

barehanded,

catching bullets

now,

in these meat-eating days,

it is the pain which, finally,

makes us free, not words.

The silent joy of those who know

how very few

will make it through

a death sentence.

 

Photograph: Janet Davey and Peter J. King

 

Thank you for inviting me!

Panis Angelicus

 

Photograph: ©John Stadnicki, ‘Corpus I’ – MMXVII

 

(for Katie McCue)

 

The soldier, asleep by his polished sword,

was somehow surprised.

Such a big storm!

 

The colours, all of them, disappeared.

The city collapsed in a big crevasse.

 

When she cried,

everybody cried.

 

The roads, the windows had to be shut

when she needed silence.

 

The words had to be wrapped in silvery knots

just before

they became people.

 

The stories stopped being written,

the earth stopped,

the war stopped.

And simply because she had

a fear of butterflies.

 

The butterflies were not scared of her.

 

Photograph: ©John Stadnicki, ‘Corpus II’ – MMXVII

Landscape

Photograph ©John Stadnicki

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another midnight storm washes away the cold poetry
born at the top floor.
I balance my whole weight
on long words;
frozen stones on my tongue.

I count the mistakes god has done with me,
just to pass the time.

The violent rain hid a blind dog
inside my very bone.
Here, upstairs, both of us in the same body,
awake and hungry,
listen.

 

©Maria Stadnicka, MMXVII

published in ‘Stride’ magazine, available here

Politics of Engagement / tearsinthefence poetry festival / 15th – 17th September 2017

Just under four weeks left. Politics of Engagement promises to enchant and to challenge you. This year’s Festival weekend will be from Friday, 15th September 2017 to Sunday, 17th September at The White Horse and Village Hall, Stourpaine.

The Festival’s theme is the politics of engagement. We shall be recalling and discussing the impact of Barry MacSweeney and Irina Ratushinskaya, both of whom read twice at our Festivals in the 1990s. At this time of extreme global political upheaval, our Festival aims to explore the lived experience of repression, austerity measures, migration, censorship and radical poetry.

Amongst the confirmed participants, so far, are Melisande Fitzsimons, Clive Gresswell, Sophie Herxheimer, Ric Hool, Norman Jope, Zibahoo Karbassi, Camilla Nelson, Kate Noakes, Luke Roberts, Steve Spence, Maria Stadnicka.

Open Readings featuring Valerie Bridge, Lesley Burt, Stephen Daniels, Richard Foreman, Gerald Killingworth, Peter King, Aidan Semmens, Charles Wilkinson.

For further information and tickets please access the link https://tearsinthefence.com/festival/.

I hope to see you there.

Thank you!