Worms

Rainy Road

Image: © “Rainy Road” by Aelle (CC BY-NC 2.0.)

Author: Katharina Schwarck

“Worms” is a response to Scottish poet Kathleen Jamie’s ecopoetry that I wrote for a class on ecopoetics in Spring 2020. It is mostly inspired by her poem “The Spider” which struck me because it renders its true value to a spider, a generally strongly disliked being. It addresses the spider’s importance in the animal kingdom and humans’ unjust aversion against the arachnid (Jamie, 175). “Worms” follows the same dynamic of calling out wrongful antipathy and disgust. The piece deals with a young girl who, as opposed to her peers, is not repulsed by the worms but rather considers them her friends, more so than her fellow humans. I chose to play with pronouns; I employ several occurrences of “they” and “she”. On one hand, this opposes the young girl and her peers, from whom she feels distant. On the other hand, “they” is used for both worms and humans, eliminating their difference and bringing them onto the same level. The girl picks up the worms and tries to protect them, while the other children cry of disgust. She is angry. They step on the worms for the sole reason of being greater in size. She calls them out. The fifth stanza of the first visual shape is a reference to WB Yeats’ Chambermaid songs, the first one of which compares a human being to a worm

God’s love has hidden him
Out of all harm,
Pleasure has made him
Weak as a worm. (Yeats, 307)

I have reversed the simile in the last line and made mankind itself the vehicle of the trope. Humans do not become as weak as worms: for their contempt, they become as weak as themselves. The sixth stanza alludes to Goethe’s “Heidenröslein”, a metaphor for rejected love. A young boy espies a red rose on a heath and finds her so beautiful as to break her. The rose stings him in return, in vain, because she remains, however, broken (Goethe, 307). I find this image oh so representative of many plant and animal deaths, be it roses or bees or ants. The defence mechanism does not suffice against humans who are much more sizable than their fellow species. Consequently, humans need to take even more precautions to recognise and sustain other beings. I have juxtaposed the worms and the heathrose by making my poem “shud” the flower’s pain, giving the worms strength and protecting them from heathrose’s fate. The second visual worm takes the poem back from Goethe’s time to modern day. The worms still come out in rain, expecting no harm. In this stanza, a car kills the annelids, which echoes with Jamie’s “Frogs” (Jamie, 133). I have inserted internal rhymes in these lines; “flood”, “up”, “guts”. They contain plosive sounds which highlight the violence of the content dealt with in the stanza. This intention of drawing in one’s mind mirrors human blindness towards ecological or ethical issues. They are unmistakable, and yet, humanity often fails to pay attention to them. In the last stanza of the poem, the young girl is grown up. To mark this change, I have changed the preposition preceding the pronoun “as she” into “when she”. She still sees the worms, her old friends, and when her eyes meet their suffering, she still cries out.


Works cited:
– Goethe, Johann W. v. “Heidenröslein”. Goethe’s Schriften: Achter Band, Georg Johann Göschen, 1789, pp.105-106
– Jamie, Kathleen. Selected Poems, Picador, 2018
– Yeats, William B. “The Chambermaid’s First Song”. The Collected Works of W. B. Yeats: Volume I: The Poems, 2nd Edition, Simon and Schuster, 1997, p.307

Star-crossed Flowers

daffodil muse

Image: © ELLE

Author: ELLE

Oh, to be born a daffodil,
An emerging seed of sundust
Waking from a numbing sleep
Reaching, slowly, the promises of the surface
Gently crackling the thin iced reminiscence of a silent winter.

The silky honey-coloured petals
Gracefully introducing the son of Céphise
To the distant sound of foreseen decay
For Narcissus’ reflection can only last for so long
Under the sky of spring.

*

Oh, to grow under the name of a rose,
Cursed symbol of serendipity;
Bound to hear the countless selfish soliloquies
Premises to dissatisfied infatuation.
Forced to see the solitude glowing in eyes that once knew love.

Does dusk know that dawn exists?
For the rose surely is unaware of the adversity of winter
And the daffodil is ignorant of the pain of thorns
And yet, –

Instructions on how to forget me

Author: Mel A. Riverwood

Some people never hear the silence talk.

But to me, it screams, with every tick of the clock,

It says I will die, though I already know,

And tells me someday I won’t feel anymore;

What could that feel like, to not feel?

Do the dead still live?

I know I am young, I should not have such thoughts,

‘Forget, forget,’ they say, ‘forget time and laugh!’

But I feel death, and her hands are so cold;

They freeze all my dreams and everything I long for

And hold in their palms all the fear that I hold.

I wish to see spring and hear birdsong forevermore;

But the taste of the end is ever so near,

So I beg of you, blue and green mother, don’t let me disappear.

How I wish the whole world sang my humble refrain;

I knew not that hope came with such shattering pain.

I would give it all, but my words, just for a little more

Time and to live and live and live and live,

And encore;

Forevermore.

I am selfish and lonely, I am childish and afraid;

I would watch the world fade if it meant that I stayed.

Please, someone tell me, just tell me, where do we go?

Where do we go?

Where do we go?

WHERE DO WE GO?

Where do we go once we feel no more?

What are we then? How do we exist?

Please, someone tell me we have much more than this.

I will always know this fear that steals my thin breath,

But begging time for mercy will not work on death.

So please, remember me, for as long as you can,

But if the world is to forget, then let me fade as I am:

When my ink-stained fingers will be writing no more,

Bury me in a forest and bury me on the shore;

For I cannot die where I cannot hear the sea,

And I cannot live where the blackbirds don’t sing.

But when you inearth me, please keep my hair

And burn it, then scatter it in the air.

So with my body to soil and water, and my locks through fire to wind,

I may finally be everything.

‘What of thy mind?’ you may ask;

‘For her,’ say I, ‘you have no task.

Wake up with the sun and listen to the birds,

Sing with the rivers and read all my words.

Then you will know her, remember her,

And that is all that I long for.’

I still wish I could stay just a little bit longer.

But I feel that my death has started to saunter;

She will take her time, as I will take mine,

As two sides of a coin that will be paid to time.

And when we will meet, I know my fear won’t have faded,

But I’ll kiss my death with all the love I’ll have created.

This is my wish. Farewell, my friend;

I may be years in advance, or this may be the end.

And when you, too, will be stepping in the darkest light,

Come find me “where the dreamers dream and the others go to die.” 1


from the song Bye Bye by Low Roar, which has helped a lot in the writing of this poem.

To A Lost Love

Image: Grimshaw Atkinson, A Moonlit Evening, 1880 ©️ Coleccion Carmen Thyssen

Author: Roxane Kokka

Listen to the dark, fallen leaves as they whisper
In a tremulous chant that I have lost a love
Of which I could not place another soul above.
As in the hollow streets of sorrow I linger,
In the burning ashes of regret I wonder
Of the alternative actions I avoided
And of enigmatic passions I distorted,
Out of fear, out of anguish, out of bitter
Dread of something new. As the thoughts of solitude
Sting my knowledge of that which I could not cherish,
And all my senses, one by one, slowly perish,
I drift in the perpetual silence ensued.

My Grandma’s Garden

Image: ©️ Patrick Didisheim

Author: Leah Didisheim

The Nature in my grandma’s Garden always amazed me
There is this sense of Family
That you find in the grass, and in the flowers
And in the trees and in the hours

You arrive at the Gate
You hear the rocks crack under the wheels
The trees are still there
The walnuts are still left lifeless on the ground

In the summertime, you do not take the main door
You turn around the House
And smile at the pool on your right

You look at the hole that the tree left
He seems to say « I was the King here once »
And you turn again, and walk up the stairs.

Ode to an Oak

The Oak

Image: © Eloïse Wenger

Author: Eloïse Wenger

1.
When the shadows of Evening will descend
The Sky and its colours will fade and turn
Revealing a painting of a new blend
In which the pink and red will start to burn.

2.
Then I will leave my house and close my door.
Passing the gate and the luminous church
I will go to the Forest and explore
the woods of fir, maple, willow and birch.

3.
I will see you waving your leaves at me,
Your trunk rending the Sky and newborn Stars.
“Hello my dearest friend.. Mon cher ami!”
For your vision makes me forget my scars.

4.
You must have been the witness of so much:
The seasons passing, your branches growing
All your memories flow in me at your touch
And your embrace makes me think I am flying

5.
Then I follow the path until I see
The Woods glooming at the top of the Hill,
Lythe Lane stopping in sight of the first tree,
A place where all the people remain still.

6.
There I sit on the Bench[1]. It is written:
“Lest we forget.” Words of a mum. Jenny..
Your son is gone with the flags of Britain.
Where is he now? Here? Or in that country?

7.
There must be the very same Bench out there,
With the words of another mum on it.
The language is difficult to compare,
Not the Loss that they will never admit.

8.
Watching humans condemned to endless grief
I feel my hopes are coming to an end
And at the sight of a first falling leaf
The fear of losing you my dearest friend..


[1] This Bench up Lythe Lane is dedicated to the memory of Richard, the son of Jenny, one of my neighbours, who lost his life in 2010 during his service in the Marines in Afghanistan.

Andrea’s poems

Author: Andrea Karlmann

Open in silence 

When it came to me,
Bit by bit,
It was a piece.
A fragmented piece.

A series of sounds,
Fragrant and raspy.

Just a mutter
At first.

Then a touch
Of motherly warmth.

Walking into a room

A leaf had landed on the windowsill,
So, I tossed it out.
A strange intrusion.
Just a leaf.
No one was to blame.
Just the wind.

Moved 

Enthused, unready for sense,
Or the redolence of
Affection,
Infused with motion,
Passions set the pendulum in swing,
Turns and turns,
Ambrosia’s ash,
Ebbing, bending and broken.

Away anathema.

The Limb of Life

Image: ©️ Frederica Petriglieri & Kiljan Paris

Authors: Frederica Petriglieri & Kiljan Paris

Nothingness was eternal. Without pain or pleasure neither anger nor calm. It was the lack of everything, the erring of lost consciousness of those who weren’t aware of their existence.
Floating in infinity among stardust and lights. Carrying the emptiness of the universe.
All souls were one and one soul was all.

How am I supposed to remember our matterless past?
While I’m floating tenderly in Charon’s boat.
Why does my memory of the universe fade away?
For the first time of my ethereal wonderings
I’m forgetting everything.

The darkness starts to weigh over me.
The Acheron! Am I drowning?
Wasn’t I destined to cross it?
Sudden fears grow in my being.

As I’m sinking deeper in unknown matter
Away for my lost embarkation
The fluid is tickling my lips
An instinctive sensation.

The pressure grows and grows
My entire being is surrendered by warmth
The feeling of weight accentuates
Where am I?
I did not cross the stream where everything ends
So has it just started?

All of a sudden my hands grab a soft rope.
I let them go freely along it
But they’re ending touching a moving wall
Is it possible? In all the darkness around, am I in a defined space?
For all I know now I’m trapped and alone.

My consciousness is trembling
The surrounding moves again and again
The wall is forever dancing
I’m trying everything to reassure myself,
When, out of my touch
Something comes directly through my head.
Wonderful hot air, smelly yet irresistible.
The Acheron smells nice!

-No wait!
I’m not in the river anymore
So where does this come from?
Isn’t hell supposed to be filled by flame and toxic gas
And that all the unliving are suffocating for eternity?
So why does all I breathe taste unrealistically familiar?

All flavors flourish within me.
The more I feel, the more I forget.
Senses of deeper knowledge
Are drifting me away from all that I know.

I start to hear my own symphony.
My heartbeat settle the rhythm
While the pond over me is shaking
I thought the underworld bears two rivers
But my ears hears billions
From the depth of darkness
The songs of their endless streams
It is drifting me back to a sense of unity
For all the rivers are joining in one.

The tune is connecting me to everything
To all that is over me. I can feel it.
So why does my rhythm sound different
From all the rivers symphony?
-Am I not alone?

Far distant sounds make the wall trembling
Soft and insistent
Decided yet subtle
As pretty whining in the darkness
-Maybe it’s not that hard in the underworld
It must be the voices from those who successfully passed away.

But I’m still running in circles.
And my cell is getting smaller.
-Has my judgment arrived yet?
Am I a damned soul trapped in itself
Destined to question for eternity?

-LET ME OUT!!
I push the wall and pull the rope with all strength.
The voices answer me back:
“AHHHHHH”
“AMORE CALMATI”

I’ve no clue of what that means but surprised as I am
All the muscles within me freeze.
“HAHAH, GRAZIE”
Who the hell is talking?

To satisfy my curiosity
And also because it was itching me
I open one eye to glimpse beyond the fence.
Soft lights spread in my small nest.
But enough to see the whole of me
My arms, hands, feet and toes.

From darkness comes shadow.
On top of that I’m hearing voices.
I’m starting to be crazy for sure.
I need to act, to move and get out.

I’m taking again the rope with both hands
My feet are pushing in every corner of my prison
I hear the same voice shouting but now I’m not stopping
Voices become louder and louder.
But I continue to push.
I’m banging my head through the wall.

I’m sure it’s moving and I can pass through.
-That’s it! I found a fissure where the light breaks.
Even if I suddenly doubt about following the light at the end of the tunnel.
I know it’s the only way.

It’s as if the wall wanted me out.
Every now and then the tunnel squeezes me and pushes me forward.
“LET’S GO PUSH”
Well I can’t do better and my head is stuck.
“HAHAHA”

I look up again and the light blinds me.
I’m tired, my body aching everywhere and my muscles start to fail on me
“GO GO COME ON”
As I’m fainting, the ground under me collapses.
My lungs are exploding as I’m trying to breathe.

But it hurts, I’m suffocating
Yet the boundaries around me are gone…

I’m floating amongst the giant hands of the underworld
So I did cross the Styx and Acheron after all!
For I’m selfless, defenseless and vulnerable.
In the arms of two titans who sing lullabies.

I know nothing anymore.

Reasons to Postpone Suicide

Author: D. K.

The smell of grass
The smell of gasoline
The smell of garlic cooking with just a touch of olive oil and herbs 

Tuna sandwiches
The change of seasons in every breath I take
Smoking cigarettes in winter while your whole body freezes in pain and coldness
Smoking cigarettes in the warm and sunny beach after a long swim in the ocean
Smoking cigarettes anytime 

The ocean
Its salty taste, the aggressiveness that gets in your eyes, your nose, your skin 

Rainbows
Trees
Birds, how they walk
It’ll always make me smile
But also dogs, yes
Dogs

Driving in the city, at night
Thunder when in bed
Sex
Radiohead songs
How they understand me
The fact that it could always be worse

My sick father
My dead mom
Movies
Terrence Malick’s existential dread that is present in each of his works

Paris
Oh, and Spain
Yes
Gregorian Chants
Flamenco
The hope that I will once understand the lack of meaning and fulfillment in my existence
Tolstoy and Dostoevsky books
Poetry, any kind, any form but poetry 

Van Gogh, O’Keefe and Hooper paintings
The hope that one day I will taste the lips of that blonde girl on the 9h37 metro 
Mozart’s Requiem In D Minor K.626
Italian girls
The fact that I will end up dying anyway 

It’s too expensive
Too messy
Too lame
Too frightening

I still haven’t brushed my teeth 

Yes
Those are fine reasons
Today?
No, not today
Tomorrow?
Tomorrow is another day
And I, and the morning light, we will change

Spells

Image: ©️ Andres Stadelmann

Author: Andres Stadelmann

Spells
Toppled by storms
And strands
Born to brush a little with your feet
Sometimes with your hands
But never with your eyes

Sheets, smells
You kick with your feet
And you reach for those hands
But the touch is too far to keep away from those 


Those voices I hear
They can breathe
And sometimes think
And often drift
Into that land of dreams

But when my hands rejoin
To something offscreen
And try and stay awake
By that touch of fatigue
And I try and stay awake
Thinking of those brave, brave men
And the spikes in the bush
And the fire of that dream
Thinking clean
Thinking clean
A touch of a spleen

And those souls lost in paradise
How shall I think of thee
And that touch oh so dry
And that mouth oh so still
Only dreaming
Only dreaming
To that still of a hill

But when I try, when I try
When I try
To dream far
Just a foot
Just a touch
Of that fiery hill

Please
Please
Take me

Sonnets to my Rodina

Image: ‘Protests in Belarus’ © Ang Bob.

Author: Nadia K. Bauer

I.
Когда увижу я —
The silver portal that you lock every night
With the same rusty nail
Olga laughing and you rolling your eyes
Когда почувствую я —
The humid moist the tall pinewoods
CAST alongside their shadows — on the little dachas
The smell of yellowed newspapers burning in the pechka
Will I ever UNsee —
The marks of JAIL on his smudged face
Her mother’s disappearance
The firebombs they threw just across the street,
Will I ever — on the earth of my liberated Rodina —
STAND again.

II.
Hold me —
Rodina moya
Give me SILU to watch you derive from under my feet.
Do not let go of your endless plains and of your
clear birch groves — of your teethless babushkas
who will keep — selling the same juicy blueberries
by the roadside — until I can embrace you again.
Let the shadows of the gaol bars slowly wash off his face.
Give her the strength to walk on our lines without me
— give her the strength to walk. Дай им more years —
rock them until I can take them in my arms from you.
To me, give надежду to believe
That I will feel my bare feet on your
WET and FREE earth again.

The Request

Image: ©️ “Ordinary Wooden Spoon” by limecools

Author: Anonymous

Write me a poem about the 
ineptitudes that plague your 
insipid character, that stumbling 
tongue I ceaselessly point out.

Or perhaps about the mild indulgences 
of an ordinary existence you do not
mention, in order to postpone your 
appointment with my reprobative whacks. 

But not about my petulance at the sight 
of you biting a whole, unpeeled apple 
(idolized alarmists have sensed a worm 
and aesthetes will gasp at those caving 
teeth: “so unsightly”). 

Nor about my lifelong sobriety 
quenched by inner quarrels. They 
leak as small fits cracking large 
wooden spoons, or soaring word 
bricks in lieu of dictionaries.

Write me a poem, implored the mother,
without writing it about me.

Ghazal


Image: © “Abandoned Porch Barn and Windmills 1407 C” by jim.choate59

Author: V. J.

Why do we chase light in the night and dark by day?
What’s sad is that to die suffices a day;

To live it takes eternal seconds of
Mad fight to break the flow of every day.

Some Summer’s late afternoon on the porch
Seems to be like dull or sun or Sunday

The dance of the wind blown out of the leaves
Gives a glimpse of what there was yesterday.

We own everything but what matters most,
We own the light; the night; the dark, but not today.

Landscapes – Guillaume’s poems

Image: ©️ Guillaume Amstutz

Author: Guillaume Amstutz

Rosy Dawn

A blinding light floods the sky
Stretches from the soil to mountain high
Dyes the land in the sweetest tones
Nourishes the leaves, brightens the stones
The droplets that hung in the air
Now shine bright, pink and fair
The world is a prism bathed in light
Reflecting life, banishing night.

The World in Winter

The mountains are like the earth’s teeth
hungering for a dawn after a long, long night
and the frost takes hold in this barren heath
a potter’s field covered in white

The falling flakes are the cold ashes
of a fire that bright burns no more
on the meadow the snow crashes
burying deep the earth’s ardor

Under the rooftops covered in white
a quiet maze of vacant halls
bathed dimly in faint daylight
when in slumber the pale sun falls
and as the wind howls over the world
whittling the trees with its whistling
carving the rocks with runes all twirled
crushing the hopes and their kindling
a bitter cold devours the groves
turning the wood into splinters
while a waning moon rises up above
silent witness of the winter

The Shattered City

An organism of steel and concrete
spreads like a disease, far out into darkness
with skeletons adorning the streets
waiting for light to shine on the nameless

The dying stars flicker only dimly
as the towers are circled by haze
the ghosts are roaming limply
in this collapsed and dusty maze

Under the ground, hopes are buried
old love letters in the streets scattered
and hate letters in the chimneys burned
down to ashes, by winds carried

Broken wings caught in cobwebs
clipped apart by vicious hands
far below, the water ebbs
and crashes on the cliffs and sands

But far above, a faint glimmer
beyond the forest and the hills
a distant hope that still lingers
before diving in the landfills

Nightfall

It expands to the furthest corners
All the sorrows, the joy, the songs it covers
The darkness progresses, and soils, and gathers
But through the tears in its skin, the light shimmers

I wish I was a ship Captain

Image of boat

Image: © Gislain

Author: Gislain

I wish I was a ship Captain
To sail afar and leave at sea,
To run away and once be free;
To escape shores I’ve known too long
To realms I may feel to belong.
My crew will hear: raise the anchor!
Do not turn back, have no rancor!
Full speed ahead, to the unknown!
New lands out there have to be shown.

If just I was a ship Captain
I’d have all I dreamed of, for sure
I’d feel the wind of adventure
Swells up my sails and shakes my ship
And sends me on my one last trip.
To islands of the purest sand
Under sky made of artist’s hand.
New shores never by man explored
Of mysteries too long ignored.

I wish I was a great Captain
To seek far off and primal woods
Hiding magic misunderstood.
Remote jungles so exotic
Colors and scents are erotic;
Dazing taste of forbidden fruits
Bringing back to humankind’s roots.
All treasures I could bring back home
Once I would have finished to roam.

I wish I was my own Captain
So I could choose where I’d sail;
So I could write down my own tale.
With the night sky as only guide,
And my dearest friends by my side,
I’d stir my vessel off its path
And fight against every wave’s wrath.
I wished I was, but I am still
A shipless sailor that hopes will,
One day, be Captain by all means
Riding his raft made of dead dreams.