False Nettle

•May 19, 2018 • 1 Comment

I am early / the train is late / the image is ubiquitous as false nettle / poetry is a red cat in a sunny window / lying to get out.

Gare du Montparnasse: Sonnet for Georges Méliès

•May 4, 2018 • 2 Comments

This week’s Google Doodle reminded me that in 2013 I wrote a poem about Georges Méliès, one of the first film-makers, the father of special effects and author of the first political film: L’affair Dreyfus (1899). I had known nothing about Méliès until, in the course of my work as a translator and language coach I was working with Dr. Barbara Grespi, a professor of cinema and visual culture. Now, Barbara is one of those insanely intelligent, sophisticated, and stunningly beautiful Italian women who makes someone like me feel somewhat ‘less than’. So, I was thrilled that she had asked me to work with her on an English language presentation about tarot iconography in the films of Georges Méliès. When she first talked with me about the topic, I said George who? She graciously replied, “He’s famous for the film of the Moon with the rocket in its eye.” Sure enough, I wiki-ed and then Youtube-ed and came up with the familiar images.
In the process of finding out about Méliès I also got a bit of information stuck in my head. Five hundred of his films were confiscated by the French army in WWI in order to recycle the celluloid into heels for soldier’s boots.
When I started writing the poem that had been poking and shifting in the back of my head for over a year. I wrote 10 lines of blank verse and then I sat still and started again. It all came in rhyming couplets (which I rarely use and then never one after the other) and it turned into the first eight lines of this sonnet:

Gare du Montparnasse: Sonnet for Georges Méliès


What kind of boot heels do you think they made

Five-hundred films for la deuxième armée?


Celluloid soles France’s poor bastard sons

It is difficult to avoid the puns:


“Attrition: boot(less) battles lost when won.”

“Headline: (well)heeled dead sink in sanguine mud.”


Harder yet, the dramatic phrase hold back:

“Verdun: Europa’s epic fade-to-black.”


The cinemagician’s vanished oeuvre leaves

me, stumbling barefoot through 1916.

Fumbling across mounds of nameless bones;

Agape – Agape, from this place no train goes home.

Dancing couplets I misstep and massacre the waltz,

Lost within the sonnet’s frame, I’ve borne their witness false.



I ended up adding the last 3 couplets because I couldn’t help asking myself: “why are you writing about a toy maker and a special effects man when the ground is full of the blood and bones of the people who died wearing those boots?” Somehow, I don’t suppose we’ll be seeing a Google Doodle about Verdun any time soon.

The Mountains Are on Fire: by Bonnie McClellan

•May 9, 2017 • 1 Comment

The mountains are on fire with clouds,

burning wet they billow up,

choking the spaces between the trees.


I hear the ticking of two clocks.


Furrowing through the valleys

fat white engulfs the state road,

levelling even the bell tower’s lopsided stones.


The crackling ash of rain stops.

Implied subject || sottofondo: by Bonnie McClellan

•March 25, 2017 • 4 Comments

It is the thing that lies under
……..under    lies
below the foundation
……..like a time signature
……..signalling in silence:
……..we are.

È la cosa che sta sotto……..
sotto    stante
sotto il fondo.…….
come il tempo quaternario
segnalando in silenzio

Horizon lines: by Bonnie McClellan

•March 18, 2017 • 4 Comments

the world is dark.
shutters open.
the sky’s glacial pool opens.
three morning stars laugh
over the horizon line.

* * *

this copse of time
this stand of hours
………..between nows
becomes a minute
bristling towards the moon.

Ouachita / Winding through Ouachita by Liliane Richman and Adina Richman

•March 8, 2017 • 2 Comments

I would like to present the A pair of poems in celebration of International Women’s Day 2017. The first, by Liliane Richman, and the second, by her daughter Adina Richman, are both responses to a road trip to Arkansas that they took together. A beautiful mix of perspectives at the intersection of two different generations:



You and me
and me and you
lacing through
the Ouachita Mountains
Elevation 2,464 feet

Through clouds and shadows
the greens, the pale sky blues
Dripping through the majestic pines
I knew and loved in my childhood
In Sabres, Landes

So much majesty around us
The music of Johann Sebastian Bach
Elevating the castle in my mind
Wherein blooms new altitudes
A call for other adventures, different vistas
Colors and sounds
Young sense, new desires

Still together
You and me

copyright 2016 Liliane Richman, all rights reserved

Winding through Ouachita:
For mom

Mozart in the mountains
Spaghetti road lacing the Ozarks
From foothills to headwinds
Weaving us back and forth
Hairpins and switchbacks tucked
Among trees of green fire,
Iridescent June bugs, cottoned in rising mist
Sheltering fawns, bears, bobcat
Diamond waterfalls, wind whispers and secrets,
Flowers of gold, purple and silver,
And ancient furled ferns
That reach across time and space
To brush my cheeks and tie me again,
To you

copyright 2016 Adina Richman, all rights reserved

Untitled: by Sam Kilday and Jane Hunter

•February 28, 2017 • 8 Comments

The following is a collaborative work by textile artist Jane Hunter and poet Sam Kilday

This land

Abound with shades and hues,

But a tilt shift,
a definite rift.

Colour draining away.
Inward, dark,
and grey.

Look up without superiority.
Vibrance and warmth.
Welcoming. Diversity.

A depth of palette.

And richer for it.

Photography, styling and poetry by Sam Kilday for Scottish artist Jane Hunter. Jane's embroidered textile map of UK with dynamic wool threads suggest a draining of colour from England and a brightness emanating from Scotland.

Photography, styling and poetry by Sam Kilday for Scottish artist Jane Hunter. Jane’s embroidered textile map of UK with dynamic wool threads suggest a draining of colour from England and a brightness emanating from Scotland was created by Jane as a response to the rise of xenophobia following the EU Referendum (Brexit).

%d bloggers like this: