Poetry by Amanda Eifert

” The Writings On The Wall Reveal You”

 

——
Am I real?
When you look at me,
Do you see me for me?
Do you care what you see?
I’ve only questions,
While you play your cards close.
I’m not going to cheat,
Peer at your hand because —
I’m afraid what I’ll see.
Such truths, I don’t want to gaze upon —
Unfaithfulness,
Only physicality, sexuality;
No emotion or affection,
No conversation in person,
No Voice stroking voice.
—–
Hands speak with our words,
Eyes glint and reveal,
Secrets you’d rather hide,
With sunglasses.
Staring at your hand,
Trying to beat my cards.
Poker face silent, emotionless;
All bets are off.
Time to show me your cards,
What the river dealt you —
Matters not; but for now,
Play how you like.
Fold if you’re scared,
Of falling into deep,
Of feeling emotion.
Your heart picking-up,
Thumping a beat.
——
But, perhaps, I’m a woman for fodder,
For a lonely night at home.
Perhaps, I’m not pretty enough,
Not thin enough for you.
Maybe, you know I’ll ask questions?
Questions you have trouble answering.
Maybe, you know —
I’ll turn the wanderer in your soul home,
And welcome you in my arms.
Maybe you’re not ready,
Perhaps, your only an ass.
A nice way of saying,
Other words I want to shout.
Perhaps, I’m only a date —
And one night.
Is this how you treat women?
I’m too strong for your tricks.
——-
You may forget my face,
My name, my body.
You may let me do the walk of shame,
Thinking I’m fooled by you,
The man I liked all along;
You may believe —
Finally, you wore me down.
And now I’m flattened,
Nothing left to sculpt,
Nothing left to shatter.
Smithereens, glass embedded.
You may have led me astray,
Made me consider:
I no longer think,
Some guys are good,
And some guys do care.
——
But when I chose you,
Maybe I didn’t realize,
I was choosing all wrong.
Maybe, I should’ve gazed above me —
Seen the ‘writings on the wall.’
Seen the woman in her glory,
Waiting for her own life,
On wings to rise and fly;
From your lies and tricks;
You didn’t shatter me,
I saw all the writings,
Every word on that damn wall,
I know all your horrific secrets;
And I read them all.

 

“The Darkest Faeries”

——
The wings of a faerie, a delicate lace.
Transparent and glowing with,
Each faeries myriad colour choice.
You can see their wings flash,
When the sun begins to set;
When echoes of the rainbow,
Give one the illusion of colours bold.
But it’s the faeries who are —
As beautiful as they’re deadly,
Luring children to their faerie lands.
Turning your infants to faeries,
To live many ages;
To play wicked games, faeries play.
—-
They’ve no offspring so they steal,
A babe fed; left in their crib.
Mothers are distraught,
Be not surprised; it’s what faeries do.
You’ve heard the tales and watched,
As your mother, and her mother before her.
Still you cry and sob;
Picking-up your biggest kitchen knife.
Faeries are terrible beings,
We read false truth about,
They don’t actually want to help.
They’re evil when alive too long.
——-
Faeries so tiny,
Keep their race alive.
Promptly, wave their hands;
The wisps of their garments,
Sleeves like streamers trailing long.
Chanting magic ancestors taught,
They curse your darlings with bright wings.
And turn you and you husband away,
Searching for,
Your their stolen little ones.
Though your broken-hearted mother,
You keep up your fight.
You want your children to grow,
Not become an evil faerie;
Live a Millennium to burn.
——-
Faeries lead astray those,
Who try to capture them.
You who yearn for your babes,
To get your children home.
As faeries, your darlings grow in the blink of an eye;
Become adult faeries in days,
Not knowing they were humans young,
Merely, days ago.
——
Mother’s sorely missing kids,
Are wandering the forest for —
Where ancient faeries hide.
Faeries lie to stolen babes,
Say they were unwanted,
So the faeries gave them home.
And rainbow wings to one day,
Catch the eye of yet more babes.
Lost before a parent sees,
A child stolen gone.
——
Faeries change your young,
Dawning them with gossamer wings,
Knowledge of mischief and celebration.
A faeries life is of none-stop festivity,
With little meaning;
And no knowledge do faeries posses,
But the knowledge to take;
Those you hold so dear–
It’s why you burn their wings,
In the candle lit at night;
So, they will never curse your home,
And bring you a mother’s tears,
——
Why you learned to take your knife,
And kill the old faeries weird,
To end their malicious games.
Take back your children,
Undo the magic faeries formed.
You’ll burn and stab their wings all night,
Until your children,
And your neighbour’s young,
Are finally, safe at home.
So the faeries fade away.
Die out with no offspring,
Because of you;
Your child lives.
And never will you cry again,
From a fairy interfering.
You, most feisty mother,
For your perseverance, you have won.

Shadorma: “Women War Not Alone”

—–
Such times as,
The ones she lives through.
She conforms,
Yet wants more.
Sees hurt, it perpetuates;
Never healing whole.
—-
Self-harm and —
Hate common, if she–
Keeps hurting;
Harms others–
Hate with false judgement, it wins.
Woman, think thoughtfully.
—–
End the pain,
Close the doors so she,
Locks terror,
Out in cold.
An unforgiving night, reminds —
Her, fight gently.
—–

Keep working;
I know her battle,
It’s as old,
As the earth.
Men and women must fight for,
Prosperity.
—–
If only,
For a moment’s time,
Pax, and rest.
She is wise,
For seeing tomorrow’s pain;
Unburdens those lame.
——-
Light in the,
Darkness, shines, provides —
Glimmer of,
Hope, assured —
Fighting, with her words and sword;
Hoping for happiness.
——
Good prevails.
Light’s glow permanent.
Good’s older.
She drinks wine;
Thinking of mornings, sunrise —
Reminds her she’s loved.
—–
Leaves on tree,
Dusting her path yet,
Leaves mark the —
Passing of,
Seasons; each one she shines light,
Earth keeps turning while —
—–
She worries,
Weeping in bad times,
She doesn’t
Forget what,
Was fought for at heavy cost,
She lives; others fought —
——
For her now.
Because in their time,
They had few —
Rights at all.
Doing wife’s duty despite,
Desire for freedom — rights.
——
She looks for,
Light in the tunnel,
At the end–
Of the war.
She fights not alone; she holds —
Strength in her faith bold.
——
For her God,
Never gives up, for —
Women so —
Precious; God–
Created Man and her equals.
Partners; she’s not less.
——-
Complement,
She smiles because she —
Knows inner —
Completeness.
Remembers God’s son best knows,
Inequality.

Biography:

Amanda is a writer, blogger, and student in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She has a BA in English Literature, a certificate in Residential Design, and is pursuing an online MFA at UBC in May 2017. She loves being creative and imaginative in her writing. She enjoys drawing and acrylic painting, dogs, hanging with her friends and family, Netflix, scrapbooking, and yoga. Amanda blogs at: www.mandibelle16.wordpress.com.

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Guest Poet On Ink & Quill: Al Lane

I’d like to welcome my next guest on Ink and Quill, Al Lane, from Al The Author, a writer of poetry and songs, for both children and adults. As Al says in his interview, he like most writers, is searching for his voice. It seems his children have helped him find his niche and passion, which I can really relate to.

al

NAME: Alistair Lane. Al to my friends. We’re all friends here, right?

COUNTRY: England

AGE: 38

 

Please tell us a little about yourself:

I am a writer, of stories, of poems, of songs, of whimsical ditties and heartbreaking ballads. Of haiku and rhymes, for children and adults, on Star Wars and superheroes and zombies and love and clouds and puddles and cake. Of words that will lift and inspire… and (sometimes) words that don’t quite work. That clunk and crash.

‘But without the permission to make mistakes, we can never really free ourselves from our shackles. Stick with me while I’m finding my voice.’

 

When did you first start writing?

I like to think I’ve always had something of a way with written words (certainly more so than my verbal ability!), but the inciting incident was the birth of my eldest son six years ago. We started reading to him from an early age, as many parents do, and the rhythm of those rhyming picture books (especially Julia Donaldson) got into my system. It infected me from top to toe.

Reading to my son was an amazing way to bond, and something that he really responded to (his reading ability now is incredible)… who wouldn’t want to be able to generate that reaction from their own words? So, I started trying to write rhyming picture books, and developed from there into children’s poetry, short stories, and poems for adults too.
This has helped me to “find my voice”, but also it helps to keep things interesting, to constantly challenge myself to write in different styles, for different audiences. I have just started a screenwriting course for this exact reason.

What does poetry mean to you?

‘Poetry is the distilled expression of a moment. It encompasses the history of the universe, and the flapping of a butterfly’s wings. It is the universal and the personal, the bludgeon and the rapier, the heartbreak and the rapture.’

 

It is a way for me to communicate the more interesting (I hope) ideas that pass through my head, and give them a form that (I hope) merits attention.

I’m also a big believer in keeping poetry accessible. I’m an intelligent person. I don’t need to demonstrate this by using obscure, fancy words, and don’t react favourably to other poets who write this way. (Anything that distances the poet from the audience bemuses me, for one.) I’m all for layers of meaning, and finding the perfect word, but there’s a reason that many people profess not to like poetry, and such intellectual snobbishness perpetuates this.

I believe that one of my strengths is the ability to keep things simple, while also conveying wider themes. Although I’m serious about my craft, I don’t take myself, or my poetry, too seriously. Profound messages can be put across behind a veneer of fun. For proof of this, check out how often Dr Seuss’ quotes are used for writers’ motivation!

What might inspire you to write a poem? How does a poem begin for you, with an idea, a form or an image?

I take part in a number of poetry/ haiku challenges – I enjoy taking the prompt words and bending them to my own shape. I will play with the words in my head, looking for an interesting angle to take, trying to avoid the obvious where possible. Often, especially with haiku challenges, I write a whole stream of unrelated haiku, using the words in different ways, some comic, some serious, some direct, others more layered. I enjoy the mental workout this gives me.

For unprompted work, the ideas can come from anywhere – lines from TV shows, films, print media, books, something I hear on the bus, fun turns of phrase that my boys come out with… I make a note of the idea on my phone, and work it over in my mind, seeing if it develops. Some don’t. I have numerous ideas recorded on my phone that will never go anywhere. But if something sparks, or I get an idea for a refrain… then I will develop it into something more substantial. I literally had one line pop into my head while I was in the shower last night – “these words, alone, to woo” – and have written a poem around that theme, with that as a recurring end line.

All of my ideas revolve around words, and ideas. I am not a visual thinker (even for picture book texts that I’ve written, I have no strong ideas of what the characters look like). I love language and playing with words, and follow them down alleys and cul-de-sacs to see what might become of them.

Which writers/poets inspire and influence your own writing?

My favourite authors are Neil Gaiman and Douglas Adams. They are both huge influences, in terms of style and sense of humour.
In terms of poets, I have binged on children’s poetry in the last couple of years. Allan Ahlberg and Julia Donaldson are probably my top picks there. I do get frustrated by the number of instantly forgettable, single joke poems that persist in the world of children’s poetry publishing. We can do better for our children. Joseph Coelho is a notable recent exception to this trend.

I have a range of poetry books and pamphlets that I dip into – I read different poets every day, for different reasons, studying their turns of phrase, or the way they use rhythm, or rhyme. In the reading pile, I currently have: Roger McGough, Shel Silverstein (big fan), Roald Dahl, Jim Carroll, Billy Collins, Spike Milligan, Ogden Nash, Michael Rosen, TS Eliot, WH Auden, John Hegley, Emily Dickinson, Philip Larkin…

The poet who has had the biggest influence recently is definitely Billy Collins. I binge-purchased half a dozen of his books. I’ll never finish them, because every time I read one of his poems, it inspires me to write one of my own, riffing off a phrase that he has used, or an idea that he’s created in me.

I should also give a nod here to two musicians, whose lyrics have a very poetic quality, in differing ways: David Bowie, and Nick Cave. The combination of music and poetry, in such hands, is intoxicating.

Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you began writing poems?

I don’t think so: it’s such a personal, malleable thing anyway. My appreciation of poetry, good poetry, though – that’s a different matter. The more I read, the more I appreciate.

Tell us about your writing process: Pen and paper, computer, notes?

Everything starts on my smartphone. I commute to work on the bus, and use that time (plus any snatched moment around the clock) to draft and edit poems and story ideas, texting them to myself with each revision. I don’t like typing them up on the laptop – there’s something about seeing the words on a computer screen that’s too final, when the text may not actually be ready yet.

I sometimes make notes with pen and paper, but that tends to be at the brain-storming phase, taking a word and expanding out the possibilities contained within it, until I find something that fires my imagination.

When my phone needed repair last year, I didn’t write a single poem in the week I went without it. My process, as well as managing my life, is totally dependent on it!

Please share your favourite piece/s with us and a brief description of the inspiration behind it:

This is my favourite recent poem: Al The Author: Ten Tired Parents I met the author of the children’s rhyming picture book Ten Little Pirates at a writer’s conference last year, and gushed to him (at the bar!) about how much my youngest son loved his book… We became Facebook friends, and I made a joke at the time about writing another one in that series for grown-ups. As happens often, I didn’t do anything with that idea. And then, recently we were invited by friends to come and spend the weekend with them while they were on holiday with their young children… I wrote this on the way home, with all of those previous elements coming together at once. Some of it may be autobiographical!
I sometimes adopt personas for poems, or write about ideas or positions that I don’t agree with, or haven’t experienced. Not this one. This one is very personal, and self-explanatory – a haiku on first meeting your newborn baby –

Haiku: ‘Tight and Warm’

baby

Newborn fingers grip
Warm, soft skin seeking comfort
From here, I am hooked
This limerick is in a similar vein –

Limerick: Birth

child

On the wonderful day of your birth
I was the happiest person on Earth
Now you teach me each day
In your own special way
How much this life truly is worth

 

Guest Poet On Ink & Quill: Ryan Stone

ryan

 

Todays Feature Poet on Ink & Quill is Ryan Stone, from Days of Stone. It is with great pleasure to introduce you to Ryan, a fellow Australian and an extremely talented writer, whose poetry always leaves me inspired and contemplative.

Name: Ryan Stone
Country: Melbourne, Australia
Age: Old enough to know better…young enough not to care.

A Bit About Me:
I have no formal credentials, just an observer’s eye and an insatiable appetite for books. I’m rough around the edges but the right turn of phrase will stop me dead in my tracks every time. I love Metallica and Ted Kooser with equal passion and my closest friend in the world is my German Shepherd (just don’t tell my wife).

A selection of my writing and artwork can be found on my blog – Days Of Stone

When did you first start writing?
The first time I ever considered my writing to be ‘writing’ was towards the end of high school when I was blessed with an incredibly passionate English teacher who managed to channel a teenage boy’s angst and anger into something less destructive. When one of my poems earned me a kiss from a pretty girl I had a crush on, I knew writing was something I’d stick with.

What does poetry mean to you?
I think Anton Chekhov explains what I like about it best – ‘Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.’

‘I love the way a poem can capture more than a photograph, can carry an image or emotion over time and space and let me experience someone else’s worldview for a moment.’

I also enjoy reading one of my own poems years after it was written and being transported back to a previous headspace.

What might inspire you to write a poem? How does a poem begin for you, with an idea, a form or an image?
Nearly all of my poetry starts while I’m running with my dog through the rainforest beside my house. Usually a thought, a memory or an observation takes root and nags at me until I manage to jot it down. Sometimes an unusual word or phrase will catch me the same way. My dog has developed his very own ‘here we go again’ face that he pulls each time a run pauses so I can tap out a note or two.

Which writers/poets inspire and influence your own writing?
Originally, my love of poetry was nurtured by Maya Angelou, Kenneth Slessor, Jim Morrison (The Doors), Ani Difranco and Jewel Kilcher. When I first discovered Ted Kooser a few years ago, I think my poetry took a huge leap forwards. His book, ‘The Poetry Home Repair Manual’ was full of ‘Aha!’ moments for me. Most recently, I’ve lost myself in the brilliant Buddy Wakefield.

Tell us about your writing process: Pen and paper, computer, notes?
Almost exclusively, my writing begins as a note or two on my iPhone while I’m running and later develops on my iPad. Writing environment is incredibly important to me and the Mac/IPad writing program – Ulysses – puts me in an excellent creative headspace. I tend to write a first draft very quickly once an idea forms and then I’ll put it aside for a week or two before returning and revising over and over and over…

Teacher

teacher

A wail
of sirens makes
her pale

with fear,
returns her to
the year

she stole
a cub from his
foxhole.

Ryan Stone

Poem inspiration: I generally write all my poetry in free verse or senryu/5-7-5 format. I’ve tried my hand at a couple of forms but they always come out feeling forced. Recently I was introduced to the Musette form by my good friend, Thomas, at Hook Line and Inkwell.

The Musette worked for me like placing a key into a locked door – I had a stack of unfinished poems sitting around staring at dead ends and all of a sudden I found them twisting themselves into Musettes. There is something about the beautiful rhyme scheme and having to conform to a limited number of words that I really enjoy about the form:

Musette

three verses
first line – 2 syllables
second line – 4 syllables
third line – 2 syllables
rhyme scheme – a/b/a c/d/c e/f/e
title reflects poems content

Leaving Violet Town

leaving violet town

The boy sits alone
while the carriage fills
around him. It’s a V-line,
a long haul, thundering
into morning.

Barely legible,
a chipped sign fades
and Violet Town falls away.

He retreats to a paperback
kingdom, while oblivious
wheels devour miles.
Sometimes his eyes rise
to watch the landscape
grind from here to there.

Terminus halogen
holds the night at bay
as a voiceover calls
passengers awake.

At journey’s end,
crisp air whispers
possibility. Behind him,
doors hiss shut. Ahead,
a turnstile beckons.

– Ryan Stone

First published in Writers’ Forum Magazine issue 159, December 2014

Poem inspiration: I served in the Australian Army for a few years, during which time I lived and worked in a border town, many hours from family and friends. During infrequent trips home, I passed the boredom of the long haul train ride by watching other travelers and trying to imagine the stories behind each journey. This poem began as a collection of these observations combined with the idea that a train ride through the night shares similarities with the journey we make from childhood into adulthood.

Dragonflies and Raindrops

DRAGONFLIES

 

It starts with a single languid drop,
beating a hardpan drum.
Cicadas warble a scorched-earth vibrato,
rushing skyward, the long-dry undone.

Rusty tears trickle their bullnose percussion
on verandah iron and brass. While the red dusts
of torment yawn and drink deeply,
thirsty as fire-kissed grass.

My hard-bitten mongrels, in Waratah shade,
flick ears laid unseasonably low.
Drought threatens to claim what Tigers have not.
Limp tails tell tales of woe.

Resembling slender men, brown withered stems
raise limp hands, tattered and burned.
A chorus begins, Magpie trills and woodwind;
life to the outback returned.

Movement staccatos; even dragonflies pause
from their wild tumbles and dips.
A long-absent lover, in the final refrain,
bestows a moist kiss on parched lips.

– Ryan Stone

First published in Of Words and Water 2014.

Poem inspiration: This poem was written for a charity anthology in support of Water Aid. A lot of my poetry is influenced by the Australian outback and the amazing animals and plant life by which I’m surrounded. The return of rain after surviving a period of drought is an incredible thing to experience.