Friday, 11 February 2011

Stories / poems from ‘Ana Thema’ – Alan Howard: 7

from ‘Day To-Day Fragments’

Returning here I find
   dead leaves of the years
piled up against a second entrance.


Catwalking hodman –
   on his ascending trapeze
shoulders house upon house.


Menacing the sky –
   a bee buzzes
deep in in business.


Gathered by
   Salvation Hall –
Grannies, all.


A golden leaf –
   another leaf, falling,
such a great tree laid bare.

Stories / poems from ‘Ana Thema’ – Alan Howard: 6

Daisy Chain II

As a child stalks innocence
among the first blooms of spring
and returns, radiantly grasping
your reassuring skirts, Mother,
and their crushed heads,
severed dutifully to please...

So shall he, my little executioner,
take now my dark beauty,
token to his Fatherland.


Stories / poems from ‘Ana Thema’ – Alan Howard: 5

from ‘Day To-day Fragments’

No moon tonight –
Just the orange glow
Of the city.


Would that this pen
Had such a magic –
To draw you –
To me.


In my eyes,
My smile –
Upon your lips.


Shy desire,
Your tone so gently
Betrays your heart.


My words of love –
water upon sand.


Begins in rabid passion.
Ends in repetition.


Stories / poems from ‘Ana Thema’ – Alan Howard: 4


Green – shadow green
dark upon the mould-rich loam
close-canopied, the deeping coomb
marches hard upon her flanking down.

Under her suffocating glance
her concupiscent thorns advance
their promiscuous entanglements
in swathes across the virgin down
bursting bloody to the quick, bitter farrow
of the Hag.

I pause now,
in this dusky close,
abandoned, beside myself and breathless;
love’s frenzy coursing through my veins
the leprous track of her vengeance.
Anis-enraged, her night-spawned host
stalks, phosphor-eyed, through the shadow-footed margins
of the cold bog pool, whose rippling reflects, hypnotically,
the laying of the moon’s silver wreath upon me,
spell-bound victim of her passion,
drowning in the death-hallowing pitch
of her fierce exultation.

Strife-ridden through thickets of blasted thorn;
driven to ground, fire-racked and torn;
pierced through and through, love-incensed,
I embrace again whole-hearted Anathema
feel the deepest shades of her yearning
rise, rubescent, into the pale flesh of my days –
feel the wrench of half-remembered roots entwine
about my limbs,
lashed in communion – cloud, wind and rain –
drenching the earth, mud-puddles, rank weeds,
rough rivuletted bark, glistening dew-speckled webs,
shivering – the leaves sing the wind,
the wild fluttering birds...


Stories / poems from ‘Ana Thema’ – Alan Howard: 3

She is…

A gentle breeze in spring,
Whispering among the leaves of beech

In summer, rain
Dancing warm upon my upturned face

An autumn bed of leaves
Under a pale sun

A fireglow, a hearth,
A home, in winter.


Stories / poems from ‘Ana Thema’ – Alan Howard: 2

From ‘Day To-day Fragments’

Dawn envelops
   the light of stars
in sparkling dew.


Silhouetted flowers
   grow apart
from their greening leaves.


Monotonous chorus
 of chittering bats,
driven to shadowed wings –
   upstaged by gaudy
primadonna songbirds.


Ladybird –
this spotless leaf!

Above the market hubbub,
   a mother TWEAKS
her daughter’s ear.


Floating seeds
   tickle my nose –


Contradicting the river below
   sudden rivulets
cross this bridge all ways.


‘Society’ –
   progressively isolated
in auto-mobility.


‘Keep exit clear.’
   Is this not
the city-man’s conviction?

Stories / poems from ‘Ana Thema’ – Alan Howard: 1

Since I have published this POD/ ebook as a labour of love, not commercially, I thought I would post bits and pieces from it here, in the hopes that some people might discover them and like them, tell others about them and even be tempted to buy this or one or other of my fictions. This book of short stories and poems has a few illustrations, too.

The Companion

At the lake’s edge
A sudden gust:
Caught among the swirling
Skirts of faded petals -
Breeze of another summer -
The faint scent
Of his deep longing.

The children about his feet,
Hungry for the hundred tales
With which his life was leavened,
Are all his mind.

The trembling minstrelsy of his fingers,
A parliament of birds,
Prodigiously disputing the propriety
Of each fibrous knot of memory
Discarded from the crusty fabric
Of his life - till the tale’s end
Scatters these fickle courtiers
To flock homage
Under the aegis of some other king.


Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Curd the Lion – Mumbie’s Feast (how it all ended, originally)

Queen Mumbie-Bumbee’s Feast (the original ending – ended by the editor)

If when you read it, you wonder why Queen Mumbie gives repetitive answer-variants on the same riddle, it is because originally the ‘bemusements’ ended as follows:

  “Scuse me, Queen Mumbie,” Curd suddenly asked, as she led them to her gorgeous six-poster bed, “but when will all your subjects be coming? Isn’t it getting a bit late?”
   He had been quietly awaiting their arrival all evening.
   “They are beecoming as we are beecoming,” replied the Queen helpfully.
   “Oh,” replied Curd, feeling more bewildered than becoming, as he sat on the bed’s soft mattress.
   Seeing his confusion, Pilgrim Crow chipped in: “But how can we becoming if we are Now-Here and NoWhere else, as you said? Where could we be coming from, being here, now?”
   “Yes, Being here we couldn’t be coming, could we,” repeated Sweeney the Heenie, bouncing a bit to test the springs.
  “Aah, the Problem of Beeing,” hummed Queen Mumbie-Bumbee happlily, “now There’s a Question! And you’ll be longing for an answer, no doubt?”
   Before they had time to say, “No,” she began:

“The problem of being.
The problem of being has being.
Here it is: the problem of being.

But to be
the problem of being,
the problem must be without (outside) being.
If the problem is without being,
the problem has no being (in itself).
There is no problem
and the problem of being has no-being.

the problem of being
has both being and no-being.

So now there exists a new problem:
the problem of the problem of being.

The problem of the problem of being has being.
Here it is: The problem of the problem of being.

But to be
the problem of the problem of being,
the problem must be without (outside) the problem of being.

If the the problem is without the problem of being,
the problem has no problem of being.
Having no problem of being,
The problem must have either being or no-being,
or it (the problem) would have the problem of being,
which it has not.

Then, what is the problem?
Having being or no-being
the problem of the problem of being
has no problem of being.

But, the problem of being
has the problem of being or no-being.
If the problem of being has being
then there is no problem of the problem of being,
for it (the problem of being) is.
Or, if the problem of being has no-being,
then there is no problem of the problem of being,
for it (the problem of being) is not.

Either way, there is no
problem of the problem of being

But there is.
And this is
the  problem of the problem of the problem of being,”

   “Zzzzzzzzzzz…” All of the Animals had fallen asleep where they sat, except Sweeney the Heenie, who mumbled drowsily as he laid his head on her beautifully embroidered feather-down pillow, “So that’s what is means to be ‘horribly bored by a bee’.”

© Alan Gilliland (“The Amazing Adventure’s of Curd the Lion (and us!) in the Land at the Back of Beyond.” ISBN 9780955548611 - e-book 9780955548642)
[I just thought you ought to know that]

TWITTER and a burst of tweets

The other day I was persuaded to take another look at Twitter, masquerading as ‘OnundTreefoot’ with his ‘Shabby Tattler’ avatar, when I found @mywordwizard who issues wee challenges by starting a ‘poem’ with a phrase. It tickled my fancy to try a couple (having just been told, as I said, that I must learn to communicate through tweeting). So just for fun, I tried a few, learning as I went along that the trick is to @someone before you tweet (or face the darkness of the VOID all on your own!). So here it went (ital was provided phrase):
“They met at eventide, / Sweet water and the salt, / And circled each, side to side, / Until the Moon called “Halt!”
The sky enveloped / By clouds of white; / The Moon has eloped / with her own ‘Black Knight’” (Onund Treefoot groans)
Suddenly, as if by magic @Litopia appeared following me, so I looked to see what they do, and discovered a request to write a story in 3 tweets:

“They’re up with the lark, / all hunting the Snark. / This elusive Spark that illumines the dark / Can be found in the pound at the end of the park.”
“But they’re searching the Search / Twixt the beach and the birch. / It’s a rod for their backs / Lest they cover their tracks,”
“And the Last will be First / To be gobbled and cursed; / For I needn’t remind them / That the Snark is behind them!”
(But each tweet was too long to allow @Litopia to precede them – so into the Black Hole they went – one after the other) To show Litopia I was not all frivolity and fluff, I offered to add a few Haiku-ish ‘Day To-Day Fragments’ from my ‘Ana Thema’ book of short stories and poems (only @-ting the first two )
“Dawn envelops / the light of stars / in sparkling dew”
“Silhouetted flowers / growing apart / from their greening leaves”

“Ladybird – complementing – this spotless leaf!”
(and so on and so forth)
It was at this point I discovered the ‘@ Principle of tweeting’ and the existence of ‘@mentions’ and ‘Retweets’ which, being a non-notice noticer I had glossed over without a second glance before – a whole new meaning opened up … this is why I only ever saw strange “@… blah blah” snippets of conversation!
Returning to MyWord Wizard my ‘wizened’ eye was caught by another phrase, on the day after the American Superbowl, about which I cared nothing and knew less (or vice-versa) because Liverpool had just beaten Chelsea after they stole Torres!
“@ A brilliant splash of colour /  As the Packers clash the Steelers, / But nothing beat the howler / That was Christina Aguilera’s!”
It worked. I got a response and a re-tweet (I had had them before but didn’t know it). And the response carried a challenge: “@ Very topical, very goooooood! Encore! (color). Love it!”  Language is at the heart of our trans-Atlantic ‘special relationship’, so naturally I did everything to placate the poor souls:
“@ Color’s what U Yanks say / Though never short of a vowel / We’re beaten in tweetin’ in the UK, / Guess we’ll throw in the towel!” [ok. a bit rough but getting close to bed-time]
Between the two, MWW an Litupia, we went on a little longer:
“@ Never say never unless your endeavour so originally wrought is bound to be found plagiaristically bound in another man’s tort!”
and, as if by magic, some new followers turned up (thanks to any I forgot to thank).
I learned a little about tweeting and learned another lesson, too:
“Distraction and Multiplication together just don’t Add up to a lot of work done!”