Cape of Good Hope

For my father

Half of you is listening. Half of you sees the mountain, hard lines pushing against the sky. Half of you senses air’s faint breath, feels warmth like fingers where sunlight has sneaked beneath your hat. Your left hand acknowledges my touch.
I only half listened that day last year, as we walked through the fynbos on the slopes above Camps Bay. You spoke in the voice you used for children or for childhood, for stories of Piglet and of Pooh and how you were at school with Christopher Robin.  
When the time comes, I want a Daddy to hold me by the hand.
I smiled, said nothing. We were a long way from The Hundred Acres Wood. 
Spiked crests of birds of paradise ignite above their leaves. Half of you is present. Is the other half hidden, like the mountain when the south-east wind spreads a tablecloth of cloud? Or has your Daddy taken your right hand gently in His own, to lead the missing half of you past Lion’s Head into the light?
I don’t ask this, but I think this in the shadow of the mountain. Half of you listens to my silence. All of you cannot speak.  

‘Cape of Good Hope’ first appeared in The Amethyst Review on 14th April 2020.

Review: Learning to be Very Soft by Callan Waldron-Hall

Callon Waldron-Hall was one of the recipients of last year’s New Poet’s Prize, an annual competition organised by The Poetry Business. His debut pamphlet, Learning to be Very Soft, was published in June and is a worthy prize-winner.    Written in clear, unadorned language with gentle, fluid rhythms, the poems use everyday experiences – a car journey, a visit to the doctor, winding in the lane ropes at a swimming pool – as windows into the inner world of boyhood with all its vulnerability, awkwardness and shame. 

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Review: Science Poems – an Anthology from Penteract Press

Penteract Press has a reputation for focussing on formal, constrained and experimental poetry, for exploring the interface between poetry and visual art, with careful attention to detail in their publications. Science Poems, an anthology edited by Anthony Etherin and Clara Daneri and featuring work by Christian Bök, Gary Barwin, M D Kerr, Kyle Flemmer and Pedro Poitevin among others, is no exception. 

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Tessellations

Metamorphosis ll, by M.C. Escher (Netherlands) 1939-1940

a rabbit sneaks over my windowsill
spills oblong light across the floor viscous
as cream      curdles in a snarl
of salamanders fluorescent on the walls
that bloat      bulge      suppurate      burst
the air hums bees      in my hair crawl over my skin
i grope for some hold-fast but corners 
collapse      light and shadow striate 
fish swim with the waves      against 
the waves      darkness lifts 
where the ceiling used to be      
a shriek of gulls      flecks on cloud     
not bombs or planes but birds 
the colour of blood      spills 
on to rooftops and moon-shadowed 
stairs to nowhere      war 
a game played without rules      
pieces drift in liquid 
light      teeter at a precipice
floor dissolves 
in darkness      i cling 
to an edge while all night 
long an unembodied voice 
detonates the news    
 
                                       In dawn’s faint light
I construct lines, squares, rhomboids, hexagons,
to plaster absent walls with tessellations.

Tessellations’ first appeared in The Ekphrastic Review on 30 March 2020

Limen

   sliding sun

    wavers a path 

across the sea

    which way does the tide pull?

ripples      on wet sand

               slice      

          through your    

       reflection       

shimmer it back      not quite 

            together

foam       

          laces 

                    your ankles     

draws you 

                  towards 

                                the calling waves

I want to fold my hands around you

cradle you in my cupped palms 

past sea holly and marram grass 

to the shelter of the trees 

abide with you on sweet-scented earth

listen

            a dove is calling

‘Limen’ first appeared in The Amethyst Review on 28th March 2020

Review: Ode to Numbers by Sarah Glaz.

In her poem ‘A Woman in Love’, the mathematician and poet Sarah Glaz describes herself as seeing ‘a streak of mathematics/ in almost everything’. The title of her collection of mathematical poetry, Ode to Numbers, is taken from a poem by the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda which invokes the passion of mathematical curiosity, the urge to understand the mysteries of the universe in quantified terms, the desire ‘to know/ how many/ stars in the sky’(Neruda, 1999).  

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