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Issue 18

Poetry » Steffen Horstmann »


[That droughts cease when Persephone returns]

That droughts cease when Persephone returns.
That floods recede when Amphitrite returns.

That the constellations pulse & winds hum
To a lyre’s chords when Eurydice returns.

That skylarks emerge from the clouds of Thebes
As heralds of truce when Antigone returns.

That the night is lit by comets streaming
From the horizon when Andromache returns.

That the voices of dead oracles whisper prayers
From sacred vases when Parthenope returns.

That myrtles emit the song of the dove
By a spectral sea when Aphrodite returns.

That hummingbirds swarm anemones
At temple shrines when Ariadne returns.

That jasmine blossoms & the air vibrates
With lyric whispers when Calliope returns.

[As sparrows fly through clouds of winged-seeds]

As sparrows fly through clouds of winged-seeds,
Zephyrs hone the flutes of silver reeds.

As garrisons are ravaged by desert gales
Rusted barricades ensnare tumbleweeds.

As thunderheads shroud Moroccan mountains
Sciroccos reach cyclonic speeds.

As Arjuna’s chariot glows, the Jamuna
Reflects the shadows of racing steeds.

As bolting winds rave in torch-lit caves,
Sibyls chant the scripts of Celtic creeds.

As fog cloaks the moon, its light thickens
Like the resin the milkweed bleeds.

As the sky seeps translucent rain
The flooded Seine recedes.

[Derelict wharves echo a zephyr’s dirges]

Derelict wharves echo a zephyr’s dirges.
Shrikes huddle in beach grass on ochre verges.

Lilac sprawls over reefs & fallen bulwarks.
Gales shriek as combers rise in tidal surges.

Translucent wind streams from the whispering surf.
Spume sparkles as it dissolves on crisp verges.

Green sparks teem in clouds curling up mountains.
Mist gusts in sheets as crackling thunder surges.

Acacias adorn Celtic crypts in the coves
Where breezes hum as priests chant dirges.

Where dervishes rise through curtains of white sand.
Where the salt tracts & whale road diverges.

Where sedges rim grass dunes & tidal marshes.
Where the rock pool & a beach meadow merges.

Where dusk is a sieve of prismatic fire.
Where a flock of larks & a blue cloud merges.

Where roaring torrents ravage rutted verges.
Where a swell & the twisting riptide surges.

Where wattle huts sink into gold sand.
Where a radiant sluiceway emerges.