Fear Not My Darling

We wait together, you and I

as night falls, light dies, extinguished

day’s death never grieves us

illuminated in moon’s torchlight

we navigate night’s crippling darkness

find shelter in its blank canvas

and feast on fear, you and I

swallow bitter disappointment until

satisfied enough to try again.

~The H Word~

Poems from ‘The Water Engine’ by Ankh Spice

I have been impatiently waiting to share poems from The Water Engine (2021), Ankh Spice’s debut collection published by Femme Salve Books, but I was struggling to pick only one or two and kept changing my mind about which ones to share. This is one of those collections that immediately takes up residency in your chest, it snuggles beside your heart and let’s you know it is always there for you whenever you might need it. And the poet is pretty darn special too. I first encountered Ankh’s poetry on Twitter and was, for want of a better phrase, blown away. His ability to capture a single moment alongside the entirety of the universe and everything in-between is outstanding. He gets to the heart of what it means to be human; how we treat one another, and this wondrous earth we call home. How our relationship with both can be flawed and joyous and more often than not breathtakingly beautiful. I highly recommend purchasing a copy of this collection for yourselves, you will not be disappointed, and you can purchase a copy via the publishers website by following this link – Femme Salve Books.

Ankh is a poet from Aotearoa New Zealand and is obsessed with the sea and believes our natural environment along with those old stories we don’t even know we know, mingle in magical ways to shape the human beings we become, and that sometimes we’re allowed to notice it happening. His poetry has been widely published with nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. He is also co-editor at IceFloe Press and a poetry contributing editor at Barren Magazine (Spice n.d.). Ankh is also one of the most genuine, humble and kindest people you will ever meet and whilst I have not even met him, or know him personally, I had the privilege of attending the launch of The Water Engine and it is one of those experiences that will stay with me forever. Alongside the other poets and writers in attendance, the love and respect and care for one another radiated from the screen despite us all being scattered around the globe. I am delighted to be able to share a couple of his poems tonight for those who have not come across his work before. I hope you enjoy!


‘No (thing is) right’ by Ankh Spice

Who told this calm day
it had any right
to reel delicate and radiant
when I am dissolving hard

Who said
that when a person falls
to pieces, there must be noise –
screaming, sharp edges

The only sounds here are distant:
the quiet, ordinary tide
and a long, soft keening –
the wounded ape in me
calling, calling


‘I mean how do we balance at all’ by Ankh Spice

At centre you carry the weight / I don’t mean
a heart but yes chambers liquid
with iron / I don’t mean blood I mean
restless and betrayed only by being
magnetic / your core invisible
to something on the surface
otherwise / I mean a heart is a constant kind
of collision / I mean momentum
dizzies us / sure as a slow leak
in the moon. I mean we tide.
I mean our being off-
balance has flow-
on effects. I don’t mean
to be dense / I mean if your heart
was different this whole life thing
would collapse. I mean fragile.
I mean, it is.


References:

Spice, A. (2021) ‘No (thing is) right’ & ‘I mean how do we balance it all’ from The Water Engine. Vermont: Femme Salve Books, 49 & 55

Spice, A. (n.d.) Ankh Spice – SeaGoatScreams Poetry: About [online]. Available from https://www.ankhspice-seagoatscreamspoetry.com/contact [22 April 2022]

‘And I have loved you’ by Elizabeth M. Castillo

‘And I have loved you’ is from Elizabeth’s debut collection Cajoncito: Poems on Love, Loss y Otras Locuras (2021) which you can publish via her website here. Cajoncito features poems in both English and Spanish. As stated on the cover of this beautiful book, “Powerfully captivating, this debut collection explores the roots of what it is to be human; the intricacies of love, the depths of fear, the occurrence of loss in its many forms” (Mather 2021).

The poem I have chosen is from the opening section on love, I hope you enjoy.


‘And I have loved you’ by Elizabeth M. Castillo

And I have loved you,
              With the light of a thousand years,
              the warmth of a thousand suns,
              and the beat of a single heart.
I have loved you,
              under the weight of a hundred defeats,
              over the shame of ten hasty retreats,
              beyond the depth of a thousand leagues.
And I have loved you,
              with a thousand apologies unspoken,
              against the clamour of a hundred pardons,
              and not a single promise broken.
I have loved you,
              through the dark wood of a million flies,
              against a hundred mournful cries,
              in between the dawn and the day’s last light.

And I have loved you,
                              Without reason, without relent.

I have loved you,
                              Entirely without my consent.

I have loved you,
                              These sixteen years ill-spent.


References:

Castillo, E.M. (2021) ‘And I have loved you’ from Cajoncito. E.M. Castillo, 11

Lack of Notice

I’m not sure when I lost you.
There was no defining moment,
no grand departure, just absence
apparent after you were gone.
No goodbye, no get out of my life
but you got out, regardless
and I don’t know what’s more sad,
you being gone or neither of us
noticing until now.

~The H Word~

Obsessed With Time

It’s happening again. My yearning for connection is affecting my brain. I thought I had it under control. That those issues were resolved. But I’m right back where I started—delusional and erratic. You see I’ve begun to imagine I’m in a relationship with time. As ridiculous as it sounds, I have my reasons. It could be loneliness that’s got me thinking something so bizarre. It could be isolation playing tricks on my already anxious mind. But it feels more, so much more, than that. You see no matter where I am or what I do I know she’s there. No matter who I’m with or without she’s by my side. She measures out my life with so much care and attention. You’d think it was her own and not some random, lonely person’s. It’s ridiculous, I know, I sense you rolling your eyes. Almost reaching for some helpline to offer as support. I get it, I do. I would be the same if it were you. But it doesn’t change how I feel. How she feels. How we feel. How wonderful it is to know when I wake she’ll be right there, ticking happily, excited, to welcome in the day. When I go to sleep, she soothes me with her melodic rhapsody.  Never in a hurry, or impatient, always exactly where she’s supposed to be. I find it endearing. They say she waits for no one, but she always waits for me. Never races ahead, always where I need her to be. You’ve no idea how comforting it is, to know you’re never alone. Even when days become weeks since I last saw anyone. I don’t panic or fret because I have someone I can count on. I count those hours, days, and weeks, in fact we count them together. It’s oh so much fun! She makes everything a game. Things that worried me before now excite and enthral. You’re not convinced, I understand, I can tell. You’re thinking who you can call to get help. But please don’t worry. Don’t waste your time. I’m quite happy here, in love, with mine.  

~The H Word~

Moonshine before bedtime…

You cast a shadow at the window.
I should be alarmed, it’s after
midnight, but I know it’s you;
round-faced, beaming,
taking a break from your
revolution just for me.
I peel back the curtain,
slow, seductive, I know
you like it. The room
steals your light, greedy,
but you don’t mind.
You give it up, generous
as always. It dances over
me like a breath blown
to tease the skin alive.
I surrender to the night,
you pull tides around
us in a tender embrace
drowning out the world.
We inhale silence,
exhale constellations
and then you’re gone
back where you belong
out of reach.

~The H Word~

Progress

I would worry too much about the outside
the parts I could not see or feel
except in reflection
these bothered me often.

I am learning to be more concerned
with parts of me that stand a chance
of nurturing and challenging
the parts I hold within.

My mind is calmer than before
my heart is healing bit by bit
my soul is slowly smoothing out
my ruffled edges flatten.

I dare not think I’ve won this fight
I dare not think I have the right
to happiness but I at least address
the possibility, for me.

~The H Word~

Reminiscing

I may not be the girl I was
when I look into the mirror.

I may not be the girl I was
when I wish I could be thinner.

I may not be the girl I was
when responsibilities were few.

I may not be the girl I was
I am so much more

in every way
I’ve grown
evolved
still do
each day

I will never be the girl I was
and I no longer wish to be.

~The H Word~

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