Poetry Friday: Eric Gamalinda

INCANTATION/ A SCROLL

published in Caracoa 18 (April 1988)

The madman and the hypocrite roam this city I didn’t want to die in
I have seen my generation scour the alleys for scraps and sex
have seen the gentlest people throw up in disgust unhappy and
impolite
and the needle piercing the skin and the ooze of impossible
blood
all of them fortify my battlements i.e. not even the leaves
tremble at the thought of decay
and even as this man dies or that one fails I am learned or
am fallen
not defeated but bracing for the next attack
the symmetry of vespers and arrows
now the inner midnight is descending and the fine opens and closes
over someone’s sad mouth holding back the howl
with its immaculate crises and blooms of violets
and always I am he
I burn in the beatified rainbows
I am driven insane by the simplest wind
and when this man fails or that one exults
I am he/I am lessened/I exult


What a poem. That first line.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: ‘K’ Anywhere in the Word

What a fun prompt! Thank you much, Cee Neuner!

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Spring Arrives: I Capture the Castle

c. 1948: Rose and Cassandra are daughters of an impoverished father (he’s a writer, what do you expect) and he has moved them and their stepmother, Topaz, to a dilapidated castle in the country.

The author, Dodie Smith, is English but wrote this novel in Malibu (She’s long gone, in case you were wondering)

Self started this book six days ago and is only up to pp. 43 – 44. There’s hardly any drama yet.

“There’s quite a bit of spring in the air to-night,” I told her. “You go out and smell it.”

Rose never gets emotional about the seasons so she took no notice, but Topaz went to the door at once and flung it open. Then she threw her head back, opened her arms wide and took a giant breath.

“It’s only a whiff of spring, not whole lungs full,” I said, but she was too rapt to listen. I quite expected her to plunge into the night, but after some more deep breathing she went upstairs to try on her tea-gown.

“It beats me,” said Rose. “After all this time, I still don’t know if she goes on that way because she really feels like it, if she’s acting to impress us, or just acting to impress herself.”

“All three,” I said. “And as it helps her to enjoy life, I don’t blame her.”

The novel’s been inspiring her to spend more time in her backyard. The gorgeous weather helps. The scrawny lemon tree has five fat lemons.

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Poetry Thursday: Csilla Toldy

Self met Csilla at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig, which has introduced her to so many wonderful voices.

From the collection Red Roots — Orange Sky (Belfast: Lapwing Publications, 2013)

A FRAGMENT

In Parc de Luxembourg,
hiding under fallen leaves —
A fountain — messenger
from a sea of amber — Verdigris.

Its well-stone, formerly
Neptune’s set of teeth, now
water-pouring standstill
tossing threat for dragons.

In its far angle a more
Humanoid structure,
a spun-into-form world-element.
It longs, broods and hovers —

above all that is left.


Csilla Toldy was born in Hungary. She escaped from the socialist bloc through the green borders at the age of eighteen in 1981. She now lives in northern Ireland.

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