Author Archives: Diana Sanders

This planet is not terra firma

What was most significant about the lunar

voyage was not that man set foot on the Moon

but that they set eye on the Earth.

 

On the first day in space they pointed to countries.

On the third day they pointed to continents and by

the fifth day they were aware of only one Earth.

 

Jim put up his thumb and shut one eye.  His thumb

blotted out the Earth.   Everything he ever knew

lay behind his thumb.  He felt very, very small.

 

This jewel is lonely, is isolated

and there is no resupply.  Small and blue

and beautiful, it floats in eternal silence.

 

This round Earth in which all directions meet

and where there is no centre because every

point, or none is centre, is an equal earth.

 

We are riders on the Earth together, siblings

on this bright loveliness in eternal cold—

siblings who know now that they truly belong.

 

A found poem from the words of astronauts Scott Carpenter, Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell,

Abdulaziz Al-Saud,and American writers Norman Cousins, Archibald MacLeis

All Souls

i

Starlings rumble the morning;
dark clouds constantly moving.
Wren mute with their bantering.
They are potent.
I breathe and think of friends
who walk softly beside me
even though          they are dead.
ii

Your light kindles my light
and my light kindles another
and suddenly the darkness
is ablaze with lamps of gold.

It always starts with a trickle;

a drip from the gutter,
a splash from a road puddle.
droplets cluster and procreate;
a lake ripples over grass.
Waves froth and rise up;
crunch pebbles and bones.
Water floods in from above.
A dream re-stitched and recycled.
Torpedo slashed the old packet.
Empty eyes passed him in the water.
Ocean filled the radio officer’s hat.

Ocean filled the radio officer’s hat.
Empty eyes passed him in the water.
Torpedo slashed the old packet.
A dream re-stitched and recycled.
Water floods in from above
Crunches pebbles and bones.
Waves froth and rise up;
A lake ripples over grass.
Droplets cluster and procreate,
a splash from a road puddle
a drip from the gutter.

It always starts with a trickle.

atavus

i swim
under curtains of bronze seed
shaken out by birch

fingers gloved with air beads

immersed in chiaroscuro
of sun and dark water

in the bottomless lake

my bones lengthen
into baleen shapes

there are shapes in the water

atavistic voices
wriggle into my skin
i sink
pulled by katabatic
currents

into nascence

Rift

My Grandmother was anti-Semitic.
It split my family in two. My Dad
not good enough despite the torpedoes
that sped his way on merchant ships.
One time he went back to get his gloves
but water parted them and all there was,
was death and fire and oil.

In the local pub a farmer sits
red faced and alone. His wife
never joins him. I talk to him
for a while until he tells me
he’s a racist and seems proud.
I am undone. I stagger under
the weight of his words

My challenge goes unheard
and I shrink and curl and hope.

Meeting

I scatter marigold petals
to guide you home. There is
humming in the air – a fragment
of a song you used to sing –
rising and falling with wings
of bumblebees. Pipe smoke
twists out of a bonfire. I
remember, you reading
Le Morte d’Arthur in a cubist
patterned armchair. I could
bring to mind so many things
but, they are reflections
blurred by the wind. My
memories are dried seed
heads. Crusty, crescent
moons of insignificant seed.
Such small things and yet
steeped with the potential
of infinite, orange beacons.

sinai

there is a temple in the desert
pillars prone and hieroglyphics scattered

thoughts

i am blind to meaning but listen
all I hear are my own footsteps

too loud

i stand still as the peregrine
a coptic prayer is on the wind

old as grains of sand

there is a monk hidden in rock
mind expanding beyond the milky way

release

Ring of Brodgar

I knew you’d be late. You’re always late.
The shrinks say it’s a power thing.

I watched a fly emerge from morning lethargy
into a frenetic map reading of the window.

In beads of condensation
it traced an outline of the Orkneys
detailing the ring of Brodgar.
Admittedly it missed out
one or two of the thirty six stones
but the gist was there.

It starting buzzing in D.
I made out the notes
of the Deerness reel
and starting swaying.

I got an odd look from
a man with egg on his boot.
Reluctantly I had to agree
that the tune had been played better.

An hour and a half later
with a flamboyant excuse
of the dog eating the train ticket
I turned and sashayed from the café
and headed North for Orkney.