Friday, 24 November 2017 12:28

'Swan' by Zoë Brigley Thompson

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    I see you then: long and veined with red like the closed
    pod of an asphodel bud: if you opened now it would be
    with the strangeness of a lily its scent edging between sweat,
    and the musk that marks a territory: I have not forgotten you ...

Friday, 24 November 2017 12:25

'Ithaca Road' by Philip Mead

You’ll be lost in the headlong city, turning your oar, older
Her house needs to stay open for another October

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    You’ll be lost in the headlong city, turning your oar, older
    Her house needs to stay open for another October ...

Thursday, 26 October 2017 10:34

'Imprints of Water' by Joan Fleming

The blue painted wall and the blue painted pipe
with its throat jagged out
is the first thing I photograph
because I like blue
and to my very shame
I have liked brokenness.

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    The blue painted wall and the blue painted pipe
    with its throat jagged out
    is the first thing I photograph ...

Wednesday, 25 October 2017 15:50

'ghost flock' by Annamaria Weldon

While women scanned the horizon, fishers
and hunters tended their nets, someone
etched the Lapwing crown-plumes in clay.

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    While women scanned the horizon, fishers
    and hunters tended their nets, someone
    etched the Lapwing crown-plumes in clay ...

I went where she reigned
far underground, deeper
than roots, in rooms hollowed
by hand and bone, where curved walls
contained my breath like lungs.

              Passageways opened onto chambers
              honeycombed in stone
              where there was no light
              and blind air read my skin.

Who painted the womb-shaped
echo-chamber with ochre veins?
The spirals on concave walls seem
to move with sound waves, fluid
as amniotic water, persistent as blood.

               So far down, this far back, definition
               fades. We braille a truth, one version
               from things only guessed at.

In bone-dug bethels where perhaps
they incubated dreams, a woman
sleeps. In my palm, earth to earth
I hold her double: a small, clay statue,

                rotund buttocks, fall of ample breasts
                all luxuriant volume, prompting again
                the old question: is she diviner or divine?

Annamaria Weldon

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While women scanned the horizon, fishers
and hunters tended their nets, someone
etched the Lapwing crown-plumes in clay.

Abandoning hunger and
its frozen ground, they soar
South with the Grigale wind

Middle Sea harbingers of the
Lampuki-fish moon, its halo
a herald of autumn rains.

Outlines, incisions quicken those
plovers’ flight through terracotta sky.
A ghost flock, timeless on stone.

Annamaria Weldon

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We met at the Neolithic display. I was staring
at the loom-weights, suspended in a glass case.
Handcarved stones, smaller than seashells

a tell-tale hole bored through their middle. That’s when
I noticed you, uncanny yet not out of place
holding a loom-weight. You seemed at home with fibre

your fingers felt its tensions, slack or taut,
sensitive to texture, strong hands threading
the weft, sinews familiar with the shuttle’s path

muscle memory of when to hold and release.
Back, forth, you weaved row after row, as friction sloughed
filaments of flax, infusing the hut’s dim light

with motes that clogged your lungs; each year
you strained harder and harder for breath. What
sustained you, arms aching as they bent and stretched,

shoulders lifting and lowering to the music
of your tuneless harp? Did your eyes sting?
Could you close them sometimes in that dark,

give yourself to the reverie and bridge the cleave
in time where we met, staring at those loom-weight stones,
handcarved and smaller than seashells, a tell-tale hole

bored through their middle. Suspended in the glass case
they have never stopped telling your story. Spellbound
I found myself called back by their slight shapes

by the weight of memory you left behind.

Annamaria Weldon

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  • Custom Article Title 'in the National Museum of Maltese Archaeology' by Annamaria Weldon | States of Poetry WA - Series Two
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Alabaster: such a beautiful word for silence.
Neolithic Venus, was translucence eloquent
enough when stone was our mother tongue?

Yellow-throated crocus were strewn
at your feet, they fed you honey
and broad beans. Worship swelled

your breasts and fertile belly, men lived
without weapons, women were weavers
and potters crowned in cowrie shells

at death and in time their whitened bones
dyed red, with precious ochre
the blood of second life.

When survival required human milk,
herbalists were doctors and spirals holy signs,
hysteria a gift, fecundity revered

you were honoured as mother of the world
incarnate and neither clerics nor sceptics mocked
our fealty to the sacred feminine.

Annamaria Weldon

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  • Custom Article Title 'stone mother tongue' by Annamaria Weldon | States of Poetry WA - Series Two
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Archipelago, sleeping goddess whose body
we trample as tourists take selfies, bored lovers
seek mystery, stray dogs piss on temple stones.

Inside the sanctuary walls, torba floors endure
their bone-white ground broken as the silence
now deities are curios, gift shop souvenirs.

Asphodel and Sea-squill bloom in the corners of ruins
strewn like footnotes to remind us these shrines
are still alive. At dawn on the Solstice, an entry fee

is our only offering. Careless crowds block the portal
so the sun’s first beams can’t touch the holiest stone.
A child making a wild posy is chased by a man in uniform.

Annamaria Weldon


*torba is the Maltese word for hard plaster-like material made by the repeated pounding and wetting of several layers of Golbigerina limestone dust; it was usually spread over a rubble foundation for making temple and hut floors).

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you opt for form over colour
makeup smudged lenses
pale bare planes by the lakes;
a cygnet ellipsis in black
parenthetical necks;
white sky reflected in high water.

we sit where I have stayed
and watched an oak open and close –
green again – the bench
suspended on ampersands.

Chris Arnold

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  • Custom Article Title '&' by Chris Arnold | States of Poetry WA - Series Two
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