Main Page | Special Issues | 2011 Index | Current Challenge | About the Poets

Change Challenge, Page One

Copyright © 2011, by Mary Cresswell, Michael Helsem, Rose Ades, Robert Gifford, Caroline Gill, and Gene Doty

Falling leaves

Mary Cresswell

I am invisible. I am as landlocked
as summer, hiding in green leaves,
hoping to stay unnoticed.

Your cry is invisible. It rattles
down from the white depths of the sky,
like icicles falling off rigging.

I’m almost invisible.
The fossil fish are already waiting.
The scales have fallen from their eyes.

Last Tuesday is invisible.
It races away, a yellow tomcat
fat-tailing it through the marram grass.

The sea has ramped its voice up.
Its words roll between invisible walls.
We wonder why they are so cold.

I am invisible, secret as
an unfurled spathe … a dying year
… a long-awaited chance to hibernate.

Back to the top



Not Anymore

Michael Helsem

Took pennies for a cupcake. Not anymore.
Could say it in a tryptique. Not anymore.

There was a time his glittering blood would freeze
gazing on a cop car. Not anymore.

Armies of investigative reporters
tracked graft & ilka cold case. Not anymore.

A country used to bow & meekly furl
its flag once it was conquered. Not anymore.

Graywyvern saw in gods a useful flerd
for forging social concord. Not anymore.

Back to the top



A Surrey Girl’s Ghazal

Rose Ades

Yew trees perched up against the sky please me.
Violets, wild, shrinking and shy, please me.

Massed gloss of bluebells to come,
Nettles too young to cry please me.

Polished celandine, tumbling down
to rutted tracks, now dry, please me.

Bees, circling dead wood,
not yet ready to die please me.

Roofs of Dorking, a sight only
seen when you climb high, please me.

Sounds like un-oiled hinge singing,
“It’s great tits I sigh,” please me.

Mountain bike, nerve and verve
enough to make this Rose fly please me.

A previous version of this poem appeared in the December Solstice issue in 2010.

Back to the top



Behind the Curve

Robert Gifford

On talking apes, this earth is wasted
What aeons of evolution wasted!

Movie stars supplant stained altars, bronze idols
Long ages of burnt and bloody sacrifice, wasted

Some new machine saves the labor of thirty weavers
A lifetime's mastery of that trade, spent and wasted

All men wise and brave, all glorious victories, are vanished
Lost empires and dead kings, castles in sand long ago wasted

Alone again, filling in the places where she was
Not “free” — just so many years of devotion wasted

Warm oceans rising, ancient glaciers melting
The hard-won art of splitting atoms, wasted

When gray and feeble, we discover:
On the young, youth was ever wasted.

Back to the top



Of Stars and Seeds

Caroline Gill

Rain swells each seed to make it grow
and sprout towards the Plough above,
pointing to stars where wishes grow.

The constellation hovers, lights the earth
beneath the farmer, as he tends his crop:
a furrowed brow wills every grain to grow.

A shadow skims across the farmer’s field;
ears dance as mad March hares emerge
to guard the wheat and tares that grow.

The owl swoops over shoots and blades,
while hungry mice head home to dive
in hollows where the downy thistles grow.

Darkness fades as dawn ignites the sky
and calls the farmer out to scarlet plains,
where, almost as he watches, poppies grow.

The sun emerges, turning dust to gold:
the farmer mounts his windmill just to see
his treasures shine like stars, and grow.

Back to the top