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Michelene Wandor: Two new poems.

burning sage

sage brushes blue-grey leaves

once soft leaves, staining my hands moth-wing grey
now waiting, furled, rigid, waiting to flare
into nothing

a match lights and lights and lights, the London
damp folded into Arizona’s blue-
grey furls

I tease out moisture to smoke protest, till
leaves dull the white bowl’s shine with flame to flare
the blue-grey leaves

sage brush smoke rises upwards, in light-streaked
grey spirals, helix columns flaring and
winding to nothing

there is no wisdom or savour to bridge
dry and damp weather, the light and the dark
save sage

so I light and I light and I light, and
sage smiles flame into ash and the blue-grey
smokes into nothing

leaving me sage

photography (for Eve Arnold  1913-2012)

camera watches, over her shoulder brushes
light, watches water flash behind her hair
shooting rapids, now so rapidly shooting
speeding faster than just under a hundred
years per second ago

a silent shutter shuts out sounds
making water into metal
in the alchemy of an eye

catching a moment that never was
and never again will

like catching at a star which doesn’t look like a star
because it is only in the water

wandor_natchem150Michelene Wandor is a playwright, poet, short story writer, reviewer, broadcaster, theatre historian and musician with degrees from Cambridge and Essex universities and from Trinity College / University of London. She has taught in Britain at the Guildhall School of Drama, London, the City Lit, London, London Metropolitan University and at various universities abroad. She has held a Royal Literary Fund Fellowship since 2004. Recipient of many awards and nominations, particularly for her radio dramatisations (see her ‘Dramatising Mrs Dalloway‘ in the Fortnightly). Michelene Wandor is also an accomplished musician, performing Renaissance and Baroque music with her early music group, The Siena Ensemble.

These poems are from her latest collection, Natural Chemistry (Arc Publications 2013).

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