Anton Floyd at Skibbereen Speakeasy

Six poems by multiple award winner Anton Floyd

At Lough Allua

You dipped gently
your hand into the lake
to test the colour
of the lapping water.

It was the purest blue
an intense ultramarine
as if time had processed
the world’s store of lapis
and had lavished this gift
this mesmerising pigment
remaking this place
as all encompassing
as the frescoes adorning
the Scrovegni chapel walls.

Whatever it was –
the angle of the sun
the blue vault of sky
the surface tension
rippling outwards
its mercurial mirrors –

I was standing
behind and above you
holding your shoulders
to keep you from slipping
when it appeared
your head radiated
such pulses of light
for all the world
you more than ever
were my own angel
seen through Giotto’s eyes.

Halcyon Days

Oh, those halcyon days
that uncomplicated time
when you were young
when once barefoot
you careered the slope
of a summer-green field
your hair streaming
behind you and you
blithe in the balmy air
your arms outspread
ready for flight. Time
then, made all things
lovely, simple as honeysuckle
climbing and catching light.

The Faultlines

The cyclamens are in bloom.
They wear crowns of blood red.
I cannot guess at what is needed
for you to find some equilibrium.
Perhaps a form of healing words
might serve, some potent spell
and you will, like a startled bird
tumbling in mid-flight, regain control.
Even today as you playback time,
rewinding the faultlines of your past,
you revive episodes and names that chime
with blame – we’re all players in that cast.
Yes, scars hurt, yet when love forgives love’s wrongs,
hurt dissolves like a wafer on the tongue.

Bellapais, Cyprus
i.m. Lawrence Durrell
for Alma Pietroni

The sun has passed mid sky.
Great lion pads of rock
inching from the foothills
have begun to throw
their shadows forwards.

This coarse brown loaf
tastes so good. Nicolas says.
Am I imagining it or
does the air smell of lemons?
On a day like this
Shibboleths prove nothing.
What do they matter
those badges of division?

Go on, repeat them
if you can, the names
of the kings, the men
who came to conquer
that coastal plain below.

Lazarus
i.m. Hugh McKinley

If you could lick my heart, it would poison you
a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto

i
At coastal Kition
the sough of waves,
the breezes in the palms
underscore the night.
And riding wavelengths
of another sort
are midnight sounds
human noises confirming
in houses in waterfront cafés
apartments and hotels
in the revel-rout of neon bars
around the minarets and towers
the complexities of love
and sleaze around the port.

ii
There’s a stillness in that current’s swirl
where Byzantine domes harbour
the icon of the relic saint.
He who on these cathedral walls
in the auric glow of awe and pity
sets the perennial question of the dark.
And to assuage their angel hunger
they light a million candles
the pilgrims from the streets
flaming tongues to purge the vanities
that poison their conceits
and in his mythic presence
make bonfires of their hearts.

iii
Rough-hewn steps lead down
to the second grave of the man
from Bethany. He, the four days dead,
in the stench of desiccated breath
unwound his alien tales, scrolled
on the linen of his winding sheet,
tales that reset his world
like a black star on a bobbin spinning.

Lazarus iconic or Lazarus the saint
relived his life and wanted it darker,
his laughter turned to mourning
for the lost in the abyss. And the magic
of these candles burning mirrored in this gold
is the dancing of a firelight that’s cold.

Time’s Plague
prompted by Gloucester’s line in Shakespeare’s King Lear.

It’s the time’s plague when madmen lead
the blind blithely towards the cliff
and blame’s their one and only creed.
It’s the time’s plague when madmen lead
and clowns are licenced to proceed
with truth set rudderless adrift.
It’s the time’s plague when madmen lead
the blind blithely towards the cliff.

Anton Floyd was born in Egypt and raised in the Cyprus. Educated in Ireland, he studied at Trinity College Dublin and University College Cork. He has lived and worked in the Eastern Mediterranean variously as a teacher, school principal, artistic director and producer. He is now teaching in Cork City and lives near Inchigeelagh in West Cork.  His poems are widely published and forthcoming in Ireland and elsewhere. He is a several times prizewinner of the Irish Haiku Society International Competition; runner-up in the Snapshot Press Haiku Calendar Competition and most recently received a highly commended in the Anam Cara competition. He received the 2019 Literary Award of The Dazzling Spark Arts Foundation based in Scotland and Macau.

His poems were included in the anthology Between the Leaves (Arlen House) and the anthology Teachers Who Write (ed. Edward Denniston WTC 2018). He edited Remembrance Suite, a chapbook of sonnets by Shirin Sabri (2018) and an international anthology of poems, Point by Point (2018).  His own debut collection of poems, Falling into Place, was published by Revival Press (2018).

 

Falling into Place

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