The Stone is Cast. Sonnet. Poem by Richard Vallance.

 

John 8:7
 
So since they kept on and on nagging him, he answered them, and said,
“Let the one among you who is sinless be the first to cast a stone at her.”

 
As stones are cast against the inner walls,
the lessee of the castle wracks his brains,
while wicked winter rails against its halls
and shakes the filings off his dungeon’s chains
where he’s incarcerated serfs at whim,
because they’d dared defy his iron will:
his fingers drew the rusty bolt on him
as well as them, and held him, freezing, still,
until he fled that vile, ensanguined room,
their blasted thane — unconscious of his sin,
though conscious of what cold impending doom
was bound, as winter is, to do him in.

    Oh when it does, its frozen blast shall blind
    him to the shattered mortar of his mind.

 
Richard Vallance,
 
January 3, 2017

 
https://linearbknossosmycenae.wordpress.com/2017/01/03/quotation-for-january-2017-the-stone-is-cast-my-own-sonnet/
 
Richard Vallance
 
 
Richard Vallance, meta-linguist, ancient Greek & Mycenaean Linear B, home page: Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae, https://linearbknossosmycenae.wordpress.com
 
PINTEREST Boards: Mycenaean Linear B: Progressive Grammar & Vocabulary,
 
https://www.pinterest.com/vallance22/mycenaean-linear-b-progressive-grammar-and-vocabulary and, Knossos & Mycenae, sister civilizations, https://www.pinterest.com/vallance22/knossos-mycenae-sister-civilizations
 
Also poetry publisher, The Phoenix Rising from the Ashes: Anthology of sonnets of the early third millennium Le Phénix renaissant de ses cendres : Anthologie de sonnets au début du troisième millénaire Friesen Press, Victoria, B.C., Canada. © August 2013. 35 illustrations in B & W. Author & Title Indexes. 257 pp. 315 sonnets & ghazals in English, French, Spanish, German, Chinese & Persian.
 
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Key of Mist. Guadalupe Grande.Translated.Amparo Arróspide.Robin Ouzman Hislop
 
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The Thracian Rider Is Doomed to Moonlight. A Poem by RW Haynes

 

Artemis of slippery rocks, O power
Of mesquite, O night, O resonant night
Of owls and tricky rapids, in this hour
Guide my faithful warhorse aright
In this crossing of this magic stream,
Where the ghosts of ancient rattlesnakes
Arise a moment from their deathly dream
To view the crossing an intruder makes.
Thus splashing splashlessly, now I ride,
Saluting the river with my brazen spear,
Across through the shallows to the western side,
To Mexico. Moonglow is strong, but sunrise is near,
And here I will abide when darkness is gone
Awaiting the impulse which will impel me on.

 
Just one game plays out at no remove
From reality, and its rules both produce
And require defiance of traps that prove
What you are. You must somehow turn loose
Of love’s numerous and bogus avatars,
Of pride’s super-subtle, invidious claims,
And all false illusions, from Hell to the stars,
As the clock steals vigor, and all the other games
Clamor for attention. But I have arrived
And crossed this river, one dragon slain
In Bulgaria, the battles I survived
Having cleared my soul of useless pain.
And now, freed from compulsion of choice,
I listen for orders from an inward voice.
 
Last night I met a perished knight at arms
Wandering feebly down the murmuring stream,
And we spoke awhile of debilitating charms
That lurk malignantly in hope and dream.
Death had relieved him of all but regret,
He smiled, his eyes unseen in the ghostly shade,
But hoarsely whispered then that to forget
He’d instantly take agony in trade,
And he reached forth to me his bony hand,
And I pronounced forthwith the living curse,
And he was gone with that crushing command
That the dead must obey and none can reverse.
And the waterfall echoes its perpetual sighs
And I stand watch here silent at moon-rise.

 
 
On the Savannah River 2013
 
 
 
R. W. Haynes has taught literature at Texas A&M International University since 1992. His recent interests include the early British sonnet, and he is completing a second book on the Texas playwright and screenwriter Horton Foote (1916-2009). In his poetry, Haynes seeks to celebrate life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness without sounding any more dissonant notes than he has to. In fiction, he works toward grasping that part of the past which made its mark on his generation. He enjoys teaching drama, especially the Greeks, Ibsen, and Shakespeare, and he devoutly hopes for a stunning literary Renaissance in South Texas.

 
 
 
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I sing a streetcar serendipity. A Poem by Marie Marshall

Marie Marshall New Orleans Poem Picjpg
 
I sing a streetcar serendipity,
pralines and beignets, king cakes and pears,
a chicken pot pie from The Pie Lady,
mango, banana, Mr. Okra’s wares.
I sing of the sweet Sweet Street Symphony,
of improvised signage by Dr. Bob,
the half-folded fan of the Marigny,
be nice or get yourself a new paint-job.
I sing Jackson, I sing Congo and Pops,
jazz, blues, Dixieland, or gospel menu,
the iPhones of the rookie female cops,
the Quarter and the Faubourg; I sing you
the Gutter Punk’s hat where a quarter drops,
the boys, the girls, the creoles and the whites,
the seedy bars, the dance that never stops,
the lost blue of days, the yellow of nights.

 
 
 
Bio – Marie Marshall (3rd person)

MM is a middle-aged Anglo-Scottish author, poet, and editor, who says little about herself, preferring to let her writing speak. She has had three novels published, two of which are for the young adult / older children readerships. Both of her collections of poetry are currently in publication. Naked in the Sea (2010) in its 2nd imprint, is available in e-book form direct from publishers P’kaboo and in Kindle version on Amazon; the 1st imprint may still be available in print, if you enquire at Masque Publishing of Littlehampton. I am not a fish, nominated for the 2013 T S Eliot Prize, may be bought direct from publishers Oversteps Books. Marie has had well over two hundred poems published in magazines, anthologies, etc., but has not submitted anything since 2013. The most unusual places in which her poetry has appeared are on the wall of a café in Wales, pinned to trees in Scottish woodland, and etched into an African drum in New Orleans Museum of Art.


 
 
 
 
 
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The Cult of Lam. A Video Poem. Sonnet by Norman Ball

 
 
Norman Ball FBP
 

 
NORMAN BALL (BA Political Science/Econ, Washington & Lee University; MBA, George Washington University) is a well-travelled Scots-American businessman, author and poet whose essays have appeared in Counterpunch, The Western Muslim and elsewhere. His new book “Between River and Rock: How I Resolved Television in Six Easy Payments” is available here. Two essay collections, “How Can We Make Your Power More Comfortable?” and “The Frantic Force” are spoken of here and here. His recent collection of poetry “Serpentrope” is published from White Violet Press. He can be reached at returntoone@hotmail.com.
 
 
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A Modest Operation of Exclusion.Sonnet. A Poem by R.W. Haynes

 
 

A modest operation of exclusion
Extracts the rain-frog from the desert sands,
The cornered mouse from his confusion,
The vaguely dreaming poet from drowsy lands,
And it even explains, eventually,
Why we do not know, even vaguely,
How we wish happiness to be.
And the operator standing by,
Whose merciful, providential hands
Make this story whole so that I
Throw such eloquence at the silent sky?
 
You see how it is. Ever since I fell
Into the Niagara from that hot-air balloon,
I dream of smiling crocodiles in Hell
Feeding me sherbet with a golden spoon.

 
 

On the Savannah River 2013

 
 
R. W. Haynes has taught literature at Texas A&M International University since 1992. His recent interests include the early British sonnet, and he is completing a second book on the Texas playwright and screenwriter Horton Foote (1916-2009). In his poetry, Haynes seeks to celebrate life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness without sounding any more dissonant notes than he has to. In fiction, he works toward grasping that part of the past which made its mark on his generation. He enjoys teaching drama, especially the Greeks, Ibsen, and Shakespeare, and he devoutly hopes for a stunning literary Renaissance in South Texas.

 
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I SEEK A FORM . . . (by Rubén Darío; translated by William Ruleman)

 
I SEEK A FORM . . .
 
(by Rubén Darío; translated by William Ruleman)
 
I seek a form my style cannot quite trace,
A bud of thought that seeks to be a rose;
A kiss upon my lips proclaims the throes
Of the Venus de Milo’s impossible embrace.
 
Green palms adorn the white peristyle like lace;
The stars have shown me a goddess in repose;
And in my soul, a sole light lingers—glows
Like the bird of the moon on a lake’s calm face.
 
And I find nothing but the word as it goes,
The flute’s initial note as it flows,
The bark of dreams that glides through infinity,
 
And under my Sleeping Beauty’s window sill,
The fountain jet that keeps on sobbing still,
The neck of the great white swan that questions me.
 
YO PERSIGO UNA FORMA . . .
 
(Rubén Darío)
 
Yo persigo una forma que no encuentra mi estilo,
botón de pensamiento que busca ser la rosa;
se anuncia con un beso que en mis labios se posa
el abrazo imposible de la Venus de Milo.
 
Adornan verdes palmas el blanco peristilo;
los astros me han predicho la visión de la Diosa;
y en mi alma reposa la luz como reposa
el ave de la luna sobre un lago tranquilo.
 
Y no hallo sino la palabra que huye,
la iniciación melódica que de la flauta fluye
y la barca del sueño que en el espacio boga;
 
y bajo la ventana de mi Bella-Durmiente,
el sollozo continuo del chorro de la fuente
y el cuello del gran cisne blanco que me interroga.

 
 
William Ruleman photo
 
 
BIO: William Ruleman’s poems and translations have appeared in many journals, including AALitra Review, Ezra, The Galway Review, The New English Review, The Pennsylvania Review, The Recusant, Rubies in the Darkness, The Sonnet Scroll, and Trinacria. His books include two collections of his own poems (A Palpable Presence and Sacred and Profane Loves, both from Feather Books), as well as translations of poems from Rilke’s Neue Gedichte (WillHall Books, 2003), of Stefan Zweig’s fiction in Vienna Spring: Early Novellas and Stories (Ariadne Press, 2010), of prose and poems by Zweig in A Girl and the Weather (Cedar Springs Books, 2014), and of poems by the German Romantics in Verse for the Journey: Poems on the Wandering Life (also from Cedar Springs Books). He is Professor of English at Tennessee Wesleyan College.LINK to William Ruleman’s Blog: http://williamruleman.tumblr.com/
 
 
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A Modest Operation of Exclusion. A Poem by R.W. Haynes

 
 
A modest operation of exclusion
Extracts the rain-frog from the desert sands,
The cornered mouse from his confusion,
The vaguely dreaming poet from drowsy lands,
And it even explains, eventually,
Why we do not know, even vaguely,
How we wish happiness to be.
And the operator standing by,
Whose merciful, providential hands
Make this story whole so that I
Throw such eloquence at the silent sky?
 
You see how it is. Ever since I fell
Into the Niagara from that hot-air balloon,
I dream of smiling crocodiles in Hell
Feeding me sherbet with a golden spoon.

 
 

On the Savannah River 2013

 
 
R. W. Haynes has taught literature at Texas A&M International University since 1992. His recent interests include the early British sonnet, and he is completing a second book on the Texas playwright and screenwriter Horton Foote (1916-2009). In his poetry, Haynes seeks to celebrate life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness without sounding any more dissonant notes than he has to. In fiction, he works toward grasping that part of the past which made its mark on his generation. He enjoys teaching drama, especially the Greeks, Ibsen, and Shakespeare, and he devoutly hopes for a stunning literary Renaissance in South Texas.

 
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Slither. Sonnet Poem by Norman Ball & Review of Serpentrope.

slither
 
“The common end of all narrative, nay of all, Poems is to convert a series into a Whole… to make… a circular motion — the snake with its Tail in its Mouth.” — Samuel Coleridge, Collected Letters IV (1815)
 
Accomplicing that plot device, surprise,
the day shone royal blue. Our Sunday walk
assumed pedestrian guise until her lies
constricted near Unending Books. In mock-
submissive tone, she sighed: “Please let me be
right here, outside our favorite used-book store.
It’s where we met. All circles close a door.
That’s symmetry — the poetess in me.”
I pondered the reflection of my self
on Austen, half-price-off; then for a song, 
the poets, ancient children, on a shelf
set up on crumpled velvet. All along,
this princess had availed a serpent-guide.
I was the frog to her formaldehyde.

 
 
Norman Ball FBP
 

 
NORMAN BALL (BA Political Science/Econ, Washington & Lee University; MBA, George Washington University) is a well-travelled Scots-American businessman, author and poet whose essays have appeared in Counterpunch, The Western Muslim and elsewhere. His new book “Between River and Rock: How I Resolved Television in Six Easy Payments” is available here. Two essay collections, “How Can We Make Your Power More Comfortable?” and “The Frantic Force” are spoken of here and here. His recent collection of poetry “Serpentrope” is published from White Violet Press. He can be reached at returntoone@hotmail.com.
 

 
(first appeared in Angle, Volume 3, Issue 2, Autumn/Winter 2014)
 
Norman Ball ‘Serpentrope’
White Violet Press, 2013
 
If I told you that most of the poems in Norman Ball’s Serpentrope are metered and rhymed, with four-fifths of them sonnets, you’d probably get the wrong idea. So we’ll consider that a bit later. Instead, let’s begin with the eclectic nature of the book.
 
I believe Serpentrope is the only poetry book published to date that contains poems on the topics of: Civil War battle fatigue; formal poetry in its relation to a famous wardrobe malfunction; and Aleister Crowley’s Cult Of Lam. The poems often display a love of detail—historic and current—as in this excerpt from ‘Observations of a Civil War Surgeon As Night Falls’:
 
Cattail and catgut duel within the marsh that dads
the Susquehanna east of York. Two minstrels,
facing off, interpret harsh conditions with guitars.
The river’s fork
 
accompanies with stiff, percussive reeds.

 
Ball’s poems stem from an obvious intelligence, and that seems appropriate. Often they mimic the way that neurophysiologists characterize our thinking process: as the firing up of nodes of meaning that excite other nodes in a sort of spreading activation, until a whole pattern of nodes—perhaps previously unconnected—fires together, leading to new connections and novel insights. None of this, according to the theory, is sentential. Sentences come later. This mental commotion underlying conscious thought is echoed in Ball’s poetry in passages such as this from the poem ‘Formal Spat ‘:
 
… One dares
not ride a colleague’s time-worn rhyme. Left-hand feet
may dangle. Diction may rankle, stubborn
with vague intent. Relax. Sonnets can’t meet
the rent with a metered stick…

 
Or this, from ‘It Was A Totter From The Start’:
 
The duty steeped itself in stand-up time, a
rope to drag the day upon itself
with busying to coax the febrile mind
from thought, to book, to browse, to empty shelf.

 
Many of Ball’s poems employ puns, allusions, and apparently unrelated content. The result is that they often excite neurons in our minds that, at least for me, are firing together for the first time. This type of mental fireworks can be fatiguing, and it may be that the best way to read Serpentrope is to limit oneself to two or three poems a day.
 
I may have mentioned that Ball’s poems take on a wide variety of subjects. Serpentrope includes poems centered on: the cartoon character Dilbert rendered in a Hilbertian sonnet; dropping poems by airplane on Afghan villagers in wartime; and ballerinas with bulimia. And often the poems render their subjects in witty, punning, allusive lines. Like these in an excerpt from the poem about Dilbert, the cartoon engineer working in a cubicle in a large corporation:
 
… Dilbert stirs this pot with lead
balloons. His poker-face is barely drawn
by nine. Outside the box, Big Bosses rake
trapped miners over coals while overhead
a phosphor-fingered entity has sawn
animal spirits squarely down to size —
three taut frames. Dilbert’s zeppelin subsides.

 
Of course, like real-world explosions, explosions of meaning can do damage if not controlled, and Ball is an explosives expert. These poems are nearly all contained in meter and rhyme, and now that you have a feel for the content, it can more fully be revealed that most of them are in sonnet form. The interplay between the subject matter, the allusions, and the forms adds another dimension to the experience of reading Ball’s work — a dimension that I believe elevates the wild content by the mere fact of being under such control.
 
Given the eclectic nature of Serpentrope (I should mention that it contains poems on the subjects of: belly fat; the fate of a member of the band REO Speedwagon; and the turbulent life of the prophet Isaiah), it should be noted that the book also contains some recurring themes.
 
The most explicit is that of the snake Ouroboros, a topic treated in several of the poems and the subject of an essay included as an appendix to the book. The image of the snake with its tail in its mouth, sometimes curled protectively around the earth and sometimes a part of it, has, according to Ball’s essay, fascinated him for years. In the poem ‘Ouroboros,’ Ball portrays the snake in a menacing way:
 
…The proper name’s Hell-
 
that cool, wrapped bitch— trite circle. Let her clasp
sweet tail in teeth. All gray divides sell
 
foot-in-mouth diversions. I will have my foe just-so.
Discrete obsession. Damn
all demons who arrive. The golden calf,
zirconia stalking horse, is lamb
 
I dressed for slaughter…

 
But it is not always so. Sometimes the snake is a hoop snake rolling along, and sometimes it is a snake completing a cosmic circle.
 
Another theme in the book is that of human relations. Serpentrope does not contain a love poem as I understand them, but there are multiple renderings of soured or difficult relations between couples. The concluding lines from the poem ‘Endure’ are one example:
 
… We gratify
what synapses are lit. Hullabaloo
is all that floats above—mere atmosphere.
What anchors? That’s a fixity less clear.

 
The reader of Serpentrope will soon see that Ball is no sentimentalist. Poetry itself forms another theme in the book. There are multiple poems on the topic of poetry, a theme that first appears in the inscription that begins the book:
 
Teach a man to write poetry
and he will starve forever.

 
Ball begins the poem ‘Twickenham Stadium’ by stating ‘I’m not so much a poet as a wit,’ and then proceeds to compare himself and his work to the career of the American baseball player Harmon Killebrew, a Hall of Famer who, nonetheless, had some years with low numbers of runs batted in. Poets writing poems about poetry can be trying, but Ball pulls it off—in this case, with extended comparisons between his work and baseball. Let’s consider two techniques that I particularly admire in Ball’s work. The first is the clever enjambment, and the second is the killer concluding couplet. One of my favorite poems in the book is the sonnet ‘At the Funeral of a Former High School Crush,’ which begins with the wonderful enjambment
 
I memorized her purple halter top to bottom…
 
The poem then describes time shared together in physics class, and concludes with this couplet that brings us back to the funeral of the title:
 
They found her with her head arrayed in glass
flung forward like a weightless, prescient gas.

 
I love that couplet. And many others in Ball’s book. One more example. In the poem ‘Slither,’ that begins with a quote from Coleridge referencing Ouroboros, the narrator learns that a walk with his lover is actually her way of finding a suitable place to terminate their relationship. She has chosen the bookstore where they met to end things in Ouroboran fashion, and the poem itself concludes:
 
… All along,
this princess had availed a serpent-guide.
I was the frog to her formaldehyde.

 
Serpentrope is a book of formal poems that really doesn’t feel like one. It treats a wide variety of topics (I should mention that Serpentrope contains poems on: the antediluvian apostasies of G. H. Pember; the difficulties in Ireland; and the nature of testimony in the aftermath of the mortgage meltdowns). There are wonderful gems, couplets, and full poems that sparkle and explode. Serpentrope is a virtuoso performance by a poet of wide-ranging intelligence whose careful use of form adds considerable impact to his work.
 
–David Davis

 
 
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