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Anton Floyd – Honey and Onions

P Anton Floyd LE P&W Vol 2 2019

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Poems by Anton Floyd

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.  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).


Honey and Onions

We never knew which of all her languages
she would use to greet us or the day.

That morning she came into the kitchen
volunteering in Egyptian Arabic how she felt,
aleasl walbasal (honey and onions).
Her broad vowels like swelling waves
and her sibilants surfing them.
Greek next. Ti einai afto;  (What is this?) 
An Irish breakfast we told her.
I prefer mulukheya. Good for the heart,
she said, adding, Queen Nefertiti’s beauty, 
her womanly strength must be attributed 
to that recette ancienne. She then promised fluency,
clarity of thought, in any language,
to anyone who tasted Nile water.

Words flew about the kitchen that morning
like flocking starlings, no, bee-eaters,
more to her liking, more like her
those gregarious, iridescent fashionistas
whose yellow, chuckling throats paint the sky.
She thought the bee eater’s markings
were the model for Cleopatra’s eyeliner.

My mother at ninety two. We could never
be sure where she was in her mind.
In lucid moments she would ask, Where am I?

Come mid-day, the stroke quelled  her breath.
Our glamorous migratory bird had gone.
We imagine her now to be beautiful
at twenty-two in Paris, Beirut, Alexandria
or Rome, living it up, refusing to answer the phone.

Innocence and Experience

im Doris(né Pascal) Holley
stepdaughter of Raymond Chandler

Funny thing is, she said
lucid as ever
and she getting on
just shy of ninety,
you know at my age
bones and the cold
are a no no
but am I so very old?
I feel the real me‘s a child,
an innocent songbird
stuck inside a cage.
Pausing then she said,
soon I will be dead
and free.

What’s not so funny
is having a child.
Believe me once I tried;
carried him to term
but he got stuck,
didn’t want to come.
My body was his cage.
Forceps delivery
the push and pull
crushed his skull.
Cried a lot after that
still do. I always think of him.
Sometimes I take my heart beat
for his quickenings

Funny what here the nurses think.
They say I should behave
and quietly to nothing sink.
Their patience with me 
I see is wearing thin.
But just look here at what I’ve got –
one foot in my grave
the other on a banana skin
and while the subject’s fruit
surely they should know
when the apple’s ripe,
nature makes the call
so for God and Newton’s sake
let me enjoy the fall.


Hurt

for ML 

Is it the dread of loneliness
drives the headlong search?
And as for love (and bliss)
if it comes, consider how
pain is the risk involved
in opening up, all the mutual
uncertainties, all the frictions
over time between being
and belonging, all the taking pains
in the burnishing of selves.
And proof is the hurt at the point
of rupture. It is a waiting game –
that ineluctable dread, impossible
to squash but necessary to tame.

Just When

for RWP

Just when clouds parted
and rain fell like crystal fire,
did sunlight or a sunlit bird
shatter the nacreous sky?

Just when clouds parted
was it luck to see the moon
eclipse the sun? This dark,
this midnight strange, at noon.

Just when clouds parted
was it moonlight falling
or a white hart
in the woodland clearing?


Blue Drift

for MU

Where the dunes stand hill-wide
rabbits have nibbled the grass.
The sea thrift’s pink glows
in the carrying calls of gulls.
Thoughts of you launched on the tide
join the estuary’s outward flow,
a blue drift to the ocean mass.
Beyond the bay the Atlantic swells.
However high the seas rise,
let them be mountainous waves,
I would ride the sea’s wild horses.
And if the sea craves
I face down the panic of vertigo,
let be. Where you lead I follow.


© Anton Floyd