Mountaineer

Mountaineer

I understand the mountaineer,
to climb Everest because it’s there,
on the peak, to gaze through snow goggle glass,
smudged by mist and dew of cloud,
to see all horizons clear,
beyond, to what no one else could ever see,
to be in that icy moment,
truly happy, truly free,
to feel that you can,
enough to say out loud,
whirl the wheel around
to wheel around again,
to watch the world
unfurl its scarlet banners in the dawn,
hear the horns of the paradise temples drone,
to say I have found the sound
that will not sound again,
to say, yes, for this I was born,
in this dawn I was born today,
I whirl the wheel around
to wheel around again,
I have found the sound
that will not sound again,
I whirl the wheel around
to wheel around again.

Forevermore

Forevermore

I saw your star ship coming,
as I was entering the door.
A little child was humming,
and rain was watering the shore.
the love I have was sailing
on seas forevermore.

I knew I was not dreaming,
the intervening was to be.
My brown tea pot was steaming,
and glowed with more meaning to me.
Bright Sirius was shining
above my apple tree.

I felt the knots re-tying,
my table expecting to share
space with a guest still flying,
while slow inspecting with care.
Mystic science was knowing
what beauty you can bear.

Orion’s belt was guiding,
as it was glittering and fair.
The time had gone for hiding,
and for sharp splintering a hair.
I felt my face was smiling,
cheerful in my chair.

Time tuned to time transcending,
wheels were unwinding on the floor.
Steep steps we were ascending
for the finding of the core,
and nothing now was failing
to be forevermore.

Odd Peg

Odd Peg

First birds she heard in the dawn,
found an odd peg lying on the lawn
that must have fallen from the line,
left forgotten, sodden by the rain,
trodden deeper in the ground,
so sad and silent, but then,
an odd peg cannot make a sound.
She stooped, picked it up,
put it in her peg bag in her shed,
bunched it with the other pegs,
thought of all the things
that had come and fled,
but now that odd peg
would help her hang out
her clothes and sheets on the line,
so once again, it would shine,
when the weather’s dry and fine.
And she said to one she could not see:
Sorry it was me and not the one
you wanted me to be.
Sorry it was me but I was not sorry it was you,
for it was you I was looking for.
It was you I wanted to see
when I opened the door.
Sorry I was just another shell on the ocean shore,
just another cherry in the market store.
Sorry I could tell that you wanted more.
Sorry for the things that we never did,
sorry for the things ever to be hid.
Sorry for this odd peg I found on the ground.
It cannot cry, for it cannot make a sound,
but when I hang my clothes and sheets on the line,
like me, once again it will shine,
when the weather’s dry and fine.

The Vision of the Peacock

The Vision of the Peacock

The gambler in the aviary
watched a peacock spread its tail.
If he tried to paint such colours,
he knew that he would fail.

Later, he opened his wardrobe,
to find all his coats were frayed,
but was pleased with what he had won
with the last card he had played.

On Mississippi river boats,
in casinos late at night,
he had silently let all other players
think the laws of chance and luck
they had precariously got right,
until in the final moment,
he had made his secret move,
and for the first time he was noticed,
a winner with nothing left to prove.
He was still searching for that clock
that told another time,
and he knew everything would change
when he heard it chime.
And it would be for the better,
and not for the worse,
for those who won through treachery
would find things happen in reverse.

And the vision of the peacock,
the beauty of the colours in its tail,
told him that though his aim was high,
there was a chance he would not fail.

And he knew it all depended
on the hand that spun the wheel,
and the cards that he was given,
and what he wanted to make real.

The peacock in the aviary
taught him with its tail,
though high beauty had its mystery
towards it he could sail.

Nothing Is Invisible

Nothing Is Invisible

Nothing is invisible
to the eye clear and cleansed to see.
Any abstract notion
can be constructed in the air
and observed to be.
This city in my mind
is not the kind
you can get to on a train,
but I can see it if I try,
and everyone who lives there
is happy as any bird
nest building in a tree.

And when you go
as a pilgrim to its pyramid temple,
inside becomes the paradise
you want it to be,
and you can kneel
to what you want to see.
And when you open the door of your house,
the person you thought
lost and chained in your past
smiles towards you free.

Everything is incredible,
when the eye is clear and cleansed to see.
Nothing is invisible,
when on the network of canals,
you can navigate your barge,
and to each gate you have the key.

Roundabout

Roundabout

Meet you at the roundabout,
round about seven,
if you cannot meet me then,
round about eleven.
Round about the roundabout,
I will meet you there.
Have no doubt the roundabout
will lead us to the fair.
Meet you at the roundabout
while we have ground to share.

Meet you at the roundabout,
and if you cannot see me,
go round the roundabout,
until you have wound round
the roundabout enough to have no doubt
you have gone round the roundabout
at least once and if you do not see me,
you will know I have yet
to come to the roundabout,
but I will not forget
to meet you at the roundabout.
So if you get there first,
it is best to wait at one bend
of the roundabout
to send the signal that
you are not in doubt
that I will meet you at the roundabout,
and if I am there before you,
I will wait at the roundabout,
to meet you at the roundabout,
until I see you coming round the roundabout
to meet me at the roundabout.

On second thoughts,
it might be best to meet in the square.
It only has four corners,
whereas the roundabout has none,
being round, and the roundabout
may make you wonder
who has come and who has gone,
but in the square, at one of its four corners,
I will simply see you there,
then together we could take the path
that will lead us to the fair,
but if in doubt,
I could still meet you at the roundabout.
Somehow I will meet you there,
somewhere round about the roundabout,
much better than saying anywhere,
which could lead to never and nowhere.
No, I am now clear of every doubt,
I will meet you somewhere
round about the roundabout.

My Review of The Queen Of Metaphors: The Tongue Of My Muse by Anahit Arustamyan

My Review of The Queen Of Metaphors: The Tongue Of My Muse by Anahit Arustamyan

( Available as a paperback and as an E-book on Amazon. )
( First posted on Goodreads, Amazon.UK and Amazon.com )

Anahit Arustamyan writes like no other. She is a real one, a true poet, I think. She has created her own corner to write in, free of all other styles and schools. Prose poems, she calls her works, which is what they are. They are never prosaic, however, but always pure poetry, high and fine. Each of her works is presented as a short paragraph with the occasional use of rhyme, The rhymes always seem natural, never forced. Only she knows how she came to write in her unique prose poem style. An original voice such as hers is rare and deserves to be heard by many. In her lines, her spirit speaks. She writes from the root, not the surface. The hurt in her heart, caused by sorrows in her past and that of her land of Armenia, she reveals in her prose poems, but also her love of life and her desire to venture into new places and experiences.
It does not matter to me what form a poem is written in, from the sonnet to the haiku to free verse with no capital letters or punctuation, it is memorable, quotable lines that makes a poem stand out and last. There is the old complaint, said in jest, that the problem with the works of William Shakespeare is that they are full of quotes. That is one reason why his works have lasted, they are alive with memorable, quotable lines. All the poets, ancient and modern, that have endured, had the same rare gift, they could write lines that you feel glad to have read and want to remember. What marks the work of Anahit Arustamyan out for me, apart from her original prose poem style, is her gift to write memorable, quotable lines. It is one you can only be born with, not be taught.
“Let’s drop some mint into our sour wine!” So she writes in her prose poem, We Have Talk With Our Time, included in her new book, The Queen Of Metaphors: The Tongue Of My Muse, to encourage and inspire her fellow writers of her time. A line that to me is a poem in itself. Each of her prose poems contain such memorable lines.
My Wandering Muse, My Lyrical Tongue, The Phantom’s Dolphin, her first three books, I found a pleasure to read and review. Her new book is wonderful, too. I like that in her prose poems her spirit does not dwell on itself alone. It comes as a pleasant shock when from a prose poem about her inner life, her regrets and longings, she turns her attention outward, to focus on the plight of illegal immigrants, for example, or the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers of New York, or the tragic time in the history of her own land, which she refers to as the Armenian genocide. In one prose poem, she writes movingly of the history of her home city, Yerevan. “I have bound my spine to your sculpted neck,” she tells Yerevan. “My proud city, you never knelt.”
In some ways her works remind me of the meditative poems of China and Japan I have read in English translation. In a prose poem called Bound To My Eyes, for example, I particularly liked the line: “No winter leaves at once as the sky admires its icy moustache.” Another prose poem begins with the wonderful Oriental verse sounding line: “Look! These snowflakes are flying like white butterflies.” Some of her lines conjure images as strange as those in a surrealist painting, like this one: “Life is a mirage riding a scooter.” I was moved by her poem for her father, another for her mother. I liked the serenity of Sail My Dreams, in which she states: “My violin will sound in your rain.” In one prose poem, she warns: “The Armenian Genocide happened long ago but any forgiven crime forges another bloody sword.”
I rarely read a novel more than once, even those I like best, but a good poem I can return to again and again. I have found that because the prose poems of Anahit Arustamyan are rarely clear, direct, but more like riddles, mazes, each time I read one of them again it is as if it was for the first time. That is rare, indeed. I like the title of her new book, The Queen Of Metaphors. To me, it could have two meanings. It could refer to the poet herself as the queen of metaphors or to the queen of Metaphors, being an ancient, forgotten city in Greece. I like the cover of her book, too. It is a mysterious blur of a picture, of a woman in a long white dress, stepping out of what looks like the tangle of a wood, towards the onlooker.
There is always a sadness I feel when reading or reviewing a poetry book, knowing that not many people write and like to read poetry. Perhaps those that do ought to realise what that means and seek each other out and support each other more. A poet with a voice as original as that of Anahit Arustamyan deserves to be heard, not by a few, but by many.