Thursday, October 1, 2020




Nobody can survive if one wishes to take up poetry as a profession. There is no money or earnings in publishing poetry either in printed form or on over the internet in digital format. Actually, there is no demand for poetry in our society. People seldom spends money to buy poetry books. Even if we buy, the volume of total annual purchase is so small that it will never turn into adequate profit for the publishers. So, publishers are not in a position where they can pay poets adequately enough to meet up with the living standards of the writers. Such an unfortunate story for the entire civil society. A creative brilliance like poetry has little importance in our society. Even the educated circle of the elite social class has little or no interest for poetry. These are the ground realities of publication poetry books. All successful poets are associated with various professions. According to the economic standards of their professions they maintain the living standards. And most of the time those professions are not related with anything about literary creativities at all.  Even in this twenty-first century the situation has worsened much further. Earlier there were always few publishers who dared to invest capital into publishing poetry books. But in this new millennium situation has changed drastically. If you want to see your poetry published in printed books, you have to finance the entire cost on your own. Moreover, it has become the order of the day to entice poets to invest in publishing their own books. The publisher has nothing to lose out of the venture. Only to gain a handsome margin out of poet’s investment. So, one can find numerous publishers who’ll offer different lucrative schemes for self-financing. Ironically too many poets are more than willingly fall into this trap of self-publishing. 

Yes, self-publishing is a trap for any poet. One can hardly recover the investment out of it. Moreover, any product requires successful marketing. It can never be the job of a poet. It requires great professional skills. The publisher will not entertain the sales. So, instead of working on poetry, now a self-financer poet will have to work on sales of his or her own book. This should never be an ideal condition for any literary creativity. Most unfortunately, we have stepped into this vicious circle of self-financing and publishing of poetry books.  And if we do not want to fall into this trap, we can never publish our own poetry books. So, there is no alternative choice in between this trap of self-financing and not publishing poetry books.

Basically we, even the educated section of the society is very much reluctant about spending much on poetry. The common herds of the people will remain unwilling to spend on poetry books. This cumulative attitude is the main obstacle and the prime cause for lack of demands for poetry books. People will even stand in queues in front of liquor shops for hours rather than to purchase any poetry book. Wine is not at all an essential consumable product especially in tropical countries. Yet production and sales of wine never declines. So basically, it is a choice of common people whether or not to spend at all on purchasing poetry books. And until and unless the common interest for poetry grows, we can never come out of this trap of self-publishing. It’ll never lead us to anywhere at all.

Self-publishing will remain as the consolation prize of a poet, if the poet can afford the cost of investment which will never bring any profit at all. We can only post on our social media’s walls about our ventures. We’ll even send copies of our own books to the virtual friends around the world. Few people will recognize our literary skills and will go through the poetry books. Sometimes invitations to participate in world poetry festivals will also come to us. All these can happen if we go on venturing in self-publishing. Yet it can never help anyone as a profession for living hood. Actually, nobody bothers about writing poetry as a profession. Everybody remains pleased only to be recognized socially as a poet. We can only seek this consolation from our literary creativities.

Now how many of us have ever considered this fact that this wish to be recognized as a poet in our social acclaim will never actually lead us to anywhere beyond establishing a temporary personal identity as a creative being. Yes, few people around us will recognize us as a poet. Even without ever reading a single line of our poems they can acclaim us as poets. This mere recognition as a poet will never serve literature of the world. People will forget us beyond our wall posts on the social medias. So those self-financed books wouldn’t save our literary creativity beyond our lifetime. Isn’t it just useless if ever we consider literature as the highest creative brilliance of human mind and wisdom?

In this millennium and with this age of information and technology we can establish only a personal identity of being a poet. This way we can never serve the cause of literature as our predecessors have served during the last five centuries. I think at least few of us should start considering these facts honestly. Otherwise the standard of world literature will continue to decline rapidly in near future. The next generations will be born in a void. Literature will become a mere tool of getting recognized personally in the society. If we for once stepped into this colossal abyss, I’m afraid we would lose the essence of humanity becoming only the rearguards of information and technology. A resurrection is need to save our literature and social humanity. Otherwise we’ll never come out off this trap.

We at Our Poetry Archive are working relentlessly to popularize poetry among common people around the world. We hope our work will pave the way to consolidate this kind of endeavors among others. Which will in turn bring the much-needed resurrection to save literature and social humanity. 

With this edition of OPA, we are glad enough to introduce poet NATASHA XHELILI of Albania as the poet of the month. She has finished her studies for Albanian language and literacy in the University of Eqrem Cabej, in the city Gjirokaster. She wrote her first poem at the young age of 10, but her first anthology was published in the year 2000. She writes proses, poems and expresses her critical opinion on different matters, and a variety of publications from this time period. She has participated in a few literature anthologies. Natasha has poems published in Albanian, English, Italian, and Macedonian. Let’s hope our readers will enjoy both her interview with poet Aprila Zank of Germany and her poems along with the whole issue consisting of more than hundreds of poems of the poets all over the world. 


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APRILIA ZANK: According to the American poet Robert Frost, “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”

Can, in your opinion, all thoughts be 'translated' into words?

NATASHA XHELILI: Poetry is the oldest type of literary creativity. It conveys the poet's feelings and experiences of various phenomena reality or of the lyrical unit, expressed in a particular form, which has evolved over time. Emotions are written in certain moments for the poet. He tries to shape thoughts through words, and verses. The moment of inspiration is not a definite moment of the day, of the week, of the month, of the year. It is a unique moment that we must grasp at once, it is a window that opens and allows us to look beyond it, with a different perspective, with a different mentality. Can I express all my thoughts in verse? Certainly not. Many thoughts wander in the poet’s mind until they gain the status of inspiration. Not all thoughts can do that. Just a few of them.  The great Albanian poet Lasgush Poradeci said: “To make a good verse takes a lot, a lot of time. One life is not enough to make beautiful poems.” Based on this saying, it is easy to understand that poetry is not the simplest way to express thoughts.

APRILIA ZANK: The English romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley once wrote: “Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar.”

Can you explain how poetry unveils the hidden beauty of the world?

NATASHA XHELILI: Poetry is not just a kind of writing. Poetry is a deep thought, which describes every line, giving life to even the simplest words. Poetry does not only come from magnificent spaces or objects, but manages to show us through verses about how high and beautiful values can become small and insignificant things in our eyes. These values are the hidden beauties of the world, they are places where few people manage to walk and they are small doors, for which no one deserves to find the key to enter, as they seem fragile and incomparable in front of the doors of life. But behind these fragile doors you will find not only the illumination of a star, but of a universe. You will find light and darkness together. You will go through thousands of paths, confused by the secrets that can be hidden in a small object in the vast world. These are the corners of true beauty. These feelings tell us that even the things we think we know are in fact so unknown to us. This is poetry. It reveals to us in the best way our feelings and thoughts. Every line and word of hers is filled with memories and impressions that have left deep traces of the poet. It tries to show the strongest experiences that an event or thing has left, unbelievable for the reader. Poetry can lift the veil in our eyes that prevents us from seeing the special in the simple. She can reveal more of what we know and hide in her verses something bigger than what we know, something really beautiful!

APRILIA ZANK: The American poet of English origin W. H. Auden was convinced that, "A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language."

Do you think that poetic language should always be refined and cultivated, or may it also be rough and raw if necessary?

NATASHA XHELILI: Language is the strongest weapon in the work of a poet. She recognises the most distant and unused forms. As is well known the language of everyday communication has a small limit to the use of words, so the dictionary seems to exist only potentially, without being able to use all its power. Poets are the greatest deliverers of language. They bring to their poetry an admirable variety of vocabulary, bringing at the same time words and nuances of little-used words or to a limited circle of users. It should be added here that poets are also creators of new words that arise from the poetic context and are then embraced by readers and become part of the communicative vocabulary. At this point poetry and the poet have successfully accomplished their task towards language and speech. Poetic language recognizes all levels of language used as a whole from the cultivated to the vulgar. Of course, it depends on the poet and the poetry he writes. There are poets who use a refined language required by a refined reader who is well acquainted with the language, there are others who prefer to write in a simple language, understood by all. In both cases the poem acquires certain colors which are conveyed to the reader in different ways.

APRILIA ZANK: Please consider the following statement of the English scholar and poet A. E. Housman: "Even when poetry has a meaning, as it usually has, it may be inadvisable to draw it out ... Perfect understanding will sometimes almost extinguish pleasure."

Do you write or prefer explicit poetry with an obvious meaning or message, or rather more cryptic, challenging poetry?

NATASHA XHELILI: This is a beautiful question. Every poem is a reluctant moment in art. A moment that will live on in eternity. It is difficult to explain and understand this moment. Reminiscences from the poet's thoughts in that sublime cast, to be understood with a reading of his poetry? The links created, their decipherment lose the taste of poetry. Maybe it is better to get lost in the beauty and magic of words, without killing the mind too much. Thus we gain the aesthetic pleasure of reading a beautiful poem. Even poetry written in simple words that reveals experiences or events clearly expressed, without implication has its importance, which should not be denied.  I prefer to write mysterious poems, poems that do not say everything, to stimulate the reader's imagination and turn it into a re-reading of poetry, convinced that every time he returns he discovers new sensations and creates an infinity of conjectures. . Poetry by its very nature is challenging with the thought it conveys. After all this is true poetry. It synthesizes a whole world in a few verses. I read ten-page analysis for a poem with 5-6 verses.  Different literary currents sometimes measured the form and sometimes the content, sometimes expressed openly and sometimes hermetically, depending on the formation of the poets and their creative nature. Everything that flows from the fountains of poetry in the form of visible surface springs or as groundwater is equally valuable and will nourish the human world with calm and storm, with love and selfishness, with new light and perspectives.

APRILIA ZANK: "Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason.", Is a famous quote by the German romanticist and philosopher Novalis.

To what extent can poetry have a therapeutic effect?

NATASHA XHELILI: The reason is objective. It guides us to the right decisions, but always contrary to feelings. When they are placed opposite each other, reason generally triumphs. In such cases, the feelings are the ones that are hurt and are not at all light wounds, as the heart is more simply touched and shaken more strongly. If it is the reason that made man, it is the feeling that directs him - said Zh. Zh. Rousseau. If we lose the sense, we have lost direction and as a result we will always have oscillations, which only weaken the person. Wounds caused by reason can be renewed by a deep source of feelings, the best example of which is poetry itself. Poetry can speak more than what it shows if read by a person with a great deal of concern. It becomes his mirror that reflects the wounds, but with them also the medicine. A few words can change everything, if they are right and if they are used at the right moment, it is enough to get lost in their verses and every time you will find pieces of feelings that will heal the wounded place of the soul. Poetry is the words you never said or the tears you could never shed. Poetry can be directed at yourself. When faced with such personal facts, self-confidence increases. Without realizing it, every wound has healed and now it is up to time, it will heal completely. Besides her, everything was the effect of poetry, the effect of the inner voice, which motivates you to find the strength to care for the wounds of the heart. It was simply the effect of a few words, but inspired by true feelings. Poetry can reach this point.

APRILIA ZANK: According to Salvatore Quasimodo, an Italian poet and literary critic, "Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal which the reader recognizes as his own."

Is, in your opinion, the poet primarily a personal voice, or rather the echo of his fellow beings?

NATASHA XHELILI: Left alone in front of the world, the poet raises the alarm of loneliness that is increasingly invading the human being. Universal loneliness has become a hot topic in literature, as well as in other arts. Even though he lives in society, man feels small, lonely and powerless. The poet is first and foremost a man, endowed with the ability to look at the world differently and that makes him special. When he writes, showing his perception of the world, he reveals to the reader a world he owns, which he calls his own. When the reader is acquainted with this point of view, he regains something new, which has been before his eyes and he has not felt it, but which already exists for him. The poet is first and foremost a personal voice, which may or may not be embraced by a large mass of people. This relates to whether or not he is fully understood by his readers and whether they share the same opinion with him in the delicate moments of the life of a nation or a social group.

APRILIA ZANK: The American literary critic M. H. Abrams asserted that, "If you read quickly to get through a poem to what it means, you have missed the body of the poem."

Do you also think readers need to be educated as to how to go through a poem? If 'yes', in which way?

NATASHA XHELILI: Poetry is not a readable creation. It is the highest degree of poetic art. It is read calmly, with full concentration. There are times when you need to read it several times to understand it. To reach the level of full reading of a poem you have to be a good reader. This thing is cultivated since childhood. The book should be an inseparable friend of man. It is also necessary to have a good guide on this path, to recommend it in reading books according to age, but at the same time following the trend by constantly updating. On various literary sites on the Internet there are recommendations for books that should definitely be read, but we must not forget that these are personal tastes and should not be accepted as a priority. One must first read the classics, the undisputed, which are included in the literature classes in the textbooks. Even when one of them seems boring, we have to go back to reading it to find there the magic that has classified it as such. A book that does not meet your requirements as a reader, that is not to your taste, do not read. It is just a waste of time. I would trust a close person who has always read and knows the book, a teacher who knows how to talk about a book he has read, a peer with whom I exchange books. However personal tastes should not be abandoned; a book that is beautiful to you, does not need to be recommended.

APRILIA ZANK: Let us now consider the words of American songwriter and poet Jim Morisson: "If my poetry aims to achieve anything, it's to deliver people from the limited ways in which they see and feel."

Can you please tell us how poetry can be / become educational?

NATASHA XHELILI: Starting from the first steps of education, special attention is paid to human aesthetic education. This is where the meeting with beauty, art, poetry begins. Education in itself aims to create the imagination, taste, desire and will of man for beauty in art, at work and in life, then his ability to see, experience, appreciate, cultivate, admire and, finally, also to create beauty himself according to the followed examples of the created idea. "The key to education in general is beauty education," says Schiller. Beauty can only be perceived by the soul and has only spiritual value. Walking in its footsteps, we can understand the beauty of life and enjoy it properly. Poetry is definitely part of beauty. Education with its values goes through all stages of life and is cultivated in the best way by following the rhythm of time, being updated, without being separated from the book, making it a permanent part of daily activity, no matter how busy it is. To experience the moments, as they come, with all their intensity even though they can be joy, sorrow, boredom, worry, sadness, melancholy, admiration, everything that life can bring. In these delicate moments, seeking refuge in poetry that can accompany your feeling with the same rhythm, that is, be it happy, sad, etc., or can oppose it with its strength, is the best solution.

APRILIA ZANK: The British-American poet T. S. Eliot claimed that, "Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood."

Do you sometimes / often experience 'love at first sight' for poems that you have not understood immediately / completely?

NATASHA XHELILI: Poetry is part of beauty. It is not just words, it is above all rhythm, a secret song that springs from the depths of the soul. This song, like a lullaby, sings of the infancy of humanity, its evolution, the life story of the expression of feelings. I'm in love with poetry, with its rhythm, with the word it plays in it like in a hide-and-seek game, in which there are well-hidden players we can't find. Each verse is like a magic wand that reveals the world before my eyes.  I am in love with our Epic (Songs of the Knights), with the martial poetry of the great Whitman, with the theories of Aliger, with the fragile love of Petrarca, with the Spleen of Baudelaire, with the ubiquitous Freedom of Paul Elyar. All inaccessible at first. They just came to me with the miracle of verses. With the created figures, with the rebellion, with the purity of the word, with the greatness of the lyrical unit they distributed. Going deep into their verse, I discover every day that secret song that makes me marvel and admire them.

APRILIA ZANK: Paul Valéry, a French poet, essayist, and philosopher, said: "A poem is never finished, only abandoned."

Do you also think that the final 'embodiment' of a poem happens in the mind of the reader?

NATASHA XHELILI: The boundaries of a poem are indefinite. There are poems with two verses and poems with whole pages. Each with its own value and beauty. They taste the same, without thinking about length. A piece of thought that awakens hundreds of dreams, imaginations, feelings. Reality running in your naked eyes, releasing the feeling of beauty. The poet includes a moment of inspiration in his poetry. This moment knows no bounds. It is unrepeatable and goes to infinity. Taste in the reader's consciousness remains from the moment it is read. Then it repeats and repeats after each reading. This embodies poetry. He gives her a body, limbs, face, fills her with dreams, opens her buds and leaves, flowers and fruits. It seems that everything happens in the mind of the reader, but let us not forget the designer of this new "being" in the world: the poet. In this way he influences the reader's mind a little, creates for him a kind of paradise, a secret destination full of known and unknown things, which pushes him towards the forbidden limits with unstoppable courage.

APRILIA ZANK: The famous British-Indian writer Salman Rushdie believes that, "A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep."

Should, in your opinion, poetry have a strong social and / or militant component?

NATASHA XHELILI: It seems that poets have their world and they do not care much about the environment where they live, but we must not forget that poets are sensitive people, they see beyond the walls, beyond the facades, beyond the appearance of events and people. Their rebellion against the environment in which they live is justified. They do not tolerate pressure. Their outbursts are strings that break the chains of silence and patience, they are full of protest and anti-conformism. Writers who have gained some status as such, have a civic responsibility to be involved and abide by the delicate moments of history. They are not simple chroniclers, witnesses of events, they are idols found on the front line, lifting the hearts of warriors, singing to war heroes and heroes of the day. Their poems turn into hymns sung by whole generations. Poets have shown their attitude towards injustices even when their life as Pablo Neruda has been in question or they have been killed because of their convictions as Federico Garcia Lorca. Poetry is a reflection of life, so it cannot stay out of its problems. Sometimes it is used to reveal the ideas and attitudes of different authors regarding certain issues. Of course, this should not be an end in itself.

APRILIA ZANK: The poetic credo of the highly influential American poet Maya Angelou was the following: "The poetry you read has been written for you, each of you - black, white, Hispanic, man, woman, gay, straight."

Do you also think that your poetry addresses a large and varied audience?

NATASHA XHELILI: Every poem is addressed to a wide audience. Everyone who reads it feels involved. At that moment the connection is created between the poet and the reader. He has created a world and seeks to include as many people as possible in it. There are readers who feel more involved while reading it and think that poetry is addressed to them. But this is not true. The poet does not write for a certain audience, he wants his poetry to be read by everyone. The poet is melted away from prejudices, with an open mind, therefore the object of his point of view can be anything and everyone, regardless of whether the storms of the moment select someone. My poetry is poetry written for everyone, regardless of gender, nation, race, culture, religion. First of all, I turn to man and seek him in all the hidden recesses of the human being even when he (man) hides from himself. I want to be positive in my verses, to show people that life is beautiful, there is always a way out, just look for it.

NATASHA XHELILI: She completed her higher education at the University "Eqerem Cabej" Gjirokastra in the branch of Albanian language and literature. She wrote her first poem at the age of 10, but she published her first cycle of poetry in 2000. Writes prose, poetry and expresses her critical opinion on literary phenomena and directions of the time in the periodical literary press as well as in various online media. Collaborates in the publication of the children's magazine "Rainbow plus" in Macedonia. She is a participant in several poetic anthologies of poetry. She has published poetry in English, Italian and Macedonian. Won the First Prize for short story in Tetovo Macedonia.  2013 publishes the first book of poetry "Mountain sees a dream” 2014 volume with stories: "The curtain of the evening".  2016 volume of poetry: "Tears of Fire” 2019 volume with stories for children "Lullabies of the Moon"  2020 the book with literary reviews "Traces of speech" For several years she was vice president of the Saranda Ionian Creators Club.



Hope In The Dark

The whole world locked in front of the screen
Stalking the movements of the alien, COVID-19.
Possessed with fright, anxiety, terror
No one moves
In the lifeless streets, the echo of emptiness rings.
And the outstretched line of saviours arrive in scout cars.
Between the streams of tears
Heroes emerge from the gloomy bosom of the world
Ripping the black curtain of mourn
In their hearts are the mortal prayers of the people.
Rays of hope, explode into the abyss
Opening the chained gates,
The drums of war rise above the silent predator.
Flowers of a late spring blooming as
Owners of the sky peck into the hearts of civilians
Discovering the radiant thread of Ariana,
Abandoning the daunting labyrinth
We take upon the shining path of life

A Light Dance.

The night oscillations shake the sun,
Forcing the stars to flash with every movement.
A dream washes away the celestial gaze,
And a fairy tale only shows half of it.
The moon's darkness invades shore,
Almost like a persistent passer-by.
As the days proceed on the calendar,
The spread of light conquers
And the night is fades.
Crossroads capture the sun's rising,
Over starry night, charring it
From a nefarious place of fire
Blazing the horse of wind, that feeds the flames.
Follow me, and sway with luminosity.
As if pictures, memories come to light,
And then load on the back of shady night.
Resting the memories as the mind floods,
And the pounding heartbeat
Raises the stars again, to shake the sun down.
The lost planet
The loneliness that surrounds you
Is soul trembling
The irregular routine
Stifle the joy of sleeping
The slowest of steps
Numb the troubled silence
A storm of affection
Ends over the far horizon.
The awakening of the new day
Cause the lingering words to age
Without handcuffs, chains, keys,
In the window of life
There are no lily chirps
In the vast heavens
By spaceship
We wait to discover

A Lost Planet.

We embarked on a journey
We both,
Towards newer paths
In the season of the heart
I follow your pace
You follow my pace
Like dancing following a rhythm
The spaces we discover
Unfound borders
From my shoulders, slip the troubles of the day
I’m in your sky
You’re in my sky
Like the stars of the galaxy
We are harshly released
We do not know fear
At each other’s farthest ends
I am your beginning and end
You are my beginning and end
Like the blind


NATASHA XHELILI: Born in Krahes of Tepelene. Finished studies for Albanian language and literacy in the University of Eqrem Cabej, in the city Gjirokaster. She wrote her first poem at the young age of 10, but her first anthology was published in the year 2000. She writes proses, poems and expresses her critical opinion on different matters, and a variety of publications from this time period. She has participated in a few literature anthologies. Natasha has poems published in Albanian, English, Italian, and Macedonian. Published Books : The Mountain sees a  dream. Poems The Curtain of evening. Stories Tears of fire. Poems. Lullabies Of The Moon. Stories For Children.



Sister Lost

A sister lost
to a mad-weave calamity,
hanging off the platform,
an ego-dream of dumb self-importance
- the war on truth that
masks its face as though it were truth,
but is only a gate to an easy explanation,
a system of hellish accusations and propped
up pillars of false justice, combating fake forms
urging anger forefront, poisoning
by such a sure promise of victory.

I send you sleeping sister. You say
I am sleeping and you twist your conspiracy theories
into a cloak of great magnitude, condescend,
so confident of your place of holy honour.
You jumped over the mark, missed it
and plunged into an upside-down dream of realty.

Once, a sister, a comrade, an unbreakable bond, broken.
I cannot see you. You cannot see the evil
you have wrapped in fool’s gold,
claiming righteousness
as you measure your worth
by this aggressive attack on truth, denying
the wind, a child’s cry, a mother’s redemption.

Sister, I loved you, I still do,
but you have crossed the line.
It is terrifying to watch.
It is a shock to finally see
who you have become.
You took the plunge
long before I accepted your choice.

By your choice, your inner conflict
became an accelerant bile-fire,
you became a plurality, parts, parts
condemned to feed off
intellectual Jell-O,
find entertainment, immaculate purpose
in unbalanced passions and impulses,
claiming a cure by creating a disease.


I bore the yoke,
surging against the assault,
counted the thin space that buffered me
from disaster.

At the beginning there was obedience
but also the certainty of great heights.
After years of being unable to stretch,
there are no more prophecies or ranks to aim for
or glory for a future horizon.

The unknown is dense and impassable
as a steel sealed curtain.

Maybe here I can learn what Jesus always knew –
that prayers are speeches of the greatest importance
but listening holds more sway,
that obedience to God
is the only currency-exchange, must be
the authority of each steps taken,
is the root determination of peace
or anguish.

The first time I held out my hand,
I expected tangible abundance,
fruit, seeds, candy.
Now I hold out my hand
and hope only
to keep it open.

The air is light, causing no pressure, no trembling.
It is easy in its emptiness,
lacking anticipation, lacking
a future, past comparison.


Shining Hector
Man-killer Hector
Hector, prince of the walled city,
lover of loyalty, prized invincible,
devoted, never set adrift by lust or changing distractions.

Hater of war Hector
Warrior Hector, protector
of a worthy ideal, a harvest of fulfilment,
wealth for all, raining down from your native desert sky.
Husband on a private balcony, holding time still
for declarations of love as the flooding enemy-army neared,
gathering its hero-giants and enraged half-gods,
sealed in indestructible armour.

Hector, son of Queen Hecuba and King Priam, brother
to reckless sweat-hearted Paris.
Father of an infant babe, Hector,
who feared death like every other, ran and was chased,
then finally stood alone, willingly, facing his murderer,
knowing the result like knowing the lunatic gods, how
they etch out each mortal’s destiny
on the inkpad of their erratic whims.

Never marked or bruised, your corpse above ground
for eleven days, still fresh as when your soul first departed.
Your father begged to bury you, winning this small mercy,
you were buried, sacred rites restored.

You were mourned for your perfect beauty,
(their defender lost, their defeat inevitable).
You were loved for your strength,
the kind derived from clear-cut purity,
a rare internal moral code.

Glorified, the tale of Hector,
outliving millenniums,
outlasting countless other heroes.

Hector of the soft dark hair, golden helmet, shining.

Hell Seen

Unseen, the darkness is a tsunami gateway,
engulfing every fragment of will,
builds unexpected, a shock of water filling
the lungs, chaos infesting every corner of the mind,
rational thought on fire, cindering, seared by
loveless insanity.

This is the inheritance that must be thrown overboard,
tossed like a corpse that is plagued with a contagion.
No room for sentimental mercy which is not mercy,
only a longing for comfort that in the end
compromises protective barriers that must be upheld.
All ties must be cut and loyalty to God,
the only link left.

I visited hell, shadows grabbing my every corner of flesh,
loneliness like an amputated limb,
released and thrashing, abandoned
from its fertile blood source.
I was afraid, every cell drenched in horror.
I had no voice, no substance.
I was shown hell, experienced hell
a flood, a plummeting   down  down

Even in that evil landscape,
my loved ones saved me,
prayers said outloud saved me,
and the haunting loosened its hold.

Now seen, I see
there is only God or hell -
God or
anguish, anxiety, blunt force destruction,
pounding torment, a rotting waste.
God and
life embraced,
a rapturous and difficult glory.

Mercy without Miracles and
Miracles without Mercy

A day 2,500 years ago
and life was the same, struggling
to understand God and fate
and how the stars may hold
prediction but lack all means
of mercy. For mercy
was an evening without power, was weak
as was seen
the majesty of forgiveness.

It was before Jesus came as sibling, as friend,
revealing the depths of God’s grace, the redemption
in surrender and late evening devotion, breathing
with the direction of the wind, open to hardships
as to miracles, orchestrated by a loving hand.

First God was many in our minds,
segregated, dissected, tangled with human
hypocrisies, pride and jealousies.
Then God was one in our minds,
higher, mightier than death, closer still,



let us hold God in our arms, be held like
a tiny flower head is held by a child’s hand,
cupped, yellow buttercup, glowing,
treasured by God, each of us,
a necessary and loved creation.

Back then, even great minds glimpsed
such profound greenery,
but could not complete the joy.

Jesus is
humanity’s completion with God,
connection, void of complications,
like an infant’s first smile or that infant,
growing, learning,
holding out her arms,
saying your name.


ALLISON GRAYHURST is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Five times nominated for “Best of the Net”, 2015/2017/2018, she has over 1260 poems published in over 500 international journals. She has 21 published books of poetry, six collections and six chapbooks. She lives in Toronto with her family. She also sculpts, working with clay;