Anna Saunders” “Golden Chain”

 

 

 

GOLDEN CHAIN

At 13 you lay with him on the grass
looking up at the trees’ cascade of saffron fire

as he tells you it is called Golden Chain
he turns and touches your blonde hair, smiling.

The flowers are sheeney
yellow mouths with extended tongues,
something else you cannot name yet.

How could you resist reaching
for the flaxen stalactites
pendant from the tree.

Afterwards sickness,
your body writhing in the night

learning what love is – reaching to the sky,
ripping flowers from the bough
eating, hungrily.

Then the sleeplessness, the aching heart.

 

All parts of the common laburnum are poisonous – the bark, roots, leaves and especially the seed pods. They contain the alkaloid toxin cytisine. Consumption of this can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, frothing at the mouth, convulsions and even death through paralysis

 

 

About the Author: Anna Saunders is the author of Communion, (Wild Conversations Press), Struck, (Pindrop Press) Kissing the She Bear, (Wild Conversations Press), Burne Jones and the Fox (Indigo Dreams) and Ghosting for Beginners (Indigo Dreams, Spring 2018). Anna has had poems published in journals and anthologies, which include Ambit, The North, New Walk Magazine, Amaryllis, Iota, Caduceus, Envoi, The Wenlock Anthology, Eyeflash, and The Museum of Light. Anna is the CEO and founder of Cheltenham Poetry Festival. She has been described as ‘a poet who surely can do anything’ by The North and ‘a poet of quite remarkable gifts’ by Bernard O’Donoghue.

 

More by Anna Saunders:

The Delusion of Glass

In The Drowned Woods

 

Image Credit: Sämmtliche Giftgewächse Deutschlands Leipzig :F. Voight,1854. Courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library

Anna Saunders: “Thirteenth week of Lockdown- woke wondering if I were a ghost”

 

 

Thirteenth week of Lockdown- woke wondering if I were a ghost.

I am too diffuse, fill the air like smoke
glide around empty rooms, feeling immaterial .

You would think it would be easier existing as ghost, 
airborn, iridescent as summer rain, 
but I am weightless only in mass -my psyche is ballast. 

To be a ghost means to live with the self undiluted.
Imagine who you are, but magnified.

I am too much at times, 
the condensed quick of myself,  
like a perfume oil or a 100 percent rum.  

Nothing touches me, and no-one.
And if they did, I am so tissue skinned 
their fingers would go right through me. 

At best I am inspiration, contain light,
but adrift and nebulous, like mist
all abstract antipathy and desire, 

and  invisible 
(who sees the ghost but the haunted?) 

I pull desperately at my own arm with this poem 
and claim 
I am here, I am here.

 

About the Author: Anna Saunders is the author of Communion, (Wild Conversations Press), Struck, (Pindrop Press) Kissing the She Bear, (Wild Conversations Press), Burne Jones and the Fox (Indigo Dreams) and Ghosting for Beginners (Indigo Dreams, Spring 2018). Anna has had poems published in journals and anthologies, which include Ambit, The North, New Walk Magazine, Amaryllis, Iota, Caduceus, Envoi, The Wenlock Anthology, Eyeflash, and The Museum of Light. Anna is the CEO and founder of Cheltenham Poetry Festival. She has been described as ‘a poet who surely can do anything’ by The North and ‘a poet of quite remarkable gifts’ by Bernard O’Donoghue.

 

More by Anna Saunders:

The Delusion of Glass

In The Drowned Woods

 

Image Credit: Julia Margaret Cameron “Julia Jackson” (1867) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

“In the Drowned Woods” By Anna Saunders

 

 

In the Drowned Woods

It’s not as if we were together long I tell my heart,
but it isn’t listening. 

In the drowned woods long blades of garlic 
have been crushed by the storm
and wild white flowers float like tiny water lilies.  

A bough drips ivy and clings on to another tree trunk
like a drowning man grasping his rescuer’s arm. 

The pine tree is full of Goldfinches, their high pitched song 
sounds like squabbling. There is a dove, fluttering to a settle. 

A male bird flies down and lands on the back of the female.

There’s a fury of pearl and platinum, 
a flourish of wings like sheets flapping or skirts billowing up.

The coupling is brief, but beautiful,
and in the spring light, the birds resemble angels. 

I have all the symptoms of grief. 
But oh – the memory of two creatures colliding, 
that airborne heat, 
before both creatures flew off into separate skies.

 

About the Author: Anna Saunders is the author of Communion, (Wild Conversations Press), Struck, (Pindrop Press) Kissing the She Bear, (Wild Conversations Press), Burne Jones and the Fox (Indigo Dreams) and Ghosting for Beginners (Indigo Dreams, Spring 2018). Anna has had poems published in journals and anthologies, which include Ambit, The North, New Walk Magazine, Amaryllis, Iota, Caduceus, Envoi, The Wenlock Anthology, Eyeflash, and The Museum of Light. Anna is the CEO and founder of Cheltenham Poetry Festival. She has been described as ‘a poet who surely can do anything’ by The North and ‘a poet of quite remarkable gifts’ by Bernard O’Donoghue.

 

Image Credit: Frederick H. Evans “Near Coldharbour” (1893) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

“The Delusion of Glass” By Anna Saunders

 

 

The Delusion of Glass

They write of the King who thought he was glass 
but what of the glass who thought it was king? 

We know of Charles V – gone insane
after weeks of combat in the forest, 
felling friends and allies like trees with a wild swing
of axe – afterwards running down the marbled corridors 
screaming then sitting silently, 
without moving, so he won’t shatter.

And other cases, people with 
The Glass Delusion – imagining themselves to be 
translucent forms, 
susceptible to breaking.

Like a piece of glass who imagines itself to be king
or queen.

At first imagine how beautiful –
your translucent glaze refracting light
and all your tempests sealed like storms
in a paperweight, and feeling the rain roll off you 
as if you were rock. 

Yet feeling fragile enough to split into 
at the lightest touch,  
wrapping yourself in blankets so you won’t smash
forbidding anyone to touch you or you will break to shards.

And being so glossy skinned
that a kiss leaves no sensation 
just a mouth mark,  a cloudy cherub bow
like a wax stamp on a sealed letter, that no one 
can ever open or read. 

 

About the Author: Anna Saunders is the author of Communion, (Wild Conversations Press), Struck, (Pindrop Press) Kissing the She Bear, (Wild Conversations Press), Burne Jones and the Fox (Indigo Dreams) and Ghosting for Beginners (Indigo Dreams, Spring 2018). Anna has had poems published in journals and anthologies, which include Ambit, The North, New Walk Magazine, Amaryllis, Iota, Caduceus, Envoi, The Wenlock Anthology, Eyeflash, and The Museum of Light. Anna is the CEO and founder of Cheltenham Poetry Festival. She has been described as ‘a poet who surely can do anything’ by The North and ‘a poet of quite remarkable gifts’ by Bernard O’Donoghue.

 

Image Credit: “Roman glass. Copies of valuable Roman glass” from The Library of Congress