Short Poetry Spotlight – Strength in Mind, Body & Spirit

Written by Katie Allen


Menkind

Society embracing the fast-paced life,

Although immersed in conflict and strife

Without time to marvel at wonders of the earth,

We grow either optimistic or cynical since our birth.

 

Multi-tasking is the norm,

Constantly busy even after we are worn

Developing competitive streaks, cut-throat and ruthless

These minutes flash by, let alone the weeks.

 

Craving love, acceptance and security,

Instead we may receive hurt, mockery and pity

Despite this we are strong and able to cope,

Only by believing in true faith and hope.

 

Clichés although they may conquer,

While the superficial and material consumption is paramount…

Empty disposable gratifications – our world is crying out

Gaining no internal satisfaction, are we becoming crazy?

Yes is fact – plus slightly stoic, complacent and lazy.

 

So in the midst of personal turmoil and chaos

Stay true to yourself, be authentic otherwise you are truly lost!


Tiger

The Tiger may be beautiful and mysterious

But his huge sharp teeth are certain to make you nervous,

As he communicates while stretching his paws

You mustn’t make a single sound otherwise he’ll open his claws,

Towards doing something extremely notorious!

 

He releases an enormous roar making everything rumble

His almighty power can make anything crumble,

Able to prance up and down to the pulsating beat

Although when he’s camouflaged he ducks low to his feet,

In this humid psychedelic kaleidoscope jungle.

 

He cunningly scours in search for distant prey

As he reaches in for the kill – he targets those that lay,

The sleuth carnivore is still on the prowl

To discover and catch a meal using his dark nose to smell,

Patience is virtue, he instinctively thinks.

 

The tiger’s pride, dignity and reputation

Make all the other creatures have a scary sensation,

Just gaze at him cutting through the foliage

As sharp and deep like the blade of a knife,

Causing no end of chaos and strife

Especially when this ferocious figure is hunting for a female!


Our Short Poetry spotlight this month twins two extraordinary poems written by returning contributor Katie Allen. Blending together seamlessly despite their stark subject differences, both works of poetry take on strength of the mind, body and spirit. While Tiger was inspired by a trip to the zoo, Menkind was written by Katie as a way to explore the often cut-throat state of our world and, in particular, how people feel, consume and behave within it. Sometimes strength can take the shape of the tiger, seeking out its prey, but we also harbour it within ourselves. If you enjoyed Katie’s poetry, feel free to view her superb poetry published last month, “L.O.V.E“. 

Featured Image CC // Frank

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Fraction

Written by Silver

congo_light

Sometimes it only takes one moment for life to spring into action. Image // Andre Thiel

The summer haze was thick within the forest; drops of dew hung languidly from leaves the size of a small bird, while the hot mist clung to boughs of giant foliage, leaving it gasping for cool air. Even for the animals in the Congo it was a warm day, and many tried to find shade under a canopy of leaves, overhanging rocks, or their dens in the cool dirt. The promise of rain was still several days away, but you could feel it in the air. If you were lucky enough to see through a gap in the fence of foliage, the clouds were dense and ready to burst, and the Congo’s inhabitants were ready.

To travel through the Congo is a bid to lose all sense of time; a perpetual twilight. Daylight would come but once every so often and, when it did, it seared through the trees, settling into a patch of chalked dirt, where maybe a snake or beetle would bask and snooze. Soon enough, the light disperses and fades into the half-light the forest knows so intimately, and the animals shrink back into their comfortable abodes. When darkness arrives, a wonderful silence emanates from the Congo, only to be replaced by the night-lovers chirping moments later. Under a cloak of indigo and black, a hubbub of activity takes place. Insomniacs add to the noise with their shuffling and pacing, elephant calves disturb bushes with their fights and tantrums, while chimpanzees look for trouble and play games of ‘spot the forest insect’. Other restless sleepers toss and turn, while those that need shut-eye will snore and breathe deeply, ignoring the blend of nature’s sounds.

A new day dawns and, with it, the same pattern: a circle of time. But it is a day closer to the storms; they can feel it in the air. It ripples through the forest, hitting some more than others, depending on their fashion of habits. Newly born animals risk dehydration, the elders too are at risk but they are wiser to the Congo’s ways, finding dew drops hidden in the highest canopies or broadest bushes. The most intelligent – or, perhaps, luckiest – find a remote stream, where the soil is softer and the sustenance richer. But as the heat cripples the hearts of many animals, it also weakens the heart of the Congo.

For a fraction, time stands still. And in that moment, numerous events occur. The dense mist shrivels into the undergrowth, awaiting its execution. The languid dew drops quiver and shrink, pushing themselves off their veined homes, to explode into the cracked mud below. And the animals scatter. Elder birds urge their youngest to spread their wings and fly, while small apes cling to their mother’s fur as she runs through the thicket at remarkable speed. Elephant calves send out sharp chirps to their kin, making sure they don’t get left behind in the frenzy. Snakes slide out of their small dens with their babies, coolly taking their time, while insects crawl over their bodies in a hurry. With most animals gone, only the weakest are left behind, bearing the same fate as the colossal boughs and trunks.

The cries of the smallest are ousted by the roaring crackle of the heat. A fury, a blaze, a rainbow of different shades of orange and red join together and take the Congo minute by minute. It spreads quickly and consumes foliage, fruit, and those that are young or frail – condemning them to a brutal end. But not all are taken by the orange blaze. The grey clouds begin to crowd together, their anger evident through the grumbling in throats and their flashes of migraines, coming and going as the pain pleases. Grumpy and exhausted by the smoke, the clouds crack their knuckles and jab at the fire with yellow bolts, unleashing their biggest weapon: rain.

It flows freely and harshly into the centre of the blaze, extinguishing the licking flames at the clouds’ feet. The orange fury begins to abate but then a last stab of war comes forth from its raging heart, whipping at the foliage with all its might. But it is no match for the grey clouds and drowns in a sea of murky water.

With the fire extinguished, the floods arrive, and the animals flit back to their homes. Only a fraction of time exists in the Congo, but only when it is the most critical does life notice.

Written on behalf of a Fiction Frenzy challenge last year, Silver’s aptly named ‘Fraction’ takes us into the heart of the Congo, where the animals mostly live in peace. Inspired by a BBC documentary series which followed a number of animals, Silver’s piece works to re-enact what happens when the forest fires are imminent. It’s a perfect piece to reflect the very nature of our ‘Light’ theme this month. To check out more of her work, click the links for poetry such as ‘Fudge‘ and ‘ Spirit‘.