☛ Submission for October, 2024 issue (Vol. 5, No. 2) is going on. The last date for submission is 30 September, 2024.





-         Sheenagh Pugh (U.K.)


“As he lay unravelling in the agonie of death, the Standers-by could hear him say softly, I have seen the Glories of the world.”  - John Aubrey: Brief Lives


As if it were not enough to be born
into this world of reefs, rainforests, fells,
snowfields; as if it were not enough
to study the plans of its vast library
and know most of the books must go unread,
the abyssal plains, the crystalline halls
below the reach of cavers: as if
it were not enough to be lent
all this light, this prodigal abundance,
then told that we must leave it.

Isaac Barrow, unravelling, recalled
the Golden Horn, pirates, opium,
eight languages, the canals of Venice.
Queen Eleanor in her convent could think back
on Cyprus, Sicily, Antioch, Castile
and the long road to Jerusalem.
Ever since we hollowed out canoes
from trees, we have hungered for as much world
as we could cram into the few years
they give you for being alive.

We of that generation born postwar
into a new world couldn’t see enough
of it. We hopped aboard planes
like buses, cruised, took whole gap years
to travel. We went with Drake to the treasure-house
of the world, nor did we come away
empty-handed. What we took: what we left…
The Beatles were singing that if this was love
they wanted more, and we joined the refrain.
Could have been our anthem: give us more.

But now it seems we must let go
while we still live; leave the world
alone, if we would have it survive us,
put away luggage labels and visa stamps,
turn destinations into places
we never saw. Wave the waiter past,
keep a hand over the glass. Back then,
who could have thought we would end up
loosing our hold, stepping back, wondering
if love might mean saying give us less?