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I love anything that’s written in an absurd or quirky style, and “Sunt Leones” (translated from Latin: there be lions) certainly meets that criteria. Following is the now classic poem written by the talented Stevie Smith (1902-1971).
The lions who ate the Christians on the sands of the arena
By indulging native appetites played what has now been seen a
Not entirely negligible part
In consolidating at the very start
The position of the Early Christian Church
Initiatory rites are always bloody
And the lions, it appear
From contemporary art, made a study
Of dyeing Coliseum sands a ruddy
Liturgically sacrificial hue
And if the Christians felt a little blue
Well people being eaten often do
Theirs was the death, and theirs the crown undying
A state of things which must be satisfying
My point which up to this has been obscure
is that it was the lions who procure
By chewing up blood gristle flesh and bone
The martyrdoms on which the Church has grown
I only write this poem because I thought it rather looked
As if the part the lions played was being overlooked
By lions’ jaws great benefits and blessings were begotten
And so our debt to Lionhood must never be forgotten.
The editor of Poesy Magazine proclaims on his News page that he’s “back again,” and, after 18 months of downtime, he’s “continuing Poesy and returning refreshed, rested and with a vengance to make an impact.” Except that was posted 5 months ago and there doesn’t seem to be any activity since.
Ah, well. I know what it’s like to burn out on a project; I myself am the proud owner of a number of abandoned blogs and social networking pages strewn far and wide across the internet. Anyway, the good news is that you can still read some cool stuff on the site, including several featured poems from the last issue.
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Following is an excerpt from a poem called “Poem for David Church” by A.D. Winans. It is from a memorial poem written for a poet who passed away:
poets are like butterflies
inhabiting temporary space
tasting the pollen of life
spreading their wings
reshaping the stars the universe
cosmic matter waiting to be reborn
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For those of you unfamiliar with flash fiction, it is the short version of the short story. It is also the specialty of Every Day Fiction, a site that delivers daily short fiction to your mailbox (you can also read stories online). Here is an excerpt from a fantastic story recently published by EDF called Temptation Drive-Thru by Greg Likins:
I pulled up to the window. The girl leaned out, twisting her necklace around a fingernail studded with stick-on gems. I paid, and when she returned my change, that fingernail lingered in my palm. It felt like a condiment packet scratching my skin, and instinctively I squeezed it. She didn’t seem to mind.
Read the entire short story here or visit the author’s website.
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I have endured some horrendous working conditions in my lifetime, and, while I wouldn’t wish that on others, it’s oddly comforting to know I’m not the only one. Dionne Galace, a terrific writer and entertaining blogger, has written an account of her job from hell that is both horrifying and hilarious. Her first (unheeded) clue that she was going to work for seriously unstable people was in the interview process:
My second interview was with the married couple who owned the company. You could tell the wife used to be pretty, but living with this man for however long they’ve been married had already killed something inside of her. The husband grunted a lot, didn’t smile once, and interrupted his wife a lot. The wife tried to ask me a couple of questions, but the husband cut her off often. She would passively-aggressively say later, “I have a few more questions, but I’m afraid I didn’t get to ask them because I kept getting interrupted.” Awwwwwkward.
Read the entire post, called How NOT to Respond to a Resignation. Dionne’s blog, Dionne Galace–It’s Not Chick Porn, has a lot of other things to offer, as well, including book reviews (heavy on the romance genre) and movie reviews. (Warning: the blog contains strong language and sexiness.)
Here are some great quotes about writing:
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Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.–Flannery O’Connor
So often is the virgin sheet of paper more real than what one has to say, and so often one regrets having marred it.–Harold Acton
I try to leave out the parts that people skip.–Elmore Leonard
For more writing quotes, visit The Quote Garden.
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Gay Degani has a new story out called Something About L.A. that was recently published over at Litsnack. Here is an excerpt:
The truck shivers to a stop, dust swirling. The door opens as a small figure slides off the driver’s seat. A boy, just a boy, dark skin and hair, wearing a faded plaid shirt and jeans. Barefoot.
Puts his hands on hips and says, “I ain’t gonna hurt you.”
“I guess not.” I’m feeling better now knowing I’ve got 50 pounds on him.
Read the whole story here. Gay Degani is a talented writer who has been featured on this blog before: see Flash Fiction Story by Gay Degani – The London Eye and Flash Fiction: Dani-Girl’s Guide to Getting Everything Right. Also visit her homepage, Words in Place.
I saw this poem and found it so beautiful that I immediately searched for the author (Mark R. Slaughter) online in order to ask his permission to post it here. Fortunately, I found him, and even more fortunately, he was kind enough to allow me to reprint this poem and share it with all of you.
My Sneaking Tears
How heavy fell the rain that day
From burdened clouds of mournful grey.
The torrent forced them stay their height –
Composure swayed by onerous might.
My skin wrung wet with icy chill
As mud embraced that sodden hill.
But mind of mine had elsewhere gone –
‘Twas clouds abandoned I was on.
The driving drops advanced their gears
To camouflage my sneaking tears –
Whence now did swell such floods of pain
To see me melt into this rain…
On equal bearing now were we:
This rain; myself, in harmony.
The author lives in the United Kingdom and is a prolific writer. You can view more of Mark R. Slaughter’s poems (over 200 of them!) at poemhunter.com. Also, visit his website, Poem Crypt, and follow him on twitter.