Lynn White

Lynn White

Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud ‘War Poetry for Today’ competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and a Rhysling Award. Her poetry has appeared in many publications including: Apogee, Firewords, Capsule Stories, Gyroscope Review and So It Goes.

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Odyssey In The Afternoon

I remember that day of the voyage
from the moment the dawn rose
out of the golden globe
and stretched out
pink fingered roses
into the blue
of the morning,
without knowing
what was to come after,
in the afternoon
when the wind took us
to a strange land.

But I embraced its strangeness
and its indolent contented people
who showed me the lotus
and smiled
as I bit into the delight
of its flowers and fruits,
it’s dreamy sensations
with no need to wonder
what would to come after,
there were only afternoons,
forever afternoons.

But the moment
when I woke,
shook myself awake,
I dragged us all away
out of fear of forgetting,
forgetting where I’d come from,
forgetting where I should go
and before
I forgot to leave that place
with its sopheristic days
of perpetual afternoon.

And in the evening
as night fell
to envelop me
stretching out
its grey blanket
and touching me with black,
I wondered
if I would I even remember
sniffing the fragrance
of the flowers
and tasting fruit
alive with the sleepy sensations
of the days of afternoons.

I have already forgotten
to wonder
what came after.

First published in New Reader, Houdini Issue, June 2020

The Power Of Gods

He would have had an easier journey
if he hadn’t harmed Neptune’s son.
He should have beat a hasty retreat
from the sailor-eating giant
leaving him unharmed by anybody
or nobody.

And Aeolus’s gift of winds to speed them homewards
was not a blessing when Neptune heard about it.
So unsurprising that he magicked the sailors
into letting the winds out of their bag
with a chorus of “all together now”.
What did he expect!
Gods are powerful,
some more than others.
The blinding his son was a fairly big offence in Neptune’s eyes
and having control of the seas is a pretty impressive power.
So, Odysseus paid the price.

And then there was Circe.
Not only the goddess daughter of Titan,
Circe was also a witch,
of course she was,
she was female
so it went with the territory,
but her magic skills
were more renowned than most
and thus more feared by men
and rightly so.

I wonder if he ate pork in his year long stay.
I wonder if he counted the swine restored to sailors
or if he preferred not to know if any were missing.
I like to think he knew she bested him
with her roasted pork and crispy bacon.

First published in Chaos, ed Marc Rosen, 2020

A Familiar Story

It’s a familiar story
well told
and many of us can identify
with some part of him –
Odysseus the escapee,
Odysseus the wanderer,
the adventurer,
the explorer
the leaver of a past life
and embracer of the new.
We’ve all desired
to sail away
in boats that fly
as quick as thoughts
and at some point we’ve all
ate the sun god’s cattle
and paid the price.
We’ve all described our relationships
as “complicated,”
or wanted to.
It’s a familiar story
well told.

Each landing was a new challenge
in a newly discovered land
inhabited by Other people,
Other creatures
monstrous beings
to be vanquished by superior swords
or stolen to serve
as housekeepers or herders,
to be made into fish food if they resist.
It’s a familiar story
well told.

Then there’s the women
the temptresses
with their beautiful voices
weaving with shuttles made of gold.
Beautiful voices
but dangerous mouths
enticing us with their cupid lips.
And there’s always others,
the ones who seem all mouth
or have many mouths.
We can quieten them.
We can steal them away to become our maids,
our handmaids
as Atwood might describe them.
It’s a familiar story
well told.

And we’ll load up our ship with lotus fruit,
or lounge about while they do it,
and then we’ll forget the long swords
and how we fed the fish
with the heroes of the Resistance.
We’ll be the heroes when we get home.
It’s a familiar story
well told.

First published in Paris Lit Up, Issue 7, 2019

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Poetry in this post: © Lynn White
Published with the permission of Lynn White