Posts Tagged ‘Fiona Robyn’

Worship: issue summary

January 25, 2012 4 comments

by Fiona Robyn and Kaspalita Thompson

We don’t remember when we first talked about guest editing an issue of qarrtsiluni — we guess it must have been back in the spring of last year. We threw around a whole bunch of ideas before settling on Worship as the theme, and it feels like we have lived closely with it since then.

We do have a sense that everyone is involved in some act of worship, although we don’t always use that word to describe those acts. We were curious to see what people made of the theme.

We expected more people to come from a secular position than did in the end, or perhaps we are reading something spiritual into the many poems we got in praise of small things and in praise of the natural world. We did glory in nature in this issue. Many of the poems had a sense of reaching beyond nature to something more ineffable, whatever that might be.

We particularly enjoyed the many pieces of work that took something worldly and showed us something sacred about them.

The standard of submissions was overwhelming high, and the number of submissions were high as well. Right from the start we recognised how subjective a process editing is, and we also recognised that not everything that was good was going to make it into the issue (unless we wanted to take a whole year’s worth of posts).

Looking back on how we did choose the pieces in the issue, we can see that we were looking for something which brought form and spirit together. Some of the writing we received was beautifully crafted but felt in some way hollow. Some of the poems were full of heart, but clumsily executed. (There weren’t many of these, as it happens.) We were looking for writing that was both full of something and beautifully written. We think the writing and the images included in the issue do just this.

As well as the written word and the striking images, we also included one of each of another form, and we want to give them a special mention here. The first is James Brush’s video poem “While Sitting in Church.” The combination of words images and sound lifted the poem to something greater than just words on the page. The second is “The Key of Joy,” a piece of music by Caitlin M. Daphtary (music), Zackary Sholem Berger (lyrics), and Rachel Dudley (vocals) that we were very pleased to feature.

We’re really happy with the final issue. It’s also been wonderful to live with the poems these last few months, to have them breathed into life by the readings that each poet (and in one case, Dave) gave. Thank you so much.

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For bios of Kaspa and Fiona, see the call for submissions.

Aldeburgh Beach

May 25, 2008 4 comments

This morning the waves are restless.
Underneath them things are living out their lives.

Pebbles are piled up at the sea-edge
as if trickled from a huge hand.
Each one has its own genealogy,
a parent rock, a place it has travelled from.

The fine rain is almost horizontal.
I breathe it in, dissolve it into my blood.

The sea is happiest as froth, stretching out
its fingers, skipping faster, making shapes.
When it bangs itself onto the shore
it feels a release

as if moving its shoulder-blades diagonally
one way and then the other.

by Fiona Robyn

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Categories: Water Tags:


March 12, 2008 5 comments

On waking I think of death, or rather decay—my hands
are violently folded in towards my wrists, they like to bend
that way, a fox curled up in the snow, the flesh covering

my veins bunched up into ridges. I imagine the joints—
a door flung the wrong way, tendons stretched too far and fraying,
and apologise, straighten them out, hoping these small kindnesses

might pay one day, remembering to keep my back hoisted straight,
to take my vitamins… and my body tries its best, washing away
the broken bits, spitting out the waste, but nevertheless

pieces are breaking off my bones, muscles are slackening like perished
elastic bands, skin is crinkling like a peach too long in the bowl.
A million microscopic deaths a second. I straighten out

my wrists, knowing tomorrow morning I’ll do the same,
hoping I’ll be lucky enough to wear like a leather sofa, softening
over time, keeping hold of my creases, my old frame bending

and cracking in places. Lucky enough not to be stopped
by a bang in my chest, felled by a terrible blooming of cells
in my breast. Lucky enough to feel the years in my wrists.

by Fiona Robyn

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Categories: Nature in the Cracks Tags:

Three from the “Point of Change” series

December 4, 2006 5 comments


She has a moustache
and comes round twice weekly
to iron my shirts.

Today she looks up
with a twinkle in her eyes.
I smile

noticing for the first time
her beautiful eyelashes –



When he first told me I gagged.
Three years have passed. Now they have
a house together, a life.
My wife visits them alone.
Still when I close my eyes I see
their naked bodies lying together.

Often my wife brings home news.
I fake indifference. Then she brings
the first sweet honey from bees
they keep in wooden hives.
It was the best I’d ever tasted.
I spread it on my toast for breakfast.

Each morning I think of my son.
The size of my love. When I scrape
the last of it from the bottom
of the pot I drive to their house.
A young man comes to answer the door,
shakes my hand and asks me in –



We sit in awkward silence
side by side on the sofa.
I’m thinking I’m too old for all this

when my dead wife appears
perched on the television.
She gives me the thumbs up

so I reach across
and click off the lamp
to see what will happen.

Fingertips like cobwebs
land on my inside arm,
travel up and down –

by Fiona Robyn of a small stone

Categories: First Time Tags:

Seeing William in a photo

November 3, 2006 5 comments

brings it back like birds exploding
from the tops of forests.
The blanket heat of Sarawak.
His dirt-brown skin, French accent.

We were too young to know about sex.
We curled up like cubs
in the grass behind the squash courts.

by Fiona Robyn of a small stone

Categories: First Time Tags:


August 25, 2006 4 comments

There was a seizure — she shook her husband awake.
Now she lies on this bed, won’t open her eyes.

Her husband sits beside her, thinks of the cancer.
Every day there is more of her hair on her pillow.

The roots of it are slipping out of their sockets
as she lets out each breath. There. There.

by Fiona Robyn of a small stone

Categories: Short Shorts Tags:

Hold On

August 5, 2006 3 comments
Categories: Short Shorts Tags:

Cow Sister

July 10, 2006 4 comments

The train mutters
to itself, no-one listens.
Looking out, her eyes are full
of early morning mist.

Every time she passes a cow
she dips her head
in silent acknowledgement.
She belongs with grass.

by Fiona Robyn of a small stone

Categories: Short Shorts Tags:
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