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JONGLEUR IN THE COURTYARD

Mandy Pannett lives in West Sussex with her family. A teacher for many years she has worked with all ages and abilities and now works freelance as a creative writing tutor. She has led residential and day workshops across the country and at festivals as well as working with many local groups and helping to run an Arts Cafe.

 

She has been an associate editor of the ezines ‘Muscle and Blood’ and ‘The Right Eyed Deer’ and a selecting editor on three occasions for ‘South’ Magazine. Currently she is poetry editor for ‘Sentinel Literary Quarterly’ and editor of the forthcoming anthology ‘Poems for a Liminal Age’ (SPM Publications).

 

Mandy has won prizes and been placed in several national competitions including 1st prize in the Barnet Poetry Competition 2014. She was a runner up in the recent Cardiff International Poetry Competition.

 

She has acted a s a competition judge for Sentinel Poetry Movement, the Slipstream Poets, Excel for Charity and Earlyworks Press.

 

Her writing  has been widely published in magazines, journals and anthologies. Several poems have also been translated into German and Romanian as part of the poetry tREnd translation project.

 

She is the author of a novella The Onion Stone and of four poetry collections: Bee Purple and Frost Hollow (Oversteps Books), Allotments in the Orbital (Searle Publishing) and All the Invisibles (SPM Publications).

 

 

 

 

 

Mandy Pannett

 

Jongleur in the Courtyard

 

ISBN 978-1-909357-81-5

 

Indigo Dreams Publishing

 

Poetry

 

138 x 216mm

 

60 pages

 

£7.99 + P&P UK

 

PUB: April 2015

 

 

ORDER HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

PTOLEMY’S STARS

 

Tonight, in this countryside

the sky is a bright citadel

shining on dark water.

 

Ptolemy might still recognise

the ‘serried multitude of stars’

whose fiery circling caused his heart

 

to leap and soar with joy.

How easy it is to imagine the creamy

Milky Way, heavy and thick

 

with luminous souls, the iridescent

dead of the day, who pause for an aeon

of feasting, before swimming on to a moon.

 

And easy to imagine that sad tale

of Adam and Eve whose first skin

shone like a halo in gold leaf

 

before their flesh

dried up with loss and dulled

to a mortal grey.

 

A departure of shine

for them and for us as we

stagger and doze, are wounded

 

in sleep, unaware

that as dreamers

we are becoming extinct.

 

Tonight there are many stars

in this firmament.

A salmon, essence of silver

 

glitters in its own dark sea.

How luminescent it is

and vulnerable.

 

 

 

 

FINE DETAIL

 

A nestling will open its tiny beak

for any shape of silhouette that flickers

above its eye

 

No need for finer detail here

nor when a cobweb in a stubble field

disperses in unbright  air

 

Once there was a St Martin’s summer

November days of dark-green rain

an after-the-harvest ceasing of war

the soothing of body’s ache  

 

Now this is a season for children to die

though a drone overhead has a detail of bird

and it’s time for the faceless men to scurry

along a nowhere road

 

It’s a season of loss a father says

as he carries home a scrap of torso

could be anybody’s torso  

and buries it as his son

 

IF TOUCHED BY FINGERNAILS

 

of sun

a troll in folklore turns to rock.

Whether the process is haemorrhage swift

or slower in pain as small bones set

who knows –

 

Certainly not that victim

of heaven’s barbaric revenge:

Lot’s wife, carcass in salt

mashed by a liquid blitz of light

to a whitened root.

 

Of course she looked behind her

half-turning to check they were safe –

she'd have raced back to those melting cities

and dragged her daughters out

of that brimstone’s heart.

 

 

 

 

LANTERN GIRL

 

In the hullabaloo of his return

the backpack of the prodigal son

was shoved in a cupboard beneath the stairs

 

dark on the straps with sweat of the road

tied up at the neck like the Thanksgiving turkey

they’d fattened and eaten for days.

 

Five months later he drags the bag

out into the light, unzips a pocket, discovers

one half of a one-way ticket, the tattered

 

remains of the Dear John letter

that last girl sent, two empty cartons

of blueberry juice and a twist

of white tissue with seeds

from a pumpkin, bits of old  flesh

clinging on.

 

Yes, he remembers

that pumpkin: a harvest sale

of autumn fruits, discarded gourds

 

too pitted to sell, a girl

who had gone to the sun of a pumpkin

and carved them a lantern for night.

 

Well now he’s returned

to the wedge of demands; goodbye  

long-travellin’ road ...

 

He’ll settle for life

with a needy old man and maybe

forget that very last girl

 

who gave him a pumpkin

with light in its eyes and left him

the seeds in a bag.

 

 

 

YOU SAY YOU DON’T DO SMILES

 

don’t like drawing them,

never learnt the technique.

 

You’re lying.  

 

If it was that simple you would paint

only angels, colourless as moons and dripping

with lilies

like couriers for flowers online.

 

If it was that simple

you’d give me a low-lipped, dour expression

and let me turn around.

 

Instead you paint

my back, always my back

so that the moody outline of me

mingles with the umbrage of an artificial beach

or an apartment block where even verandas

are in profile, but I am not.

 

Will you buy me a drink tonight

share some supper for once?

I’ll get us the table nearest the door

you know I will.

Better still, paint me a towel.

Lay it down on that balcony, third from the left.

I’ll strip my clothes off, find a bikini, be a small

red dot to focus the eye, a reference point for scale

 

Not your style?

You say you like your canvases

minimalist and bleak –

silence

in a bloody, anguished world.

 

So if love in the sand dunes isn’t for us

then I may as well be faceless

sparse as spinifex grass

 

and since there’s  nothing

to be happy about

I’m glad you never do smiles.

 

 

 

 

MY ENGLISH BLOSSOM TREE

 

is April in snow, now heavy

now lingering

 

as Hiroshige’s

soft white feather-flakes touch

a mandarin duck

 

on its green river

under the cover of tall

thin reeds as even

 

more drops tumble down

on sparrows, camellias

bamboo on a hill ...

 

a moment of pause

for snow that is longed for

in seasons of drought

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In her fifth poetry collection Mandy Pannett explores themes of change and metamorphosis, leading her reader through time and space, both geographical and metaphysical. The poems tell of visions and violence, joy and grief, and a vestige of hope. Yet hers is primarily a sensual apprehension and her poems are joyously alive with the leaping, clustering words and imagery she employs to probe and question the human and natural world.

 

 

 

“At the heart of the collection lies Mandy Pannett's skill with sound - these, after all, are songs of the Jongleurs! The chimings of internal rhyme, and assonantal and alliterative sound patternings help to underpin the exquisite, sensitive and varied rhythmic pulse of the collection. Either heard or read aloud, these poems spring off the page. This is an enviable achievement. Read, think and enjoy!”

Roger Elkin

 

“Mandy Pannett's excursions into history are soul journeys that take place in a timeless present. Rich with insight, and a remarkable empathy, her astute eye alights effortlessly on the luminous details surrounding an object, event or story, transforming them into memorable poetry where feeling (rather than mere linguistic cleverness) is always central.”

Jay Ramsay

 

 

 

 

Mandy 1 amend JITC web