An international online magazine that publishes Surrealist poetry in English.
In a Time Before Maps
Long ago when the city was an infant
it lay on its back on a big white sheet
transfixed by the tiny articulations
of its own small hands.
Constellations of eyes beheld from the sky
the city grew vivid, grew hearty,
grew schools and grew graveyards
and when these were replete, it grew more.
Straw begat sticks then sticks begat brick
so the wolf packed its bags
and decamped to the forest.
The city sprouted a gate and then locked it.
Even the city became lost in those days –
took itself for a wander inside its own head,
and simply vanished. Something had to be done.
The cartographer stepped from a fold in the sky.
The Cartographer Invents Herself
Thunder loped across the sky's wilderness
and clouds stumbled around,
then fixed upon an almost-shape.
The Cartographer feels her hands
for the first time, lifts them to her face
and then expertly moulds her own eyes.
She draws the roads that will carry her blood
and the pathways to order her ribcage,
then hollows out a playground for her breath.
The Cartographer Takes a Day Off
It was Sunday after all, and the last cul-de-sac
had been crossed and then dotted,
so she put the lid on her ink and went walking.
Not a soul was abroad in those familiar streets,
the city gate was unarmed and wide open.
Outside the walls she stretched her legs
and was presently eye to eye with the treetops.
The coast lay but a breath away
and the sea, pleased as a puppy, greeted her,
rolled to show its belly by degrees.
An age ago, she had tried to map the sea
but they had come to an understanding.
She wasn't that kind of a map-maker,
and the sea wasn't that kind of sea.
They met at the rag of shore from time to time.
It was the variety of summer day you'd find in books
but this story is still waiting for a pen to write it down.
Instead we'll see some images –
a man digs feverishly into the washed-out sand;
a single magpie draws a line through the sun.
Helen Ivory is a poet and visual artist. She has won a Gregory Award and her fourth Bloodaxe Books collection, the semi-autobiographical Waiting for Bluebeard was short-listed for the East Anglian Book Awards (2014). She edits the webzine Ink Sweat and Tears and is tutor and Course Director for the UEA/Writers Centre Norwich online creative writing programme.Fool's World a collaborative Tarot with the artist Tom de Freston (Gatehouse Press) won the 2016 Saboteur Award for Best Collaborative Work. Hear What the Moon Told Me, book of collage/ mixed media/ acrylic painted poems, was published in 2016 by Knives Forks and Spoons Press. She was recently awarded an Arts Council grant to work The Anatomical Venus, her forthcoming collection from Bloodaxe Books.