March 30, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Vikalpa photo



Mark Tarren




The Eye Painter



First, they removed the head.


The men had covered their faces

as it toppled through the granite centuries

to fall in stone and sand.


To rest against a charcoal stump

that was once the body of a young man.


Next, the hand was cut at the wrist

the right hand with the palm facing left.

As it moved towards the ground

it gently cupped the small bones

of school children,


then lay silent across Abathanna.


They severed the right arm

at the bare shoulder,

it disappeared from history

like a hidden lover,


as the bodies of the disappeared.


The ancient torso shadowed the moon

as it burst,

spilling its entrails of forgotten poetry

against the face of Anuradhapura.


The sculptors and stonecutters

were crushed under the lotus flower

carved from time, toe and foot

that slept with the old wound.


As the ten days were announced

in the collected stories of communal violence,


the winds turned against the head

to reveal the pupil in the ancient eye

staring blindly into the lost present.


The eye painter arches back

against the millennia

head, wrist, hand and torso

his arm twisted backwards

his face and eye in the mirror


as he topples from the ladder.


The final descent of the human heart.





The Halls of Rain



The stonecutters carved her name

from the scrolls of the ancient poets

the unspoken calligraphy of the past

that began and ends in stone.


The writing of light in inked darkness

wrist to bangle

to finger

to tip


a saffron dance upon wet stone

a fevered hand inscribing the


the name of


The First Waters.


A place of safety, of purpose

a clearing in the green canopy

to reveal an eye in the jungle

cut from a smoke blue face


a cave of water.


Silence. A candle.


The shape of a heart

the line of light against a shoulder blade

art on the walls that fall back upon the centuries


the script of the ghosts

hair or a finger dipped in memory

to paint breath upon the surface of a wound

before the world of words

where the ache of speech is etched in echo.


In their desire for something

the poets and stonecutters

briefly glimpsed her in


The Halls of Rain


Within the memory of trees

is the forest music of frogs

and the laughter of water

the notes of green across

the skin of a creek

where tears are caught in

the palm of the wind


to fall against her breast.


Her name is Neeya,

and now there is peace.






Mark Tarren

Mark Tarren is a poet and writer based in Queensland, Australia.

His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various literary journals including The Blue Nib, Poets Reading The News, Street Light Press, Spillwords Press and The New Verse News.

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