Tuesday 26 April 2022

Five Poems by Diane G. Martin



Overture already swelling,

I am seated in the orchestra.

Soon settled, props arranged at hand—

a hanky, cough drops, tablets, water—


waiting for the curtain’s rise. Be

still anticipation, breath, thought.

Imagination, taut as tuned strings,

vibrates, tingling fingers. B note


tinnitus alerts my perfect pitch.

Ahead. Pitch forward. Fall. Suspend

my disbelief in this paltry

melodrama, commonplace end.



February 13, 2018

Bangor, Maine







The religion among pigeons

is noble and upright,

their souls holy and immortal.




Once every bird’s age, they

sacrifice, to their god’s delight,

those of most shimmering plumage.




After the high priest plucks their wings

in the temple, they lie in state,

chirped over, till wings are reclaimed,




and they soar to heaven.



February, 1988                             

Gorham, Maine





“When a woman lives alone, her house

should be extremely dilapidated. The mud

walls should be falling to pieces. And if

there is a pond, it should be overgrown

with water plants.”


               “The Frost Month”, Shonagon

                         The Pillow Book



When I’m found, the unbearable,

hovering air will escape

through the door in a rush, as if

fleeing cremation or worse,

the hot stench of my body.


Decaying along with the trash,

half-cooked meal and sour milk, my

once startled eyes will accuse

from the floor. The discoverer,

summoned most likely by neighbours,


will clutch a clean cloth to her nose

in a panic to keep from inhaling

my death. My apologies, please,

in advance, as the glass of field flowers,

by then, will be mouldy, as well.



May 8, 2014

Bodrum, Turkey



Gifts of the Magi


An old friend shows, direct from work,

for old times’ sake. Soviet

Champagne and red beads—caviar,

you might say. Speak of bygone debt,


not looming ones. Pale tulips cup

a lavender sip, slip of tongue.

Next, two lone moms bear scented cream,

massage despair in songs unsung.


Then, ready cash is lean. A young,

dark Georgian orders, baked and boxed,

a steaming khachapuri, bound

with string. Enjoy, it’s on the house.


I sit, while it browns, in my soft

Italian coat, and apprehend

three poems by Akhmatova.

Inclining, Peter kissed my hand.



Birthday 2019

St. Petersburg, Russia



Lihula Odyssey


New paint has licked the train museum.

Fragile flowers splash the walkway’s edge,

and cotton-bundled clouds spread cushions

against the low horizon. Wedged


in cracks between rich green fields strewn with

phlox and Queen Anne’s lace are hay rolls cheered

in pink, slick, rain-proof coats. Fluffed firs fringe woods

and purple lupine spires embroider


borders, doing what they can to spruce

midsummer up. Snapped trees tell winter’s

tale, and warn off veins complacent. Cranes

nest top electric power towers,


proud, uncivil. They might have sent me

word, down the line, of squatters, vandals,

thieves invading my defenseless house.

Sinister now, bottles with candles


and without are littered in the filth

and rubble that were once asylum.

No more mellow celebrations here.

Last conflagration by debauched scum


will be set in blind delirium.



July 26, 2018

Tallinn, Estonia





Diane G. Martin, disabled poet, photographer, prose writer, Russian literature specialist, translator, Willamette University graduate, Diana Woods Memorial Award CNF winner, Princemere Poetry prize runner-up has published in numerous literary journals, from the US to the West Indies. Her poetry collection A Pilgrim’s Progress was published by Purcell Press. Other work includes several collections of poetry, another of creative nonfiction, and a multi-genre memoir. Diane is working on a novel set during the Siege of Leningrad. Longtime resident of Nevada, Oregon, San Francisco, CA, Maine, St. Petersburg, Russia, Italy, her main themes are exile, disability, and displacement. She has one daughter.









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