Friday 23 June 2023

Five Poems by Patricia Furstenberg


When Man Birthed Art

In stormy clouds or neatly combed
depending on the time of day,
hairs standing up, with mousse tamed down,
or artsy coils that kiss the neck;
what style you choose it labels you
although it shouldn’t, don’t you think?

It’s style, by scissors, cloth or shade,
and as with art, one suffer must
and face whatever trend comes by-
yet who we are and how one thinks
it ripples from the inside out
for man, made art. Not art birthed man.

Though fire thought first, then art was born,
synapses, yes, the myth of life.
To live, to think, from within out,
and all around to share that craft
through dialogue. Discover, learn.
And model art that mirrors man.

A Life in Yellow and Blue

When angels laugh their murmurs sooth
a new babe’s cry, a sound we long
and welcome, hopeful for a life
of laughter, love, fond memories that bind.

Oblivious to what may come are we.

Children laugh with palms outwards
to cradle life, to touch its glow
that bounces off a leaf to next
through seasons and past birds that rest
a fleeting moment, joy that lasts. Within.

A dream of blue birds, all cocooned
on beaming flowers, yellow, gold
abundance, peace, a life shared well
is unattainable, blue bird’s omen.
Life tumbles over, stalks in gale’s full rage.


Now laughter’s gone, hushed by grave walls,
the fleeting joy once shared its pawned
for weapons, drones, fires of hell.
Eyes stare hollowed, their life mourns
that childhood fleeting joy, inwards. Why me

is never questioned, the mouths twists raw.
Why us seals them united, supports when storm
throws hale of metal, crimes slashing life, its fleeting sense,
that childhood smile, that angels’ song, now lament!
And still they stand: a life revelled in yellow, in blue.

The Vanishing Dragons

World was a novelty that glittered with the shine of new things,

pure snow covered rock-hard glaciers the way blue-grey clouds lock the sun in Spring.



when snow sat solidly on firm ice and no Verdun swayed on land

people inhabited caves, produced artwork of their own accord

or it was rewarded with the hind leg of a game.


beasts owned the land where snow reigned the permafrost,

men huddled together

wrapped in hides,

held magic spires for weapons

(that they’d borrowed from a pine forest couple mountain peaks behind).


men carried princely possessions: pelts, flints, and sharpened wilds

so there’ll be food on the table, warmness on the backs of their kin.

Cave paintings tell all except for the truth that


snow was their drink

and snow, alone, hanged on their shoulders,



But when sun spat fire and sky burned,

ice and snow sublimated to vapours,

puff! were gone

into oblivion marooned.

Hunters walked away or maybe ran for cover,

spires became shelters, tools for drilling earth,

for food to put on the table and cloth to warm up backs.


Thereupon, dragons came.

Dragons with scaly backs that modelled over mountaintops

and froze dead into legends:

as long as from here to there, lost in the horizon were they!

(How else could one explain remnant ragged mountains,

the collective memory together with the glaciers melted?)


Further, greed’s shadow creeped from the cracks in barren earth,

crawled over lands, promised fresh fields, free and rich

to new settlers who came,

(on the move once more)

for nourishment and warm silk to put on their backs

(and that we know of for it was left on a scroll).

Not huddling together, grand in front of prey,

but feet spread wide, reaching for space, hungry for more

land and wealth.


they labelled the taking of holdings.

New empires were built on snow.

Snow is our drink still. We take it now with shoulders stooped low.


And we’re at now.


the blackened slush left by dragons who modelled themselves on the summits of mountains is nearly gone.


we know what’s to come,


we know not to step on thin ice anymore,

now we know we’ve used up the brittle ice stepping stones

that marked our road.

(How will we make our way into the future if ice is thawed?)


we huddle together once more

to catch the last of the artistry that is snow: pure life-giving water

to stretch the food on the table, the rags on our back.


First, snow was a relief, now’s not a form of relief anymore

now, when we lose the last beasts that were glaciers,

the last treacherous  sodden tombstones of frozen eternity,

we’re at now. Focused on mortality.

When Her Body Whispered

Her feet are glued to this earth,
her legs alone, bent at the knees,
tremble forward and backwards
as if her life is stuck in the present,
still searching for a meaning to death.
What is she, why she came, where to,
she comprehends not,
knows not which way to go
Is she whole, a free soul?
A mere link between a past and an incongruent future?
A shadow of her maternal past,
of her wicked aunts,
crooked grandmothers,
feeble remembrance of her youthful life-pulsating self?
What will her future look like?
Will she drop,
spread out fat in an old pattern
stubbornly reaching forward
knowing she will mold onto the same pattern
like those before her-
of a mother, a wicked aunt, a crooked grandmother?
Fear that she knows herself not,
knows her inner fears not,
that she cannot conquer them,
knows not where her path is aimed,
cannot stir away from it anyway-
for as long as she will live.
Nevertheless she breaks away
hobbles in humble dance,
around and left,
then right again,
painful patience,
searching for her inner self.

She is the wave of life that carries forward
riding it, while trying to escape it, its sheer force
she spins, embracing her fate,
palms open in front of her face
sudden stop, her eyes large
as if watching herself in the reflection of a lake
seeing herself for the first time.
She stands taller, stronger,
she is not alone anymore
her reflection as a partner
and that is life.
Her hand spread, her fingers open,
each one has a mind of its own,
feeling, sensing, smelling, spilling inwards, stirring,
then opening out, emanating out of her body
like the branches of a tree.
She takes tentative steps, like a baby,
scoops up something and carries it to her mouth
Ripe fruit, or babe,
she sucks in its scent, sweet and balmy
eyes watering, breath catching-
she miles, embracing herself,
opening up to the world, accepting its fate.
She knows, now, who she is,
her body whispered its secret.
She is a woman.


After a Lurid Dream

My breath caught first
then I opened my eyes
to the book on the nightstand
and my phone above,
the honking of car
my neighbors living for work
the gate had to be locked
inside, only air trembled
from the loud vowels I’d called.

The curtain hung, its floral pattern
bright yellow as always, on a sunny morning.
I swung my feet out of the bed
and they touched
the blue carpet
cool from a night of dreams.

No large spiders under my bed
stuck their legs to grab mine,
no robber was waiting behind the cracked door,
dreams were long.

My mouth opened and I could count
out loud
the night stupor
gone a soon as I’d opened my eyes.

I could run, no need to crawl
with a body that wouldn’t listen
I could even lift my knees
up to my chin, my spine only curved a bit.

The kettle was in the kitchen,
enough water for a cup-
no ants partying inside this time-
only a ray in sunshine pointing at the coffee jar.

But as the water bubbled
I heard how empty the house echoed
Sound sucked into carpets, frames on walls
Of all those that I had loved,
now gone.

Patricia Furstenberg - With a medical degree behind her, writer and poet Patricia Furstenberg authored 18 books to date. The recurrent motives in her writing are unconditional love and war, while Patricia’s keen interest for history, folklore and dogs brought her writing, through a perfect loop, to her native Romania, Patricia being the creator of the hashtag #Im4Ro hashtag, sharing positive stories. 

Her writing appeared online in Romania Insider, Books by Women, Huffington Post UK, Biz Community SA, Secret Attic,  Poetry Potion, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Masticadores Rumania, The Poet Magazine, Spillwords Press, Plum Tree Tavern, Erato Magazine, Visual Verse, Militant Thistles (The Recusant), The Japan Society Haiku Corner, Medusa’s Kitchen, Academy of the Heart and Mind, Scarlet Dragonfly Journal and forthcoming:  The Kingfisher Journal, Poetry Pea Journal, Kalahari Review.  to name a few. 

She resides with her family in South Africa.

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