Calling out the fathoms – Sarah Mnatzaganian

Calling out the fathoms

Robin brings a finished cello back
down to the kitchen for company.
He tilts the shallow maple shell
into the calliper’s deep green jaws

and sings out each measurement
like a seaman swinging his lead line
and calling out the fathoms. I scribe
thicknesses onto a cello-shaped grid

watching my hand catch and turn
the satisfaction in his voice into bold
italics, keen as a fleet of sailing boats
on the starboard tack in high wind.

 

Sarah Mnatzaganian is an Anglo-Armenian poet.  Shortlisted for the Poetry Business pamphlet competition 2016/17, her poems have been published in Atrium, The North, Fenland Reed, London Grip, Magma, Poems in the Waiting Room, As Above, So Below, Write to be Counted and #MeToo a women’s anthology edited by Deborah Alma. She studies with Peter and Ann Sansom and Moniza Alvi.

 

 

 

The Order of the Holy Paraclete moves next door – Sarah Mnatzaganian

The Order of the Holy Paraclete moves next door

It’s Saturday. The builders grumble to their wives
about their sunburned backs. The sack-cloth nuns
won’t look them in the eyes.

They dig up the convent car park, tip concrete,
sprinkle holy water. Arthritic nuns need to dwindle
somewhere small and practical.

The sparrows are on holiday in the cemetery hedge,
enjoying their fresh green curtains. They don’t know
that death walks beyond the hawthorns

where the sisters lie in a grassy dormitory, crucifixes
hammered over their heads. There’s space
for ten more, maybe twelve.

Their supervisor frowns down from his wooden cross.
The rain is getting to him. No whispering,
children. Listen to the birds.

 

Sarah Mnatzaganian is an Anglo-Armenian poet.  Shortlisted for the Poetry Business pamphlet competition 2016/17, her poems have been published in The North, Fenland Reed, London Grip, Poems in the Waiting Room, As Above, So Below, Write to be Counted and #MeToo a women’s anthology edited by Deborah Alma.  She studies with Peter and Ann Sansom, Heidi Williamson and Moniza Alvi. 

Uncle Hagop in Stratford upon Avon – Sarah Mnatzaganian

Uncle Hagop in Stratford upon Avon

I’m on my camp site by the river,
wading through the flood that followed rain
where, undeterred, uncle Hagop swims upstream.

Joy buoys him up like Dead Sea water.
Head and shoulders high, he walruses
his favourite lines:

Now is the winter of our discontent;
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow;
If music be the food of love.

He’s in his element, twice.

Swans gather in his wake,
curling respectful necks.
We leave our sodden tents and follow.

 

Sarah Mnatzaganian is an Anglo-Armenian poet.  Shortlisted for the Poetry Business pamphlet competition 2016/17, her poems have been published in The North, Fenland Reed, London Grip, Poems in the Waiting Room, As Above, So Below, Write to be Counted and #MeToo a women’s anthology edited by Deborah Alma.  She studies with Peter and Ann Sansom, Heidi Williamson and Moniza Alvi.