To see a world in a grain of sand
And heaven in a wild flower
Hold infinity in the palms of your hand
And eternity in an hour.
Auguries of Innocence, William Blake
What is an eternity in an hour? And can you hold infinity in your hand? I feel like every poem is such an expression, something that brings one closer to discovering the magic of life. Like love:
reached into my chest
caressing each rib
to remove my heart
in your hands
On the Flipside, Jeannie Wallace McKeown (Poetry Potion 5, 2014)
Like testing freedom:
how much does Africa owe France in taxes
how much does France owe SA for dissecting and slicing Sarah Baartman
for polishing and showing casing her private parts and butt publicly
temporally free, Rodney Roskruge (Poetry Potion 6, 2014)
Or reaching out for our humanity:
We love and lost, laughed and cried
Conceived and died,
And we acquired life.
Human Nature, Mercy Dhliwayo (Poetry Potion 1, 2013)
A poem is like that grain of sand that can hold a world in it or just a moment in time. It is a wonder that can be mis-seen as something exclusive, exclusively belonging to the dead poets of Europe. Yeah, high school lets us down sometimes. Because we call know the wonder that encountering the poems of people with names like yours, in a language that’s yours and a from a world you come from, how the infinite wonder belongs to you.
The thing about poetry is that you either feel it or you don’t. Well, poetry will always make you feel something even if you’re not sure that you do. Sometimes you have to read it again or just hear it out loud. Then something will lift you into a poem and you find yourself moved.
But what was Blake talking about?
In four lines, William Blake presents us, with the finest of imagery, the beauty of life. “To see a world in a grain of sand”, Blake calls you to slow down. To stop, and look at something that we barely every look at. Especially, not in its singularity. To look at this particular thing, and see something to vast that even out into space. And “heaven in a wild flower”, single it out yet see everything contained in it. That contrast of this imagined place of peace as being contained in a something wild, typically not seen as beautiful. This is a powerful line that foregrounds the rest of the poem and I believe is a beautiful descriptor about what poems do. He says, look closely, youth “hold infinity in the palms of your hand / and eternity in an hour”. Whoa, kinda makes you look at the world in a different way, already with just this quatrain even before you read the rest of the poem. It’s interesting that while the rest of Auguries of Innocence is sometimes arranged in separate couplets and sometimes as one long stanza. The poem is so much more but this moment in time, it’s the opening quatrain that sends us into our theme of Infinite Wonders.
With this edition, we get back on track without print journal programme. The unscheduled interruption that was 2015 allows us to come back with a journal that is pack full of new poetry. This is our ninth print quarterly. With this edition, we go back to publishing in print every quarter. The new poems in this edition come from all around the world.
We feature thirteen poets from South Africa, Tunisia and India. The sixteen poems selected explore Infinite Wonders using fresh imagery like “Let me behave like tea drifting into hot water” from Kylin Lotter’s Armor and are surprising like “The stars were silver like the fake teeth / of an early twentieth century whore” from Ali Znaidi’s Celestial Illumination.
We have prancing word play, with Kabelo Mofokeng’s scamtho poetry in End of days: SOWETOPHOTOALBUM, “Sis bhuti wearing a spoti and botsotso somnganga / how bright your smile looks” as well as playful words from Amlanjyoti Goswami’s Star Gazing, “The universe of home, / Suddenly flaps / Its long open wings.”
Some poems itch “Sleepless nights, / Scavenging thoughts, / Eyes open” like TS Mashile’s Voices; and commanding like My Poetry by Mighty The Poet, “Let me adore the frightful freedom with no remorse and drink from this cup of life”.
These poems like Gameedah Riffel’s Give Me A Poem Please tease you with promises, “I’ll promise you the world / And whatever wonder your eyes may seek”; while others probe as Eternal Wonders by Welcome Moyo “Why have we entrusted the magic to shallow waters?”
They mock like Tulile Siguca does in New Dawns, “The beauty of any dream is poisoned by the ugly reality of having to awake”, and they look beyond our orbit like Soma Bose’s The Aliens does “may be they are robot like machine! / May be, they are human-alike or of divine doctrine!”.
These poem even stand outside themselves, observing with curiosity “they are here with their kiss the ground/I am on home soil” in Nkateko Masinga’s Amagugu, or just simply celebrate something wonderful as Ulrike Kussing does in My Miracle of 2014, “you unfurled / my sails”. And finally these poems hope and hold out for something more “I have hope for one more day / old tender heart of mine” as Charl Landsberg’s Tender Heart.
As the first edition of the year, I’ve also including a section of poems that were the most read in the months that they were published in in 2015. So in total this edition features 24 poets.
It feels great to be back. Sometimes it takes a lot longer than planned to make this wheel go round but that best thing about life is that Poetry Potion still here and here to stay.
duduzile zamantungwa mabaso