Poetry

Poetry Collections

Spirit of Fire

Element Books, 1983, hardback with colour illustrations, 50 pages

Spirit of Fire (by Carolyn Askar) Book CoverThis book is universal in its approach as well as its appeal. The poems move beyond the personal in their questionings and affirmations, expressing a simple and unshakeable truth—a reverence for life. The title poem has been published by the BBC and Longman, and it is recommended by the London Diocesan Board for Schools as an alternative Halloween celebration.

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My Faith

My faith

lies in the cracks

between religions.

 

The prism of truth

refracts light

in many colours

of equal validity

and brightness.

To be

free to wander

through the rays

and discover

again and again

the same

white brilliance,

is to rejoice

in the wonders,

the enigmas

and faithful reflections

of love.

A Unique Curve

Priapus Press, 1988, limited edition hand-printed chap booklet, collectors item, almost sold out

Unique Curve (by Carolyn Askar) Book CoverA short selection chosen by John Cotton—poet, educator and publisher—for his sought-after hand-printed Priapus series. Collectors’ item.

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Pairing

A well-worn glove,

I cleave to every contour of your hand.

My fabric barely

registers your touch: familiar, warm.

Each conscious ripple

Of our separate textures stirs the dance.

With counter rhythm

We adjust position, fold and flex,

To get the fit

Just right for palming out

And holding life.

Interpreting the Tree

Diamond Press, 1990, paperback, 91 pages

Interpreting the Tree (by Carolyn Askar) Book CoverThis collection parallels human growth and cycles of development with those in nature. It traces the path from roots to harvests and regeneration through first expression, potential and relationships. At times deeply personal, Interpreting the Tree encompasses human and global issues to which we can all relate.

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This Beach

The swollen ocean

Heaving past horizons,

Pulses

With unshed waves

Held taut in its skin.

 

It splits

And licks an expression.

It coats the shore,

Sucking at dryness

Vast as itself.

 

So we break:

Life

For one brief moment

Manifest

In a unique curve.

Wilderness

Terracotta Press, 1998, paperback, 80 pages

Wilderness (by Carolyn Askar) Book CoverThese poems reflect on changes, both internal and external. They arose from extensive world travels and take us on a journey filled with people, places and relationships, viewed from a particular perspective.

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Strings

You were trying to fly your kite.

Helped by your father, you struggled to launch

The enormous two-hander in uneven gusts.

Too large and heavy for your twelve years,

It looped and dived again and again,

While you, frustrated, stamped the ground.

 

In a flash I saw you on the threshold of manhood,

Looking back to this day when the task was too great:

You, defiant, challenging the wind,

Determined to launch yourself from my cradle –

And I cried, in the pause of this telling moment,

For all the moments we throw to the wind

Home on the Wing

Terracotta Press, 2004, paperback, black-and-white photos, 67 pages

Home on the Wing (by Carolyn Askar) Book CoverWhere do you consider home? Today, increasing numbers of us find ourselves moving and migrating between loved ones, work commitments, opportunities and changing world events. Is home defined by location, physical comfort, connection to roots? Is it a place that feeds the spirit, provides the support of community or deepens a sense of self? What makes us feel at home—or not at home? This collection explores these questions through deeply personal poems. The publication of this book is in support of The Dandelion Trust Charity (reg. charity no. 328159), which gives children from war zones respite and time to heal.

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Too Thin (Swiss Cottage tube station, London)

On the floor of the station,

where raw air blasts in,

he is wrapped against the chill

in a blanket way too thin.

 

His narrow back bent over

and his body, so slim,

that his spine protrudes clearly

through the second woollen skin.

 

Sharp angles through the blanket

show bony knees hugged up.

Bluish fingers, glove-less,

are clenched around a cup.

 

The wind’s tossing litter

and his stringy pony tail

whips, like the litter,

round his face, so drawn and pale.

 

His covers are so thin

I long to give him my own,

as shivering with discomfort,

I make for my warm home.

 

There, no cold air blasts in,

but the image plays its part

and draughty questions whistle

through the murmur in my heart.

Driftwood

Terracotta Press, 2009, paperback, driftwood sculpture photos, 68 pages

Driftwood (by Carolyn Askar) Book CoverThis collection moves between the outer world of earthly matters (both natural and unnatural) and the inner worlds of frailty and creativity. It drifts through family matters to love—in many guises.

All proceeds from sales of this book will be used to support WYSE International: World Youth Service and Enterprise (reg. charity no. 1053940). WYSE is a United Nations–recognized NGO that has been running residential programmes for young people from across the globe (more than 100 countries) for the last 20 years. WYSE programmes promote peace by increasing understanding of self and others; bridging cultural and economic barriers; and exploring ways forward towards a positive future for our planet.

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Old Persian Silver Box

Surprising to notice

These nymphs are bare-breasted:

Tripping hand in hand beneath the trees,

Shielded by canopies of leaves.

Silken drapes slipping from their waists,

Are flung in folds across an arm;

Feet raised to measure a lyric pace,

Frowned upon outside this sylvan realm.

 

Strange that craftsmen long ago

Made this box with cold metallic taste,

Depicting their silver fantasies

Etched within a frame of thorns –

Freedom controlled by curving swords,

Dances that must be obeyed

By women, then and still today,

To dodge the unforgiving blade.

Audio Clips of Selected Poems

Anthology

Touching Margins

Companion Voices for the Journey Blue Moon Group Anthology 2006 (editor & contributor); CD also available

Touching Margins (by Carolyn Askar) Book CoverTouching Margins contains poems by well-known and new poets from several countries. It is intended for those approaching the end of life as well as for their families and loved ones. Touching Margins is available on request free of charge.

Song Lyrics

Face On

Dance Umbrella, London, 1982, music by Lindsay Cooper, directed by Sally Potter

Heh, Taxi!

CD, Switzerland, 2001, music by Pierre Jenni

Order Books

Please contact Carolyn Askar to order copies of her books. You can also order Carolyn’s poetry books and Children’s Stories such as The Swans’ Secret at Amazon UK.