Andrew Lansdown

Contributor Biography

Andrew Lansdown is an Australian writer whose poems, stories and essays have appeared in more than 70 magazines and newspapers and are represented in over

100 anthologies. He has published three novels, two short story collections, an essay collection, two books of photography and poetry, two children’s poetry collections,

15 poetry collections, and 11 poetry chapbooks. Lansdown has won a number of prestigious poetry awards, including the Western Australian Premier’s Award for Poetry (twice) and the Adelaide Festival of the Arts’ John Bray National Poetry Award. His novel With My Knife was shortlisted for the National Children’s Book Award; and his novel

The Red Dragon was named by the Children’s Book Council of Australia as a “Notable Australian Children’s Book”. He has been awarded six writer’s grants and fellowships by the Literature Board of the Australia Council. Andrew’s latest books are: Distillations of Different Lands (Sunline Press, Western Australia, 2018); Kyoto Momiji Tanka: Poems and Photographs of Japan in Autumn (Rhiza Press, Queensland, 2019); and Abundance: New and Selected Poems (Wipf & Stock Publishers/Cascade Books, USA, 2020). Abundance was shortlisted for the 2021 Australian Christian Book of the Year Award. Visit his website at www.andrewlansdown.com. 

For Grace

Grace is out of grace

for pestering her father.

We are discussing

Important Matters and have

no time for prattle

or play. Grace is out of grace.

Forsaking us, she

clambers onto a carved chest

in the bay window,

rests her face against the pane,

the crocheted curtains

caped loose across her shoulders.

Outside, a woman

wavers while walking to wave

to a child alone

at a window. Grace’s hands

flutter like sparrows

then fall still upon the sill

as the lady leaves.

Even sparrows, Jesus said,

do not fall unseen.

Look then, Father, in the lace

while I pester you for Grace.

Restraint

But forget for now the galaxies,

the trillion trillion stars strewn

across space towards infinity—

 

forget even the orbiting planets

with or without oceans and whales,

volcanoes, dinosaurs and sequoia—

 

forget for now all that, and think 

only of the astonishing power 

the Almighty exercised to restrain 

 

his boundless bounding power

for the sake of making something

as delicate as that donkey orchid.

Redemption Reflections

1.

Whipping-Prince

Petty kings provide

whipping-boys for their princes.

But the King of kings

sent Heaven’s Prince to receive

the dread lashings we deserve.

2.

Refinement

Outraged holiness

ignited the Father’s wrath…

Yet for love of us 

He burned away our dross

in the crucible of the Cross.

3.

Resonance

 

In everything

there’s a resonance of Christ

our Redeemer…

In the bamboo’s hollow dark,

His sin-bearing cross-killed heart.

 

4.

Black Hole

 

How did the cosmos

survive the gravity of

the Almighty’s grief

as He abandoned His one Son 

for doing what had to be done?

Devotional

He is the one whose name

came from angels of God,

odd though some might find it—

fit, but, for believers,

receivers of God’s grace,

place-getters in Heaven

even if they deserve

reserve-spaces in Hell—

tell, oh tell the dear name,

same for every sinner,

Saviour Master Jesus—

please us is his pleasure,

treasure us is his measure!

Zuihō-in Zen Temple, Kyoto

—i.m. Sōrin Ōtomo, temple founder, 1546 AD

Raked to ripples,

the gravel in the oblong

garden laps round

seven rough rocks obliquely 

arranged to suggest a cross.

 

It’s in honour

of the daimyo, the domain 

lord of Kyushu,

who near five centuries ago

converted to Christ our Lord.

 

And back a bit

in a smaller Zen garden

a Mary statue

hidden for fear of the Shogun

underneath a stone lantern.

Phan Ming Yen

Contributor Biography

Phan Ming Yen is at present Chief Operating Officer of TRCL, a not-for profit arts organisation. Phan published his debut collection That Night By the Beach and Other Stories for a Film Score (Ethos Books) in 2012. He is also one of the four writers in the collaborative writing projects, The Adopted: Stories from Angkor (2015) and Lost Bodies: Poems Between Portugal and Home (2016), while other short stories have appeared in Quarterly Literary Review Singapore. Phan has also written on the history of music in Singapore in Cultural Connections, the journal of the Culture Academy of the Ministry of Culture, Communications and Youth and in Singapore Soundscape: Musical Renaissance of a Global City.  

Paradise Lost: Paradise Regained

I.           Eve

 

faith uncaged step by step from these pages,

the disciples tried to hide the truth

 

that Eve first left Eden,

the saints reworked this truth

 

the taste of that apple,

the apostles did not tell the truth

 

and Man forgets all truth

with Woman’s first words of goodbye:

 

“I leave you in the garden burning breathless” 

 

 

II.         The Scribe 

 

to cage and burn every page. 

 

senseless within lines

of another attempt

to rewrite

 

please, the poet begs please

unscramble this catacomb of sleeping memories

 

 

III.        Adam

 

pages burnt, memories buried,

 

I finally wake

 

to

no body

no one

only

heaven

 

 

(within this blue mosaic, finally

 

space to live)

Silence

(homage to Shusaku Endo)

I.            Before the Fumi-e

 

Black and blue, these strapped up limbs,

except for his legs which his jailors kept

free for him to step on the fumi-e

 

as the cool of the Virgin’s smile

streaks up his swollen toe

 

his tormentor asks, laughing:

 

“Pain or ecstasy what’s your pleasure?”

 

 

II.           The Silent Night

 

Aflame in black ecstasy, orders extinguished:

after death

how will I know my love was true,

this sacrifice not an exercise in vanity?

 

wind that stalks these corridors

leaves with my breath

 

questions that tear the flesh

return after each prayer

 

an eternity of kneeling

will not wash away the

blood dripped into the

pit of excrement

 

 

 

Is what He is asking for

this body of lost confessions looking for the sun? 

St Anthony’s Fire

 

the saint:                The sun orders flames in skies,

fishes line up

to listen to my hand

that has turned against me

 

a thousand ants 

choke my words

which

these black fingers

refuse to carry

 

the heretic:             freed by his words

they would never know

the burning of skin

the longing of lips for air:

 

if hell is a deep blue sea

I want to weave as sardines in oceans

Author's Note:

These three poems were published in the collaborative writing project, Lost Bodies: Poems between Portugal and Home, by Heng Siok Tian, Phan Ming Yen, Yong Shu Hoong and

Yeow Kai Chai (Singapore: Ethos Books, 2016).