Candradasa

back

next

the poet

Born in Canada and raised in Scotland, Candradasa is an ordained Buddhist who now lives in New Hampshire, USA. His poetry has been published (sometimes under his given name, Michael Venditozzi) in Agenda, Acumen, Black Bough Poetry, Chapman, Finished Creatures and elsewhere. He was nominated for The Pushcart Prize in 2020.

the poems

Banagher Dam

00:00 / 02:38

            That time we walked up to Banagher Dam

            competing all the way:

            the shocked, stern, physical silence,

            and the miraculous heat,

            and our thumping hearts

            when we got to the top.


            I fell asleep on the grass.

            When I woke you convinced me

            about eating apples including the core,

            though already a little wary of me;

            so it felt like I was being taught,

            not the old mutual sharing of ways.


            (A few years later, a man in Wales

            tells me birds won’t eat an apple’s pips

            as they contain some tiny trace of cyanide.

            He’d stopped himself on hearing this

            and, glad of the excuse, I found

            it made a lot of sense to me.)


            But back at the dam it’s getting late.

            We’re starting down, lighter between us

            as we come near the moss-wood,

            fern-breaks, soft-crumble sides

            falling away to the burn beneath;

            we cross a bridge – and run:


            Whooping, barking, down on all-fours,

            shuttling between trees like men

            formed in a certain kind of light

            growing supple as deer,

            while overhead a tawny sky,

            and underfoot the fawny ground.


            Scampering the wounding way

            of a young forest’s hollows: trip-

            humps and leaf-fills and rotting trunk-cuts;

            ducking in and out of vision

            like the lost patrol in a film

            of a far-off jungle war.


            A wreathing passage then, the yield

            of branches; smooth our stooping,

            sharp our awareness of the other,

            even when invisible. We’d stop,

            dead but for the beat in the ears –

            then strain, catch sound, and whoop again


            And run again, and harry and chase

            and laugh respectful; maintaining reserve –

            then suddenly veering over new paths

            won together through the wood: crisscrossing

            in front, behind each other,

            never getting in the way.


            Till eventually we emerge –

            glorious and nakedly undefiant –

            to collapse sweating, roaring with blood,

            silent again in a heap of grasses

            piled dry beside the stile

            close to where we’d left the car.

Allan Donn

‘Ailein Duinn ὸ hì shiubhlainn leat’


Ailein Duinn

00:00 / 01:36

            My Allan Donn, where do you lie

            in foam white as an alb?

            Your pillow now a mermaid’s purse,

            your bed of kale and gorse

            unseen beneath the sea,


            Oh, Allan, who can comfort me?


            The seals kept faith with every soul

            that fell from Hurkar rocks;

            their mothers watched them from the doors

            but no one made the shore,

            and all of us were torn,


            Oh, Allan, may we be reborn?


            So talk with them, my Allan dear,

            as we would in the dawn,

            our little boat with anchored dreams

            of other ways and times

            warm by the harbour side,


            Oh, Allan, have we lost the tide?


            Then pity us, sea kings and queens,

            the orphans of your race;

            whose fathers wash ashore like shells,

            and all the stories tell

            of hearts lost in the sound,


            Oh, Allan, sorrow’s in our hands,

            My Allan, when will we be found?

Brú na Bóinne
(Newgrange)

00:00 / 00:48

            Those stones. Stones like huge mountain breads

            all dried out, still with the memory of oil.

            The heaviest overlaid in rings,

            spiral darknesses, sun-proofed

            save for the keyhole glow shown once a year:

            a god lasering in.


            The blessed work of generations

            roped together, hauled up and on:

            setting unequal day and night,

            their solstice harvest of grain and art.

            The wonder of river minds

            that floated quartz the length of the Boyne

            and turned whole hillsides to heavens

            where all our kings will be crowned.

Publishing credits

Banagher Dam: exclusive first publication by iamb

Allan Donn: Chapman (Vol. 106)

Brú na Bóinne (Newgrange): Deep Time, Vol. 2 (Black Bough Poetry)