Stephen Byrne, Chandra Gurung

by Chandra Gurang

The rulers,
Covering their filthy feet
With different design of shoes
Feel secure.

The shoes also
Having got to live under the ruler’s feet
Regard themselves fortunate.
They attain great pleasure
In being at their boss’ service
And being their blind followers
Intone the names of their masters.

These rulers,
In assurance of the courtier shoes
Don’t pay heed to anyone.
In the hands of abettor shoes
Fear none.
And slam kick
Upon tender dreams.

These shoes,
Tread mercilessly
On innocent lives.
And trample
The beautiful flowers of garden.

But one thing-
Whatever transgression and oppressions
These rulers carry out,
They do it only after putting on their shoes.
Without shoes, their naked feet
Cannot even traverse a single step.

Rogue Rulers!


Chandra Gurung is a Nepali poet based in Bahrain.



by Stephen Byrne


          Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.      
                                                                -Theodore Roethke

Once a florist offered cyclamens
to soldiers beyond the fence
in reminiscence of times of peace

Once a florist offered coffee
and biscuits to children
building sand dams
from the rubble of tenements

Once flowers grew wild
on the streets, in the gardens
on the roads, hills and mountains,
where they bloomed and perfumed
for the people

Once a florist offered cyclamens
offered reason in a scene of petals
and Tulip essence

to the soldiers fearing the darkness
to the children trying to make sense
of the boom and the boom and the boom
and the flowers that once bloomed

and the Tulips laid to rest
on the chest of the florist
who offered peace
with coffee and cyclamens

Stephen Byrne is a chef and writer in Galway. His work has been published or is forthcoming in Skylight 47, Ropes 2015, The Original Van Gogh’s Ear Anthology, The Blue Hour, The Galway Review, Boyne Berries, RædLeafPoetry-India, The Poetry Bus and many others. His work has also been translated into Russian for the Nasha Gazeta journal and newspaper, Dublin edition. He was shortlisted for The Redline Book Festival Poetry Competition 2014 as well as shortlisted 2011 and longlisted 2014 for ‘Over the Edge’ Poetry competition. He is also guest editor for Scissors & Spackle as well as Associate editor for ELJ Publications.


Illustration: Vincent Van Gogh, Shoes, 1886-1887