“The Cheshire Cat Goes to the Faroë Islands” by David Landrum, and “Be What’s Left” by Sandy Hiortdahl

Today, Lise Quintana and Kevin Sharp explore “Be What’s Left” by Sandy Hiortdahl, and “The Cheshire Cat Goes to the Faroë Islands,” by David Wayne Landrum, submitted for Issue #10, Alice in Wonderland.

The Cheshire Cat Goes to the Faroë Islands

“All right,” said the cat; and this time it vanished
quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail,
and ending with the grin, which remained for
some time after the rest of him had gone.

—-Lewis Carroll, The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland

Ketten faded, not to nothingness,
but into binding mist that brooded white,
cat-balanced on a peak above islets
strung like green pearls set in black stone above
the misty, dark whale-breeding cloak of sea.

He faded to the ice-infested shoals
and to the waterfalls that cascade down
from cliffs, basaltic forts, sheep-meadow swards;
out to the cloud-wall etched upon the sky
up where the Norns spin fate from mist and rime.

He faded to the sentient stones speaking
slow thoughts that let him rest on mossy beds
and in sunlight when the world-candle breaks
the fog, when water sparkles, and when tern,
puffin and oyster-catcher ride the sky.

He dreams the mind-plans of a cat, obscure
as runes; he hears the whispered speech of rocks,
sleeps safe in sheltered harbors on calm days.


Be What’s Left

I, too, have played croquet on golden days,
holding tight to pink flamingoes, knocking
hedgehog balls sideways, all the while
worried that somehow, someone will be
beheaded, though not me, never me.

It’s the mock turtle’s fault, you know,
for being so sad, when even lobsters
can sing and dance, but let’s not
take the chance on such a day
when tarts go lost and everyone’s
headed to court.

Everyone grows up, but few recall
the White Rabbit’s watch, that Hatter’s
snazzy aftershave, the wan look
of that silly dormouse, time and again.

Be the Cheshire cat, whose grin remains,
whose head may not be beheaded, even
when cards fall thick as autumn leaves,
for what is age except a trick of time,
answered best with what is left.