Cyphers Magazine


Publishing poetry, prose and art since 1975

the current issue of Cyphers is No. 96

From Cyphers No. 94, by Brian Lalor
From Cyphers 92: Michael Augustin MULTIMASKER

Two poems from the current issue


by Mary Noonan

A shelf in a tall black mausoleum
is crammed with jars – prickly pear,
rhubarb and ginger, damson,
groseille intense, apricot.
A black cape shawls the ceiling
of the ice-box, blue mould seals
the half-eaten jellies in their glass
sarcophagi. Most were bought when
you were here – four years under
the pall, fruit sugars and spices
rotting in a molasses-dark marinade.
To touch them would be to halt
the small wooden train beetling
through the sun-speckled groves
of Majorca, orange and lemon leaves
reaching through an open window to
touch us as we bobbed to the sea.



by Howard Wright

Time on your hands
where the roads come to die.
Everyone about their business;
an indifference to hairdressers,
a modesty of pubs.
Multi-purpose stores
are smithereens of sunlight.
Time at your beck and call.
Every other door is a postcard
you will write eventually.
Words are like hills in your mouth.
Rain on a river makes the sea
but a fire behind the window
is a snug in the darkness.
Time wasted is well spent.


from No. 95


by Maurice Scully

here is the news & weather

pluck a string

wait      repeat      vary

put a plum on a plate

get the brushes out

clear the mind

pare an apple

get stuck in

[if the source be close]

here is the news & weather

a thin slice in time

through a rising population

they call it Intercultural Post-Media Studies

we sing dumb

here is the news & weather

when the sun swells up &

burns off oceans & human

cultures if not long long

gone by then incinerate

& your home planet & histories

& languages & talents

& pitiful bitternesses

vanish with

uncountable myriad

intricately beautiful

microscopic diatom

& poetry of course fizzles

to ash & its ash is swept

forever away

then …


here is the news & weather



 by Elisa Audino

Poetry is revolution,

wrote Amiri Baraka,

and the revolutionary is he who curses inequality

from the street.

Rap was revolutionary at the beginning,

Trap for ten seconds, at least the idea,

the Beats for about twenty years,

jazz while it was black.

Italian poetry expresses 

its revolution in the rhyming couplet

or in words like dismal, skull, sepulchral.

The Classics, it says.

Conservation, it means. 

translated by William Wall


from No. 94


 by Alanna Offield 

As the signal buffers its way from the air-conditioned newsroom
to the edge of the fire, the young reporter nods her head for slightly too long.
Yes, she says, thousands more acres, hundreds more evacuations
the biggest active fire in the country, the biggest in New Mexican history maybe
and I wonder is there something of pride in the recognition. I am listening
for her accent. Decoding if she belongs to these burning mountains
or if she chose them, if when she got the job in Albuquerque,
they told her to tone it down, to remove the music of her words because viewers
wouldn’t understand her, it would remind them too much of the family they left behind
for the city. I wonder did she record herself speaking and play it back until
her sentences stopped curling at the ends like smoke.


le Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

Cat carad, agus mé ar cuairt chuige,
bhuail sí isteach sa seomra
nuair a bhíos chun dul a chodladh
agus ligeas di fanacht in aice liom –
bhí teas agus fionnadh uaim;
ach dúisiodh mé ag a trí a clog,
mar bhí sí ag cíoradh mo ghruaige lena hingne
is ag brú orm, a srón beagnach sáite
isteach im’ chluas. Níor dhein sí crónán ar bith,
lean uirthi ag obair chun rud éigin a chur
i gcuimhne dom, ag obair i ndáiríre
chun go dtuigfinn, ach theip uirthi,
bhí an codladh ró-throm. Ansan thosnaigh sí ag caoineadh
agus bhí orm éirí agus í a scaoileadh amach
faoin oíche, mé cosnochta ar urlár fuar.
Ar maidin,
bhí ionadh orm faoin rud a tharla, ach
cén fáth nár thuigeas pé rud a bhí i gceist?
Nach mar sin a bhíonn an scéal,
an fhilíocht ag breith orainn le greim –
le greim an uafáis, sa dorchadas
is ag imeacht arís gan fiú focal amháin
agus an dualgas fágtha aici romhainn,
an eachtra a thuiscint, conas a tharla
tiomnú cait a bheith chomh deacair san a mhíniú?


for Kathleen Loughnane

by Moya Cannon.

Over the drystone, sunstruck wall
we were ambushed by the sway
and scent of a July meadow—
whites of tall daisy and yarrow,
purples of scabious and cranesbill,
the bitten yellow of cat’s ear,
blue tremble of harebell,
and more flowers that we couldn’t name,

but we were caught, are caught still,
in the blurry, summery sway of it.

Moya Cannon’s Collected Poems were published by Carcanet in 2021.

BIA TIARGÁLAÍ (Scott san Antartach)

le Gréagóir Ó Dúill.

Fán am a dtagaim ar an fhírinne sa channa stáin
Bíonn an lipéad stríoctha stróctha.
Bíonn an fhírinne searbh,  an fíorscéal cam.
Aithním na lanna faobhair le cois na gcrúb beannaithe oscailte,
Na cineálach uirlise a fhuasclaíonn an fheoil;  seachnaím mo pholladh féin
Agus leagaim an fheoil gona súlach ar phláta fuar
Ag súil nár lobhadh é.

He made it all too phony about affection,
made it all too creepy about using women,
made it all too Don Juan about his alleged amours,
all too evident he was twisted and all
too dull when anyone interrupted him by
so little as a word,

Because they love him and want him to live
and know in their hearts he will leave this room
by neither window nor door, they have ordained
that the lintel that has been always there

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