Happy New Year!
2010 marks the 340th anniversary of J. Herbin, a Paris-based maker of inks and sealing wax. Many people use fountain pens with their Rhodia pads, and have an Herbin ink or two in their collection.
We are honored to begin the anniversary year with a poem about Herbin inks by Tree Riesener, an award-winning poet and writer.
Les Encres de Monsieur Herbin
Encre Authentique, “Lawyers’ Ink,” for orders of execution, though paper crumbles, glowing in the night for three hundred years, enduring black legalese, these letters.
Grise Nuage, grey clouds of 1943 for Irene Sendlerowa, savior of children from the Warsaw Ghetto, for her heart broken, but never broken, of little ease, these letters.
Bouquet d’Antan, please please don’t leave, words in sorrowful faded rose, desolation unremembered, only watching the rain, writing, sorrow without surcease, these letters.
Cafe des Iles, never say you love me, and if we meet, I’ll pretend I’ve forgotten your face. Faded brown written on leaves, let them blow away in the breeze, these letters.
Violette Pensee, I will bury your bottle in fragrant petals, write by the light of candles on turtles’ backs, pen delicate lyrics of love and loss, plus an occasional tease, these letters.
Eclat de Saphir, flashing blue scooped from the sun-glinted ocean, sign room service for two, “Etouffee d’ecrevisses, Pinot Grigio, Mousse au chocolat,” caprice, these letters.
Lierre Sauvage, shadowed green, forest tree, flow as I copy out Akhmatova, “The glass doorbell rings, don’t touch me,” thoughts Stalin’s shadows could not seize, these letters.
–Tree Riesener has published poetry and short fiction in the United States, Scotland and England. Her achievements include semi-finals of the Pablo Neruda Competition; a double first for the Short-Short Story and the Literary Short Story at the Philadelphia Writers Conference; the William Van Wert Fiction Award, and a Hawthornden International Writers Fellowship at Hawthornden Castle, Scotland. Three short stories have been staged by the Writing Aloud Series at InterAct Theatre, Philadelphia. She has two new poetry collections: Inscapes from Finishing Line Press and Angel Poison from Puddinghouse Publications. Her first chapbook was Liminalog, a collection of ghazals and sijo.
Thank you, Tree, for the beautiful gift of your poetry to start the new year.