THREE POEMS by Ilona Martonfi


from this view, I see it better
from this perpetual angle of scarred trees

grating to find an answer

blue-white freckles and strawberry blossoms
a horsefly swishing across my face

riddled and pinned on a leaf
wild roses and blackberry bush

in a soft, white crinoline skirt
I don’t know how to write the truth

the green fly on my hand
this is where home is



“Grandma, the sun!”
Age two, she runs,
falls down, whirlwind jogs.
Picks up three sticks,
dashes to the slides.
The ice cream vendor
rings her bell.

The man with a kite says:
“Not enough wind!”
The sun glows in the haze:
smoke from oil rig fire
on the offshore.
The ice cream vendor
rings her bell.

The red ball in the sky.
Zola wants the sun:
“Mine. My ball!” she yells.
The kite climbs and climbs.
We leave the play park.
The sun follows us.
The ice cream vendor
rings her bell.

My granddaughter falls asleep.



before the oil spill
traps wetlands

with brown-orange gob

he goes fishing
sells crabs on the market
pulls out the eyes
kisses red sky

without fire
without wood ash
without hands

he goes to the wetlands
he collects skeletons

clumps of dead seagrass
and green turtle corpses

Visiting The Dunes and Zola appeared under other titles in Blue Poppy (Coracle Press).



Far away
in the south
a child of the bayou

Far away
by the Mississippi River


Photo by Élizabeth Robert

Ilona Martonfi Blue Poppy, a first book of poems, published with Coracle Press, 2009. Published Coracle Press chapbook,Visiting the Ridge (2004). Martonfi’s poems have appeared in Vallum, Carte Blanche, Headlight Anthology, Accenti, Bibliosofia, (Italy), Arcade, Helios, Serai, Carve, Soliloquies, Fire With Water, Sun Through The Blinds: Montreal Haiku Today, Poets Against War, The Fiddlehead. Finalist 2007 Quebec Writing Competition. Publishedstory, “My Daughter, Marisa,” in CBC Story Anthology III, In Other Words: New English Writing from Quebec (Véhicule Press, 2008). Poet, editor, educator, creative writing teacher.

Ilona Martonfi was born in Hungary. She spent part of her childhood in a German refugee camp, before emigrating to Montreal, where she spent her adolescence. Her European background, her immigrant experience, and her marriage to an Italian – all of these different languages and locales inform her poetry with an international flavour.

For the past decade, Ilona Martonfi has founded, produced and hosted the enormously popular reading series: The Yellow Door Poetry and Prose Reading Series. Martonfi is the co-founder and host of the annual Lovers & Others reading. She now also presents the Visual Arts Centre’s poetry and prose reading series.

Martonfi – as well as producing the above reading series – actively participates in giving readingS from her own works in many venues in Montreal. She is currently working on a memoir and second collection of poetry, Black Watercolour.

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