One Poem by Alun Robert

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Perspective From The Third Chair

I sense you stride across Place Lamartine.
Hear you point, gesture       to La Maison Jaune
looking up to my window      adjusting your silk dress
staccato every step en route to la chambre
       parfum wafting like lilac in spring.

I await your sharp knock
for I anticipated your arrival       the parquet
finely brushed by bisom, by me. Chairs
positioned exactly, according to tai-chi     the rules
determined by yin and by yang.

My jackets, my chattels neat on the far wall
       ordered by colour: indigo the left, green towards right.

L’eau fills the blue pitcher,
le savon the flat plate.
A freshly laundered towel     droops the brass hook.
Ghostly white linen     festoons my bed
after washing, starching, triple pressed.

I squint at le miroir now devoid of image
yet our pictures stare, down from on high
to remind me that once      once we were to be as one
in this modest apartment, this was to be our home
with Paul briefly in situ       sur la gauche.

Your existentialism abounds from every dark corner,
       azure walls a metaphor for your prolonged absence.

While breathing intensifies like rapid gunfire
echoing along le couloir        missing the offbeat
when an aching heart warbles         chanson française
as I hear stilettoes         Doppler shift indicating
arrival     at the apartment next door.

Then everything becomes still     everything silent.
No lilting fragrance       not a whisper of wind.
Not the expected grande entrance        though
I envisage a spirit rising     rising through the ether
as bells loudly peel from Saint-Trophime     the Tower.

For I feel you every morning       miss you every day.
Cry when I don’t want to . . . cry myself to sleep.

 

Born in Scotland of Irish lineage, Alun Robert is a prolific creator of lyrical verse achieving success in poetry competitions. He has featured in international literary magazines, anthologies and on the web. His influences extend from Burns to Shakespeare, Kipling to Betjeman, Dennis to Mazzoli.

Two Poems by Wendy Jones

A Fine Young Man

Its tight weave had a few unravelled threads;
his flannel shirt, well woven
in a green, green valley
of lush leaves rippling
on summer days
where trout swam
in pools of rushing brooks.
He could see it all,
lying there, as his heart thudded time
to its red, red blood seeping
along the severed threads
of his uniform.


A Pair of Red Shoes

Wearing them
with unconscious enjoyment
the child trod shingle and shell,
over dry, crunchy seaweed;
plodded slippingly
over geologically varied pebbles,
felt the seeping wetness
of salty seawater pools;
stuck into sucking, sinking grey mud
and came home shoeless.
Continue reading “Two Poems by Wendy Jones”

One Poem by Sheree Mack

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

suggestive here of rest or of sleep

Dear Theo,

you should see the Yellow House!
Especially in the sun. It’s working
its magic on my tired eyes. Here
in the heart of Provence, I’m blessed.

I write to you giving you details
about the direction of my work.
It’s simple really. I plan to paint
my bedroom. I will paint my bedroom

for you so you will at least have a feel
for this place. A taste. It’s a kind of blue.
Like musical notes fading in and out
with the light. A suggestion of something.

The door, the walls, my jackets and
washing jug and bowl. Blue.
Cornflower blue. Prussian blue.
Lilac blue. Can you picture it?

I lie my head down here and dream
ideas. I see the colour blue caressing
my floating body in this room.
You’ll see when I paint it for you.

Ever yours.          Vincent

 

Sheree Mack is a Creatrix living on the North East Coast of England. She facilitates visual journaling workshops, nationally and internationally, supporting women in their exploration of their authentic voices. She has a forthcoming collection of poetry with Culture Matters called skinshame.

Three Poems by Byron Beynon

The Wild Pony

The wild pony’s silhouette
ponders its way back up the mountain
as a raw-anointed sky
settles once more
with the evening hours.
This harsh winter’s
slope on a planet evolving
towards a particular summit,
grace and shade
blessed by the starlight
appearing with the armoured wind.
Each step comes
with a sense of discovery,
a memory of home and a possibility
that the drift of understanding
appears closer to the crystalline
eye of healing.


Arenig, Sunset

An evening imbued
with the silence of time.
The virile sky
conserves a patient vision
with thoughts that search
through galleries of pre-history.
The prayer that is yet to come,
awaiting a reckoning,
the unseen figure who stands
to one side,
shadows that summon up memory
persuading the senses
to return here once again.


Refugee Jazz

She has already left
the country of her birth,
crossed into another
searching for that rare
seam of freedom heard
through the rhythm of language.
Surviving under a blue
glaze of sky she attends
signature classes without
a visa or borders.
Measuring tenderness and re-winning
understanding by expressing
a coherent phrase
about being human.
Her melody of time
recorded in a mind
where compositions are learnt
by striving towards
a horizon cleansed
by a universal beat.

 

Byron Beynon lives in Swansea. His work has appeared in several publications including Agenda, Planet, Poetry Wales, London Magazine, Crannog and North of Oxford. He co-ordinated the Wales’ section of the anthology Fifty Strong (Heinemann). Collections include Cuffs (Rack Press) and The Echoing Coastline (Agenda Editions). Selected Poems is forthcoming in 2018.

One Poem by James Bell

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Van Gogh’s Bedroom in Arles, Paris and many other places

i.

I know this room
how it can be a room inside a room
one I have known since youth
would hide amongst its bright colours
lock its door against a world
full of delights and disappointments
not knowing the experience isn’t unique
become calm within the neat simplicity
the bare planks of the floor
I still sometimes imagine as a journey
each a path to yet another destination
like Vincent’s own perpetual walk
from Arles on the road to Carcassonne

ii.

I went inside this room again in Paris
so real I could have touched it
though only in two dimensions
ached to lie on the comfortable bed
noticed too how others crowded about
saw the room I guessed with similar thoughts
desires they too had held for years
had come along like me and now observed
Vincent’s textures and shapes resolve
his and others’ turmoils into new perspectives

iii.

each view of this room now
contains nostalgia and the multiple
interiors I filled it with
never just a chair or a window
some portraits on a wall with
pathways off to other interiors
and where these people went
where they have yet to go or
have already gone – I have never
looked outside that partly open window
preferred always to remain inside
for this is the rooms intent
to measure our limits against exterior ambitions

 

James Bell is Scottish and now lives in France. He has written and published poetry for twenty years. At present he is at work on his first short story collection.

Two Poems by Derek Brown

The Very First Days of February

The chequerboard is elevated
There is a heavenly displacement
Where I sit inside this bar
The people talk of nothing
But masquerades of circumstance
But are essentially oblivious
And know not to be thankful
A crucial aimlessness lingers
Like alcohol on the breaths
Of the cryptically broken-hearted
As they nurture each other’s grief
Like a messiah his tender garden
The dog beside me whines
Perhaps it knows
What I do not know
And do not wish to know?
But not everything is a graveyard
Or a cemetery insight
I sit here and recall the snow
The very first days of February
Did not completely turn to nights.


The Senile Woman in the Corner

In these blue surroundings that melt
Like the snows that vanished with March,
The senile woman in the corner
Sings a sweet and incomprehensible song,
The not completely unwelcome visitors
Consult the phantoms of each other,
The ones with nothing left to haunt
But the voids that are left by absence,
In a space where nothing is recorded
But the sad and shapeless voice
Of a god who has forgotten our memory,
It recalls only its incontrovertible shadow
Masked by crude festivities designed
To replicate the mystery
That these ignorant eyes call light.
Continue reading “Two Poems by Derek Brown”

One Poem by Jim Bennett

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Jim’s room in London 1972

I wondered why Van Gogh painted a picture
of the chair in his bedroom at Arles
and flowers almost fragrant with paint
although his room was not as empty as mine

what furniture  I have is tired and old
a sideboard leans against the wall
one end propped up by telephone directories
bed a jumble of sheets and a ragged quilt

he must have wanted to record his place
so painted a picture when it was quiet and empty
unchanging and bright once he had captured it
light    shade and colour of the day

I have a postcard of it pinned to the wall
Vincent’s room from a day in 1888
showing forever the shadows of the moment
he had seen before it leapt towards night

at night though it is different     the bed empty
he must have stood   looked out of the window
like I do and like me saw the reflection of a stranger
who looks vaguely like the painting of a madman
Continue reading “One Poem by Jim Bennett”