Poem ‘Woman from the West’

Woman from the West

You’d awoken me with tea in the spare bed,
where my feet hung out the end.
At breakfast we heard about the pier,

smashed by the savage storm, the worst for years.
It was early December with heavy skies threatening,
so we wrapped up warm to take some air,

scarves blowing, my arm around your waist
feeling your locomotion, the buttock’s rise and fall
with that playful goose-step, your natural stride.

Through the lichgate, we passed graves old and
one very new. We stopped by wreaths, with thoughts
for a boy of no age. Found him in a ditch, you said,

in blasé exaggeration. No Christmas this year.
Not for them, but did it bother us?
Your life lay ahead, sampling life in London,

as lethal as the sea stallions pummelling that pier.
Now my eyes were open. That walk wasn’t playful
but callous, and the tea seemed like a gesture.

So when we left the wreaths, I felt changed.
Wreaths for that poor boy and for us.
Not for love.

© copyright David Francis Barker 2011

* First published in 2011 in poetry collection ‘Anonymous Lines’.

** The illustrations are from a 1990s drawing of a Lincolnshire Church, and a more recent painting of a couple on Cromer beach in North Norfolk, England. CLICK ON AN IMAGE TO SEE BIGGER SIZE!



  1. abichica · December 12, 2011

    beautiful creation.. 🙂


  2. Eve Redwater · December 12, 2011

    Such sad yet pretty imagery. The ending was wonderful too!


  3. Ina · December 12, 2011

    Hi David,
    this is so dreamy and still clever… the sad and the beauty of it, the December scenery and sentiments. The story in it! That pier and the final lines.
    I love it all:)
    And beautiful paintings again!


  4. df barker · December 12, 2011

    Thank you Eve!


  5. df barker · December 12, 2011

    Ina thank you! The story is elements of truth in it from an awfully long time ago, would you believe, although the woman wasn’t from ‘the west’! Thanks again for your kind comments!


  6. Dianda · December 12, 2011

    I like it. 🙂


  7. bardessdmdenton · December 12, 2011

    How realizations eventually come to us…especially to our hearts.

    I love the descriptive style, a short story in verse with all the elements that make it engaging. Very well done. So glad I found your writing!


  8. df barker · December 12, 2011

    I thank you so much! May I say that I too am very glad to have found your work. Kind regards, Dave


  9. df barker · December 12, 2011

    Thank you!


  10. Angela · December 12, 2011

    You are a great story teller in your poetry, David. It flowed with such ease and made me want to read on and on.


  11. df barker · December 12, 2011

    Thank you! You are so kind.


  12. claudia · December 12, 2011

    this is a wonderful poem david and i was wondering if you were talking about the west pier in brighton..not sure if you know.. i was there just a few weeks ago and wrote a poem, including the west pier skeleton…
    in case you wanna read it… http://jaywalkingthemoon.wordpress.com/2011/11/08/brighton-in-november/

    love all the details in your poem david…the weaving together of what’s outside and inside…you paint a breath-taking mood here..


  13. James Brandon O'Shea · December 12, 2011

    David, this was beautiful. Thanks for sharing.


  14. df barker · December 12, 2011

    Hi Claudia – thank you for your comments.
    To be honest I can’t recall which pier it was! I have been to Brighton but not for some time. All I remember is the co-incidence of a storm, destruction and the fall of a relationship. I have had a look at ‘brighton androgynous’ etc and was frankly stunned! How did I miss this? Your writing is a lesson in cutting loose, of fathoming true feelings and what a result! Parts of it even reminded me (perhaps wrongly!?) of DM Thomas (White Hotel etc), that sort of easy yet invasive eroticism, but wonderfully beautiful. You know, I’ve always fancied myself as a bohemian but I’d be lying! I’m far too ‘conservative’ and so I have more than one poetic ‘voice’. Your voice, however, is quite clear, honest, ‘in your face’, and all the better for it. I’m glad your work is there for us to see. Thank you for sharing and being so kind. David
    Kind regards



  15. df barker · December 12, 2011

    James, you are very kind and thank you so much!


  16. granbee · December 12, 2011

    DF, this would have been WAY too sad (and yes, callous) in tone if not for the very last line, letting us know the writer does not bury love! Thanks for the hope! And always, always, you have my greatest appreciation for your uplifting, gentle paintings.


  17. df barker · December 12, 2011

    Thank you again! You’re so kind with your comments, I am humbled.


  18. lscotthoughts · December 13, 2011

    Very beautiful, David, and your paintings are incredible!


  19. Thomas Davis · December 13, 2011

    You are simply a good poet. The story you tell lights up a part of humanity that is in all of us, but needs to be treated as you have treated it here: With a certain gesture, civility, but recognition that love is not in it; therefore it cannot lead to love. Callousness is always bubbling under the surface in groups of human beings. By why? This poems leads to deep reflection.


  20. emmylu28 · December 13, 2011

    absolutely beautiful and haunting


  21. df barker · December 13, 2011

    Thank you once again – I am grateful to you


  22. df barker · December 13, 2011

    I am so very grateful for you comments – thank you for your reading it and your kind thoughts.


  23. df barker · December 13, 2011

    You are so kind, I appreciate your kind words.


  24. journeyintopoetry · December 13, 2011

    Your poems have me captivated; they tell such “want to read more” stories (can’t think of a word!)

    And as ever the paintings – I feel I have seen enough now to be able to say “That’s definitely a David Francis Barker!! 🙂



  25. df barker · December 13, 2011

    Thank you! I try to paint ‘other’ things but it never seems to work – ah, well. Thanks again.


  26. Eve Redwater · December 13, 2011

    I’ve just noticed that you are the featured blog in Poetry with this piece! How wonderful!


  27. df barker · December 13, 2011

    Thank you Eve! All the very best.

    Kind regards



  28. Caddo Veil · December 13, 2011

    My goodness, this is Rich! “Sea stallions” is particularly striking. Your work is “genius” wonderful!


  29. Lindy Lee · December 13, 2011

    Your artistic styles are captivating…


  30. df barker · December 13, 2011

    Thank you once again, I’m so grateful to you!


  31. df barker · December 13, 2011

    Thank you, you’re very kind.


  32. rodalena · December 13, 2011

    Simply lovely.


  33. Betty Hayes Albright · December 14, 2011

    A wonderfully sad, honest poem… I love the power in your weaving of words here as you transition to a more somber, clear-eyed mood. Really felt this one!


  34. kvennarad · December 14, 2011

    David, I can see why this poem has attracted such a lot of attention and so many ‘likes’. It is very straightforward, articulate but not in too high a diction, narrative and descriptive but with a subtle point to make and a feeling to express, and ultimately very poignant. There’s a delicacy of touch which (forgive me) I don’t usually associate with male writers.

    I spend half an hour each morning surfing the ‘poetry’ tag at wordpress. Very often there is little worth reading. Today I happened on your poem first of all, and I am very glad I did.

    Marie Marshall


  35. df barker · December 14, 2011

    You are so kind, I thank you so much!


  36. df barker · December 14, 2011

    Betty, I am very grateful for comments and my very best wishes to you. Thank you!


  37. df barker · December 14, 2011

    I am so grateful for your comments that I really don’t know what to say! Except thank you so much – if a few words can make a day somehow ‘better’, then this is all the inspiration I need to keep going. Yes, perhaps for what we might term a ‘normal male’ and a seemingly pretty closed off English one at that (!), then yes, I don’t mind admitting that I do have very strong, deep feelings. Thank you once again and my very best wishes.


  38. Victoria C. Slotto · December 14, 2011

    This is such a good example, for me, of what I love about your poetry: focus on the details. I think it speaks to the artist’s eye that learns to see deeply, to see things other may overlook.


  39. df barker · December 14, 2011

    Thank you again Victoria! You are so kind.


  40. Antigone's Clamor · December 14, 2011

    Those pictures are beautiful! Not only are they well-done, but the choice of color is stunning. I liked the poem that accompanied them, too. 🙂


  41. df barker · December 14, 2011

    Thank you! You’re very kind.


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