Poem ‘Anonymous Lines’

Anonymous Lines

Downstairs any morning;
sunlight and smoke
in slow swirling clouds.
The cat wanders in,
cries and wanders out,
flopping down the step
toward shrill sparrow sounds.

An open passage door
through which I follow
into a past, or no time at all.
Gooseberries hairy in the mouth,
that sour shock at the crunch.
Raspberries sweet on the tongue;
peas plucked from the pod,

sitting between rows of green.
His shadow blots out the sun,
a tall silhouette, cap pushed back
as a match is struck.
I follow to runner beans
and strawberry rows,
where the cat rolls over and over.

He is distant now, never hurried,
where it all opens up,
when I cling to his leg
looking down on the dyke
where the moorhen struts.
Out onto prairie fields,
anonymous lines of roads

and pylons. A relentless horizon.

Ā© copyright dfbarker 2012

*first published in poetry collection ‘Anonymous Lines’, available for purchase at:Ā http://liten.be//gHmf9

In this poem, I was trying to convey some of my childhood impressions of summer, my father, and his little piece of land in which he grew all our vegetables. The painting is a slightly digitally enhanced version of an original, showing a typical (although romanticised) summer scene in my neck of the woods ā€“ although there are very few woods!


33 thoughts on “Poem ‘Anonymous Lines’

  1. love the relentless horizon…love the summer you paint in warm strawberry colors and words that taste sweet on the tongue…and the gray january seems even more gray after reading this.. thanks for the sunshine..


  2. David this is wonderful.

    It is strange how synchronicity occurs.

    I was sorting my poems into some semblance of order this morning and came across one about my friend and myself as children at my father’s small allotment. I used to do exactly what you have described in your fabulous poem, revel in the sweet smell of the pea pods, tasting even sweeter if “stolen”.My friend had a far greater tolerance of the “gooseberry hairy in the mouth” than I did and she used to chase me between the rows of peas and beans until I succumbed and promised to eat one. The delight on her face when mine contorted was not to be missed!

    Your accompanying picture has a really dreamy quality to it and the two together have taken me back to a place of “no time at all”.



  3. Hi Christine. Once again, thank you so much for taking time to read it and I’m very grateful for your comments. Yes, I can think of few things better than peas straight from the pod! That garden now seems like a little piece of heaven. Thank you.


  4. What a lovely recollection of your summer childhood, David:
    Gooseberries hairy in the mouth,
    that sour shock at the crunch.
    Raspberries sweet on the tongue;
    peas plucked from the pod,

    This reminds me of my mother-in-law’s childhood of growing up on the farm. You write so vividly, as though pulling your readers into the moment!


  5. David, I find your poems as vivid and explicit with the senses as your paintings. So beautiful. I just loved these lines:

    An open passage door
    through which I follow
    into a past, or no time at all.

    – a wonderful collection of lines depicting the whirling timlessness of childhood.

    You are really inspiring me to pick up my brushes again… it’s been years, but soon it might be time to paint again. šŸ™‚


  6. Hi David

    this beautiful poem tells so lively of that childhood memory šŸ™‚ it makes the mind wander through the scene of the smoke and sunlight, and the reader is really following the cat. It made me think of Summers like that that I lived with cats too. My father also had a small piece of land in the dunes to grow vegetables on, for some years, he also had chickens. Hard work and lots of musquito’s!

    Lovely image too. šŸ™‚


  7. Beautiful…and I knew what you were saying and about whom before I read your description. Anyone who has ever been “small” knows that feeling of clinging to the leg, but I saw him first with the striking of the match. You are so very descriptive in such a few short lines. This is one of my favorite paintings thus far. I think because I’d like to sit and look out the windows of that house. Peace…Debra


  8. Hi,
    This wonderful poem, and beautiful painting have brought back some memories for me.
    When I was a child, I used to go to my Uncle’s farm every now and then, I love it. Wonderful memories, Thank you.


  9. Sorry Victoria – I should have ‘warned’ you!

    Incidentally, I meant to tell you a few days ago, that we both seem to admire Thomas Merton. Although I am not overtly religious, I do admire his examination of other religions, his open-mindedness. I was brought up a Christian (Church of England) but have had contact and involvement with Buddhism and have always been fascinated by the similarity of religions, particularly in regard to meditation and contemplation. I think Merton understood this, without ever compromising his own faith. It is a great shame he wasn’t with us longer.
    I also like the English mystics, such as Julian of Norwich.
    Thank you Victoria and many kind regards.


  10. I enjoyed this so much (reminded me of my own father’s vegetable and berry gardens many years ago) – you captured all the scents and tastes so beautifully, and once again the painting is beautiful!


  11. DF, I just want to stay upstairs in that house in your painting! Your poem of remembrance of childhood days on your father’s land brings back so many similar memories of growing up on the farm in Mississippi in the 50s. The tastes of berries and the sights of cats going into trees and the sounds of songbirds are present with me right here, right now thanks to your successfully evocative poem.


  12. Great picture and so is the verse.
    The atmosphere described is so oposed to what I can see in winter in my country – Ukraine.
    I’m sure I’m not the first to say the following (and though I hate not being original) – you have talent.
    Have you ever made an attempt to print your poems?

    P.S. So glad to find your blog amongst this ocean of great and not so great blogs.


  13. Robert, thank you so much for your comments, I am very grateful.
    Yes, I have had some printed over the years and have a book out here: http://liten.be//sVGsz but, like so many who enjoy creativity, we are not always encouraged, are we? I wish I had persisted when I was younger (I’m middle aged now) but, I suppose there’s no time like the present.
    You appear to be a young man, all I can say, from my own experience, you have to go for it!
    Thank you once again!


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