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!



  1. claudia · January 5, 2012

    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. thesweetkitten · January 5, 2012

    Beautiful how you captured the summer atmosphere, in both image and words!


  3. journeyintopoetry · January 5, 2012

    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”.



  4. df barker · January 5, 2012

    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.


  5. lscotthoughts · January 5, 2012

    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!


  6. Angela · January 5, 2012

    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™‚


  7. Ina · January 5, 2012

    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™‚


  8. df barker · January 5, 2012

    Thank you!


  9. df barker · January 5, 2012

    Angela, thank you!


  10. df barker · January 5, 2012

    Ina, thank you so much!


  11. Three Well Beings · January 5, 2012

    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


  12. df barker · January 5, 2012

    Debra – thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on this, I am very grateful to you.


  13. Soma Mukherjee · January 5, 2012

    Beautiful Painting and the poerty does justice to the dreamy image…takes the reader to his/her own childhood wandering/playing out…loved it:-)


  14. df barker · January 5, 2012

    Soma, you are so kind, thank you! I am grateful, thank you.


  15. Victoria C. Slotto · January 5, 2012

    I thought I recognized this, of course…your book! Lovely again.


  16. magsx2 · January 5, 2012

    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.


  17. df barker · January 5, 2012

    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.


  18. Betty Hayes Albright · January 5, 2012

    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!


  19. granbee · January 6, 2012

    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.


  20. giltdance · January 6, 2012

    Im totally in love with that last line!!


  21. Robert O'Rayne · January 6, 2012

    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.


  22. df barker · January 6, 2012

    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!


  23. Robert O'Rayne · January 6, 2012

    Yes, I am young and I also appreciate poetry and try to write it. No, I don’t try… One cannot try to be a poet. Either you write poetry or you don’t, do you? It’s a gift, a talent – one cannot develop it, from my point of view.

    Here you can find out more about me if you are interested of course. http://robertorayne.wordpress.com/about-me-in-brief/

    P.S. I will post some of my poems soon.


  24. rangewriter · January 6, 2012

    I love your use of the cat to lead us on a small journey.


  25. df barker · January 6, 2012

    Thank you! Yes, my life, for good or ill, has been punctuated with cats. Interesting thought, isn’t it?


  26. df barker · January 6, 2012

    Thank you so much!


  27. xandimusic · January 7, 2012

    great painting and wonderful words!!


  28. Catherine O'Meara · January 7, 2012

    Love, love, love the painting and very much enjoyed the poem! Thank you for visiting my site,and know I look forward to receiving your posts!


  29. wordsandthoughtspjs · January 8, 2012

    df, this poem is gorgeous! Thank you for stopping by and liking my piece. It is a pleasure to meet you. You do beautiful work (words and paintings).



  30. Thomas Davis · January 8, 2012

    Thank you for the art and the beautiful poem. Again, the detail of the common is wonderful.Ethel


  31. Lindsay Waller-Wilkinson · January 9, 2012

    Hi, love this. The end with the relentless line of pylons and the shock of the sour crunch of gooseberries. Thanks for following me. I’m following you right back šŸ™‚


  32. Eve Redwater · January 11, 2012

    Stunning as always, David. A beautiful ending, and lyrical throughout. I’m in awe! šŸ™‚


  33. df barker · January 11, 2012

    Eve, many many thanks for reading it and your lovely comments!

    Kind regards

    David Francis Barker

    Poetry collection, ‘Anonymous Lines’ available here: http://liten.be//j5nek


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