Poem: The Painter

beachlovers1 - Edited

Climbing the dune,
wind heavy in our faces.
We squint (or do we smile?),
our laughs and quips
diffuse in the air.

Young legs carry you
ahead to the summit,
where tufts of green cling
to an existence. Then you’re
a sudden lithe silhouette

against a racing sky.
I revel in your victory;
your gentle hand hauls me
up close to ocean eyes,
an elfin smile, teeth

pristine like breakers
on the distant, crashing
shore, that white noise
filling our ears.
To look into you

is to look as men
have done for centuries.
Unchanging heart,
you’re the pearl left
nestling in filth.

So take a look –
can anyone steal time?
An hour here or there,
we leave our footprints,
no foothold anywhere.

I am the painter of this shore –
you are the model.
Again and again,
we return to wrestle
in familiar hues;

deep alizarin crimson,
yellow ochre, phthalo blue,
making it real. Stay in this
moment, we bless and bless.
It has to be you.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019 and 2011

Poem ‘Beachcombing’

Beachcombing

We set out one morning
after the rain had cleared.
Not a breath of wind,
loose clothes sticking to my skin.
Our intention was to search
the shallow beach,
stretching so far ahead of us
towards lights on low, murky cliffs—
baleful beacons through the mist.
“Stop there!” you said
and took that picture of me,
my trousers rolled up;
never the most fetching sight.
“Walking on water,” that’s
what you called it right away:
Maybe this was the closest
we ever got to heaven

poem and image © copyright df barker 2012

Poem ‘Mare Incognito’ (for J)

Mare Incognito (for J)

Somewhere between
Southwold and Saltfleet,
that’s all I’m prepared to say.

Where eastern seaboards
lose out each year,
glacial moraines fall away

with no answer to tides
that even kings couldn’t resist.
England crumbling in eye and mind.

Cliffs.
Now that could be a clue
but they’re not too high,

though high enough to sit on
and savour the grey seas,
the view, such as it is.

Does it matter?
Fine days won’t do, not to this mind.
Sea mists, fogs, or battleship skies

which leave enough to be imagined,
whose easterlies cut me into me
whatever I wear—they’re best—

when the only way to keep warm
is to keep moving, jogging
below the sleek aerobatics of herring-

and black-backed gulls,
super-marine harbingers of storm
doing their best to bring life to

Mitchell’s drawings of seaplanes—
and the spitfire.
Such an elegance in death.

But I’m here to forget about war,
about politics which can only
divide and kill.

Grey days mean I’m alone
in a moody make-believe.
I turn my back on all that was,

think about what might be,
where nightmares a few miles away,
that lost world within my right hand,

might just be gone when I return
or answer the bleep which says
I’m connected, branded for life.

Leave me now.
For a little while longer
let me say I’m free

image and poem © copyright df barker 2012