Window on The West

fenlandsunset

From here I’ve seen

thousands of suns,

the days end with copper glints 

through languorous trees. Summer’s 

apogee is seed of summer’s end, sure 

as swifts scream out the balm of night.

 

A fast-forward pipistrelle delays 

the drawing curtains, ever 

thankful for the light.

On the windowsill the sphinxing cat 

sleeps, pointing 

the way to live

Poem and picture ©copyright rp 2016

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Interesting Textures 2

oilpaint2

Oil paint with a varnish can look fascinating close up, suggesting other things, like food or less palatable things…

oilpaint1

… and sometimes it almost looks like geographic features from space. It is the imperfections that are most interesting, the unintentional strokes. Here the use of the underlying canvas adds to the interest.

 

images and words ©copyright rp 2016

Poem: ‘Turning’

foam

Is there a point where the tide
stops,
a moment that I could see, or touch?
I’ve been looking
at tables giving times, exact
minutes of apogee, and it was
just here I’m sure,
right here,
where I pointed
and watched
and saw nothing, except
the foam stretch ahead of me
like phantom silk, all
along the buff triassic sand, as far
as I could see or walk.
“That’s where the waves
stop,” you said, “where the tide
turns back to the sea – and me.”

image and poem © copyright David F. Barker

Poem: A Walk by the Sea

a walk by the sea

Without too much thought I took
to the beach,
followed the white lines of
breakers
leading me due north along that
fractured shore.

in no time at all the beach huts were
behind me,
removed by dunes and blurring
summer haze.

then suddenly
she was there
right in front of me, as if she’d
dropped
right out of the ether.

she was squatting down,
blonde haired and
quite young,
her blue-green dress hitched up a touch
showing small bare feet
half buried,
where the dry white sand
gave way to shingle.

I stopped
said hi
but she didn’t even look!
staring into that wide expanse
she could see
clear across the ocean.

looking down I admired her
gold-embroidered dress,
the delicate amber jewellery on
slim fingers,
her long hair matted by
the keen breeze.

then she looked up,
her eyes like cyan gems
and pointed to herself–
‘Elfhild’ I thought she said
sounding sort of German
or Dutch or maybe something
in between
but I didn’t speak a word.

not then.

she didn’t seem lost or in any distress
so I moved on,
giving her a faint wave,
after all, what business was it
of mine?
I carried on steadily
maybe half a mile or so,
felt the wind move round
south to south east.
I could’ve done with a jumper so I
turned back,
got up quite a pace in the end.
frankly I wanted to return
to see if she was alright –
but I saw only footprints
where she had been, where the shingle
gave way to sand.

walking to the shoreline something
caught my eye, a piece of amber
wet and shining.
I picked it up, held it
to the light
and smiled, looking out
to where the waves
were rolling in by the edge of
that German sea

poem and image © copyright Dave Barker 2012

Poem ‘Ways Out’

Ways Out

During those darker days
while Dad dug the earth,
I would stand with him
and dream of the sky,
that it might send an angel
in a shining silver disk
to whisk me away
to some fantastic world,
as far away as possible
from that featureless place

Once my dreams were done
each mournful Sunday night,
that was when I’d watch him
sitting hunched before
his old bespoke radios,
yellow fingers twisting knobs
while turning his ear
to strange sideband sounds,
smirking to Southern drawl charm
engaging cool Transvaal

I knew it was his way out,
released and briefly lost
among the wild waves,
bringing some colour to his world
before I’d hear the clock wind up,
the curtains being drawn

poem and image © copyright df barker 2012

Poem ‘The Artist’

The Artist

Black paint on the front door
was peeling badly. Before knocking
I ran a crackling finger over it,
flakes falling into shade around my feet.
A small grey lady in garish pink
dressed for bed, squinted up at me,
something akin to Stravinsky
played in the darkness behind her.
“Take a pew!” – words betraying her age,
her station, a headmistress perhaps,
Arnold’s paintings in primaries all over low,
leaning walls in a room of gloom,
as if yellowed by years of smoke
and smelling of rose and age.
His preference for palette knife
and fingers were evident at once –
then a portrait, blue eyes staring at me,
almost violet, gorgeous like Liz Taylor
and hints of a grey uniform with pips.
Tea and scone arrived on Royal Albert
with shuffles of pink slipper.
“The portrait,” I pointed.
“Oh, that’s me, circa 1944,” she croaked,
standing bent. “But not his usual style.”
“No,” I had to agree, writing frantically,
excitement like sap
sent tingling up my spine.

So, let’s get this right:
She had trained in Ireland,
was deployed to France,
following allied troops into Germany
all the way to the end, in Berlin.
Hers an eccentric family of noble stock,
a quite irregular life lived on the edge.
Did I believe her? At first, yes.
At least until I closed the door
with that peeling paint.
Then I noticed the corner in the road,
breathed in the fresh air,
saw the rush of wind in poplars
and rooks cawing their honest presence.
The further I drove the less I believed.
Narrow roads led into town, a realisation
that still – the artist had eluded me

Poem and image © copyright df barker 2012

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