Saturday, 23 April 2011

White Tulips

This poem has been languishing on my 'poetry' page for some time ~ so, after amending it slightly, I thought I would give it another airing on my main blog page.

White Tulips

You always said he would be early -
kidded by a false spring that, one morning,
            broke inside you,
hormones melting in quick thaws
            of pulsed muscle.

During those seven moons you were touched
by so many luminaries, some shining all the way
            from Eden.
With waters spilling on every pain
you saw those stars sink
            inside the doctor's eyes.

After two days you hauled back your body
and shuffled down corridors,
            stepped out through those glass doors.
And the world was big with cars,
the weather gentle
            with feminine light.

'No more frosts now,' you said
as white tulips settled in their beds,
            eggshells cracked in sunlight.

Friday, 8 April 2011


Following on from my previous posting the poem below is also part of my collaboration with the visual artist Melaneia Warwick. After wandering around inside a specific piece of her art I have tried to create a poem that engages with the narrative of her painting. 

This process is known as ekphrasis and there are many examples of poets creating such poems that have been inspired by works of art: 'The Disquieting Muses' by Sylvia Plath, which is based on the painting by the same title by Giorgio de Chirico'The Starry Night' by Anne Sexton based on the hugely famous painting by Vincent van Gogh and, much more recently, the absolutely stunning  'What the Water Gave Me' by Pascale Petit, which contains fifty-two poems in the voice of the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo 

Here is Melaneia's painting 'Static' from her 'Gloaming' series that inspired my poem:

And here is my poem:


Dread was a concept you never really understood.
Only the sweet iron of stars and summer lightning
coloured your days as life straddled you, rode you
bareback and bitless over a switchback of tragedies.

When people spoke of the coming storm you saw
the twist of their lips but heard only tinkling cymbals.
Even the sweaty lick of their appled palms failed
to draw you from the reverie of your malted bed.

As the hours passed, you stared into a blackening sky
and waited, your skin frothed with latherin as prongs
of hot silver darted through your mane.  At long last
you began to smell the stench of your own immortality.

Spooked by the rumblings of a distant thunderhead
you jittered with ignorance as the first sparks fizzed
about your hooves. Hobbled and haltered, you gasped
as licks of yellow fire pulsed along bone-dry timbers.

Rafters, blazing like crazy now, collapsed and crashed
to the ground as the next bolt struck your blistered ego.
Veins popping, breath bloody and sputtered, you wept
black tears as the final explosion ripped off your legs.

That’s how I found you, petrified and smoking with insight,
a broken mustang, static beside the brightest blue ocean.