Sunday, 28 August 2016

Към септември/Towards September

The slightest chill in the night air might be
autumn’s first breath or thoughts
of imminent departure – and I am trying
not to count how many more times
I’ll pass the building with its red display
announcing the current temperature.

The cyclepath’s emptiness stands in
for anticipated regrets – but then,
here I am again at home, where,
through the spill of courtyard light,
a bat is weaving figures-of-eight:
a surprise visitor to our block
and a reminder that possibilities
still unfurl across the distances
like a view of autumn hills.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Случайно/By chance

Somewhere on Graf Ignatiev or Shishman Street,
posies of wildflowers laid out on a tray:
brought in from the country, they’re almost lost
against another era’s architectural promises.
I was on my way to somewhere else,
but what if I’d stopped, bent down and chosen
one of those transplanted bouquets?
If I’d crossed the street where I’d meant to,
I wouldn’t even have seen them.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Сезонни игри/Seasonal games

Strewn amongst green crowns
below the balcony, horse chestnuts
are almost ripe here in August.

Our best conkers came from trees
around the church: they fell
and split on the asphalt path,
dark hearts in pulpy flesh,
like promises of future triumph.

There were tricks, yes, and theories:
soaking or baking them into hard skulls
to crack against each other –
and rapping our own knuckles
for our autumn playground sport.

Somewhere in a different part
of the wood, I was telling you this
as you tried to fathom the rules
of another improvised game.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips

Friday, 5 August 2016

Цветя от балкона/Flowers from the balcony

When you come I’ll bring you flowers from the balcony –
the pink ones whose name I can’t remember
but which bloom throughout the summer
even in the hottest weeks when pavement surfaces blister.
It’s not much of a gift (you can see that colour splashed
across the apartment block facades in any street)
but they’re the ones that grew then budded then opened
these papery petals all the time that I’ve been waiting.
You could say that they’ve measured out the days and weeks
but that would be to burden them with a weight
they don’t deserve: they are flowers, after all,
from the balcony and here is a vase you can put them in
and the table where you can leave them
in the first few minutes after you arrive.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips