Friday, 25 September 2015

Минаващ към есента/Passing to autumn

First light of it in today’s sharpening clarity
along a tilled ridge and hopes getting rarer
for that Indian summer. Renewed migrations
shatter the estuary’s surface tension, rising
through the blaze between dunes and cloud.

Trembling reddening leaves, breeze
plays out its delicate variations, brings
itself to bear on the season’s new species:
a foolhardy abundance in ripening gardens
where pruned trees’ amputations ooze sap.

It is no loss to be here, on the threshold
of a mottled wood, marram’s limit,
deciphering fungal growth’s lace patterns
or spider webs’ promises of future frost.
Time doesn’t stop, but only for a second

first light of it holds a sharpening clarity.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Остров/An Island

Back down through seaside streets,
we’re amongst juddering perspectives
that throw us off the obvious map
of grid systems and Central Place Theory.

Life doesn’t happen so neatly.
Wind whirls itself into patterns
evading logical explanation:
as usual, everything’s up in the air.

Those who came and went before us
have staked their claim in pot plants
and architecture. In the sky
our freedom shrieks like a bird.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips

Friday, 11 September 2015


In the shade of the mountains,
a glass of rakiya, just off the cusp
of the main road heading up
towards tourist attractions.

He was sure about his plants.
We were growing hazy
amongst herbs and ferns,
but he could still steer his way

through greenery labels
and the overhanging branches.
The former primary school teacher
poured what he’d distilled

and there was no question:
the lilacs bloomed and we drank.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips

Friday, 4 September 2015

Начини през гората/Ways through the forest

За Сара/For Sarra

More than anything, a retinal memory
of untailored woodland beside the train.
1989. September. Two months before
dissident sledgehammers undivided Europe.
Distracted by an Indian summer’s drought,
we took photos of dried-up riverbeds
on the tributary between Chinon and Saumur.

Not long married but with commitments made,
this was to be our new and adult world.
1989. September. And those crackling shots
weren't fired in anger, as it turned out,
but by a business party hunting duck
from dinghies moored along the other bank:
they looked to be set on taking the lot.

1989. September. We were on the move,
keeping to hostels and campsites on the Loire.
Without a map, we knew where we’d been:
municipal places, neighbourhood stores,
those unlikely, welcoming foyers.
Paths splayed out from the edge of the forest
into the untailored woodland beside the train.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips