Friday, 27 January 2017

Пред очите ни/In front of our eyes

Close to, yes,
it’s possible
to detect the grain
in a slither of pine
(not so much the trees –
and never mind the wood)
or the ants’ cave in a clod.

Through such things
we might also glimpse
the big picture,
the epic shot,
the vista
of distant planets,
stars, anomalies,
the warp and weft
of space-time.

Let’s hear it too
for peripheries,
for the almost unnoticed
flap of plastic sheeting
in the wind that looks
like someone waving,
the pepper untouched
on the pavement,
flickers of light
that blaze the windows
of new apartments
as the sun clears
a ridge of houses
and the focus shifts
to a new vantage again.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips

Friday, 20 January 2017

Дългата зима/Long winter

                                                     I’m thinking more of solid things –
                                                     what we count on returning or what
                                                     stands by us: the wintry fields
                                                     this morning’s frost crust gripped
                                                     (the frost, of course, would melt);
                                                     or asphalt gritted for the weather;
                                                     statues, gargoyles, abutments;
                                                     or wood or steel or marble, flesh.

                                                     I’m thinking more of solid things
                                                     as words become sullied, put
                                                     to all the uses in the world.
                                                     A crate’s brute fact, ripe fruit
                                                     kept in cold storage start to look
                                                     like hope while we wait for the thaw.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Снегната страна/Snow country

                                                                 Echoes fall softly.
                                                                 The landscape’s baffled.
                                                                 Hawks scout the suburbs,
                                                                 extend their ranges,
                                                                 take what they can.

                                                                 Dogs, too, have reached
                                                                 some kind of limit,
                                                                 sit tight on boundaries,
                                                                 look out on fields,
                                                                 the hawk’s domain.

                                                                 None of them
                                                                 are waiting for spring.
                                                                 Snow is the present
                                                                 and will be
                                                                 until it’s no more
                                                                 than dust on distant hills
                                                                 then gone – as if the land
                                                                 has shifted beneath them
                                                                 and they are in another country.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips

Friday, 6 January 2017


                                                       A little settling and the world is changed.
                                                       Snow comforts in its vagaries –
                                                       the blurring of edges.

                                                      We would rather look
                                                      at snow than the cold hard truth.

                                                      Elsewhere in the world,
                                                      they are plotting and devising.
                                                      They are in their air-conditioned blocks.

                                                      When it melts, the snow weeps
                                                      and fingers traverse the keyboard
                                                      while they plot out our new future.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips