Friday, 27 June 2014

The Old Bridge

How far stone endures,
not in only great monuments –
temples, ruins, castles, cathedrals –
but wonders of the everyday:
how, quarried, split, cut, shaped,
it’s fabricated for houses, bridges,
pocked and scored by climate,
worn-smooth by traffic,
inscribed by time and the impulse
to see what’s on the other bank.

Leaning over grainy parapet,
we’re pausing again to look
down into water furling at pillars,
heading for an elsewhere we can’t tell.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips 

Friday, 20 June 2014


Static heat and a veil of light across fields,
a too-bright sky bring us back to this path,
its attendant hedgerows and here
in the nooks of dry stone walls
pale seasonal flowers as if in hiding.

Between shifts we’d be out in midsummer,
taking to that familiar stretch of farmland
and each other: infinite worlds
among the cornstalks, under pebbles,
in the splash and froth of busy streams –

soon we’ll have to return or move on,
but for the moment, love, here’s
the pair of us, out of harm’s way,
shading our eyes against the sun.

Midsummer’s Day is on 21st June in Britain and 24th June in Bulgaria.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips 

Friday, 13 June 2014


Judiciously in absentia from rumorous circulations,
Joyce embarked on his reconstructive journey
somewhere beyond the plate-glass windows
and reversing lorries of Zürich bahnhof
conjured Bloom to wander a Dublin question mark,
and Stephen, his fallen, fearful Telemachus.

Rough magic and heavenly music,
from Sandymount Strand to Eccles Street,
from declarative ‘Stately’ to reparative ‘Yes’,
signatures of all things, words changing colour –
a single day amounting to an odyssey,
refindings of the ineluctably modal.

16th June is Bloomsday – the anniversary of the day in 1904 on which James Joyce set ‘Ulysses’ – a novel written in Trieste, Zürich and Paris.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips 

Friday, 6 June 2014


Sharp, crisp smells in the packing shed,
another year’s crop despatched
along conveyors, boxed, crated
loaded onto trucks: our village industry
of pickers, sorters, packers,
ladders propped among branches,
trugs of cookers and eaters,
a methodical tree-by-tree advance.

All I would do to take you there –
to those orchards beside our lane,
their close fruit-heavy ranks,
some time towards the tail-end
of a Cold War summer
of beer gardens and mown grass –
all I can do amounts to these words,
the taste of these apples.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips