Friday, 29 August 2014


A flotsam of pebbles and shells
she’s gathered on our window sill –
they’re from strands and shores
we’ll have found time
to idle on, browse
for mementoes of summer.

Forgetful of each occasion,
they won’t take us back
to where, looking down,
she found mother-of-pearl,
 or striated curiosities
of granite, flint and jet –

yet on some cold morning
we might be close enough
to interrupt ourselves
with rough textures,
banded colours
accumulated over years.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips 

Friday, 15 August 2014


Suggesting a different season,
breeze through a classroom window
seems to take us back to his question:
‘When you’re happy, why bother to write?’

Does the bookshelf’s scarred parade bear him out?
Can happiness survive murderous dissection?

Only just too late, as students file away
over cypress-shadowed lawn,
I remember that day a few months before –
how, having climbed between stone houses
to the monument, we sat looking out
across rooftops, gardens, from the shade.

And yes, perhaps, there’s nothing need be said,
but here I am again, returning to coffee
in paper cups, scribbling down details,
happy all right to be trying to retrieve
the sweetness of those late-summer grapes.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips 

Friday, 8 August 2014

Pine Tree

It was a place for kite-fliers and tobogganists,
the bare dome of a wind-flustered knoll,
but that chalk figurehead fronted a ridge
whose flanks and gullies were thick with trees.

That was more my scene – where branches raised
hopes of adventure in an elevated world,
where birdsong might be taken for promises,
and, running between the tall pines,
I’d be sure to come home reeking of their scent.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips 

Friday, 1 August 2014

Baba Dana

That winds change and rain lifts,
that weather comes and goes,
that thought feels much the same –
its abruptness, its evanescence –
as it has always done,
that the imaginable may happen,
that we are momentary,
as unique as cloud formations,
that anticipation endures,
that life may be cumulative,
that the beauty of age is unflinching.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips