Friday, 24 April 2015

Старият манастир/The Old Monastery

Not far from the city and we’re pulling over
to wait for sheep as they amble up tarmac
for greener pasture, higher ground.
The air makes light work
in mysterious ways: no heat-haze here
now the day’s burnt off – and we’re
away again, the shepherd out of sight.

In the crux of the valley, a tower
and low tiled walls are outlines
of a hermitage; and I’m approaching
again an enclave of a faith
of which I can boast at least
a passing understanding now.

On this day, it’s said, the sky
acquires unusual translucence
for those whose belief allows it.
I can still see your face as,
by tended flowerbeds, the monk
explained how exactly years ago
he looked up through the clouds at God.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Войникът/The Soldier

Because we have not had to make
the same decisions, we see sense
in different places. My father
stands in uniform on concrete
beneath unturning propellers
with his cap at the same jaunty angle.

Politically speaking, of course,
we might – we would – have taken in
an acceptable geography.
At least we now have the chance
to see across those sketched-in borders
and call what we have seen
evidence of something that’s changed.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Слънчогледи (за Великден)/Sunflowers (for Easter)

The sunflowers nod their heads
and you’re insisting we stop
at this scorched roadside
for photographs. One day
they’ll make good
an intermittent memory,
a slight note of disbelief
in seeing again ragged petals,
pincushion faces and yours,
expectant, with comical squint.

So far into summer,
a landscape flooded yellow,
we’re going over ground
from before you were born.
Knuckled flint patches
unturned earth and looking out
through the viewfinder’s chink
I might be puzzling at how
our beginnings connect
to this resurrected field.

The sunflowers nod their heads.

Friday, 3 April 2015


Trees against a skyline
foreshadow an ending
from this angle – or that’s
how you might see it.
Coming up with clayed boots
from the road behind
the back of the hill,
there’s something different
in the air – as if I might be
in another time-zone,
drawing a circle
through this wilderness
back to shade upon shade
of palms and oasis gardens
and in an orchard somewhere
branches untouched, apple unbitten.