Friday, 23 September 2016


Thoughts, of course, in the language of flowers –
and mine not tidily gathered, but they exist
and somehow thrive in those parts
of the garden that we’ve forgotten.

And perhaps that’s the best way – to leave
things where they fall and just wait:
for the greenery to come first and then
dark petals, the yellow pristine eye.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips

Thursday, 15 September 2016


And now the taste of it, this autumn.
It’s there in the first brown leaves
that scud across the pavements,
the departure of experience
into memory and those other adjustments
I’m having to make, being home
and not really here.

                                    On the bridge,
love's hope gets locked as if fixing it
could be anything more than a promise
that might well declare its own failure.

This is where we live and what we have
to look out on: the edge of the city
and, beyond it, the lives which seem
to diminish towards the horizon
but nevertheless exist and have been lived.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Нейният ваза/Her vase

Uprooted from their places in the house
that’s soon to make way for some dream home
or business enterprise, brochures and letters
arrive as forgotten enthusiasms – fading
and patinas of dust make plain the known fact
of their age. I’d hardly recognise the hand
in these calligraphies of blue ink turned pale green.

Repossessing her memories, my mother’s,
after another generation’s settling in,
is a kind of re-acquaintance – as if here
she is again with stories of moonlight flits
and trespassing afternoons at London University.

In the bottom of the suitcase, cushioned
in newsprint from the year before she died,
her vase whose porcelain pattern reflected
in the candlestick table’s polished sheen
by the window on a September morning.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips

Friday, 2 September 2016


Laughter across the harbour
and the lights wink out Morse code
on the new refurbishments.

It’s not so late but suddenly again
I’m a long way from home –
being right in the heart of it,
as if in a foreign country.

And that’s somewhere I may well be
if you choose to believe the headlines.

Portrait: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips; photo: John Fru Jones