Friday, 24 February 2017

Ябълките на пазара/Apples at the market

                                                  At the edge of our knowledge, there’s talk
                                                  of exo-planets orbiting far suns.
                                                  Cross-hatched shadows of branches bud
                                                  in the street lamps’ pavement splashes.
                                                  We’ve found a new home ourselves

                                                  and while that bride’s white lace furls
                                                  across a train seat as they’re toasting
                                                  their afternoon marriage, I’m inferring
                                                  they’re making a kind of escape
                                                  from indifference or disapproval

                                                  and hoping they’ll have had the best
                                                  of the day’s intermittent weather.
                                                  Not so far from where we’ll be,
                                                  we slipped past bakers, delivery vans,
                                                  and under the eaves of the market

                                                  where, as sharp air steamed our breath, 
                                                  cropped herbs suggested spring
                                                  and apples laid out on a stall
                                                  offered up their own conclusion
                                                  that ripeness, ripeness is all.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips

Monday, 20 February 2017

Бели цветя над София/White flowers over Sofia

                                            As ice melts into mastika, a soft torus forms,
                                            billows into clear liquor, turns it to cloud.
                                            We’re already high, up here on the top floor
                                            where windows give out on scalloped roofs
                                            and the rain that was drizzling has thickened
                                            to flakes that drift between tall buildings.

                                           For the moment, the first few days of spring
                                           are spent and all that we remember are
                                           conversations that spiral like weather effects.

                                           We’ve been walking through future anthologies
                                           and now, in this almost empty restaurant,
                                           we’re here, we’re talking, we’re almost home.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Тя сънува/She dreams

                                                             За Лидия/For Lydia

                                                  I don’t remember singing lullabies,
                                                  though perhaps I did those first few months.

                                                  You slept between us, arms spread,
                                                  and fingers doing their best to clutch
                                                  at her straw hair and curling in on themselves.

                                                  Only half-awake then, perhaps, we murmured
                                                  words and rhymes that comforted.

                                                  We were reassuring ourselves
                                                  as much as inventing how we’d cope
                                                  with you, this new responsibility –
                                                  someone we couldn’t help but love
                                                  even then, in our most helpless moments.

                                                  Light flecks through curtains
                                                  and your first stretch
                                                  would have us wide awake again
                                                  and adjusting to those very early days.

                                                 You weren’t so easily appeased –
                                                 your snotty complaint a reminder
                                                 that we’re happiest when we dream
                                                 and at our loneliest too.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips

Saturday, 4 February 2017


About as gnarled and mottled and nobbled
as I am. That feeling of being released
from time. That simple unconcern.
That just being That being here
and now and not thinking.
That emptiness. That moment
before everything had to be.
That theory which pushes us back
to the oscillation of particles
(which may never have existed)
in the vast loneliness of space.
And then dragged us forward
into consciousness and mapping
those horizons and a grammar
that we take for granted
and the whole concept
of vegetables and land and shops
and our sitting here, in a kitchen,
with what we are about to receive
and for which we can only be
inadequately thankful.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips