Friday, 24 March 2017

Кръг/A circle

                                                             This story has no direction.
                                                             It takes a hike in the woods,
                                                             gets lost amongst the trees.
                                                             In the café at the end of the world,
                                                             it eats black grapes,
                                                             comments on the weather
                                                             and plays heads and tails
                                                             with foreign coins.

                                                             Who cares about it?
                                                             Only the only child
                                                             who can’t get to sleep
                                                             because outside the window
                                                             the black grapes on the vine
                                                             translate the wind into Morse code
                                                             and birds hit the glass
                                                             like coins falling onto a table.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips

Friday, 17 March 2017

Открита земя/Open land

                                             Reading of border country, how easy to be put in mind –
                                             as if it really were a thought refusing to disperse –
                                             of thick cloud above the innocent countryside
                                             and the furthest station we were allowed.
                                             At the end of a different world, we had no choice
                                             but to make a choice, being amongst those
                                             who were free to, as far as we could tell.
                                             Nothing to be dwelt on here but remains
                                             of political exigencies: terrain left wild
                                             so that something other might be tamed.

                                             As the rain blurs sky and horizon, there’s room
                                             for hesitancies, tact, diffusion of old solidities –
                                             an intuition which comes up through the grass
                                             as persistently as this changeable season’s flowers.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Цветя от езерото/Flowers by the lake

Turn left at the bridge and where tarmac runs out,
I’m back along the shore beside bulrush clumps
and wavelet patterns that no formula explains.
There’s birdsong, though, and a lot of it.
Then the joggers out on a Friday evening,
intent and indifferent. Dog-walkers too –
with their vague apologetic gestures.

Amongst the branches whose verdigris
is a deeper imitation of pale copper roofs,
there might well be some recognisable species.
Insistent billboards line the path
and questions about truth go unanswered.
It’s not about that any more.

In the shallows, a moorhen gingerly steps
from a half-submerged branch
and launches into the mainstream.
We will bring all this round, perhaps,
as the aftermath gathers like a cloud,
and somewhere there is spring
between the footprints that coots leave
and the new buildings which give out
across the botanical gardens.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Кратка история на развитието на селското стопанство/A short history of agricultural development

It’s light when I leave for home.
Steadily winter dark’s pushed back.

Too soon to say for sure
but grass fronds are inching clear
of leaf litter scrapping over
the lawns of redbrick houses.

This might be spring’s anteroom.

On lately drenched floodplains,
the sheen of water’s receding
and hawks that moved in
on spruce-fringed gardens,
traffic islands – forced close
by hard frosts – return
to scoping open fields.

There’s a way to go yet.

Tree shadows umbrella
the patches where
there are crocus
when you turn the corner,
there are headlines,
there are fag butts.

You’re distracted.
And I was trying to say,
this might have been the gate
where, years ago, I stood
and the industry of it
was playing out.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips