Manvers Lake Sunset by Paul Brookes
5 sunsets, beach
The sky is metal-cold above flattened sea.
For now, the haven’s safe but will it hold against the sea?
Indigo is not a violent hue
yet bruises bloom like mould upon the sea.
Stranded, we gaze where mottled sky
zigzags rose-gold, seeks the open sea.
A full-stop moon closes the day in shadow
while old ideas are scrolled across the sea.
At this distance, detail’s lost, amorphous.
Are life and death still doled out by the sea?
As the sun sets I seek.
Before closing the curtains.
Watching the colours between the trees.
Indigo, peach and cloudy blue.
Would I have noticed this before the lockdown?
As we remain here, still, in the present.
Watching wistfully, as I hear my neighbour’s muted talk from next door.
We are all weary, but remain focussed on the frontline of life.
Germinating from the springboard of our fertile imaginations.
There is no illusion, on the still picture book outlook, that I am gazing, and admiring for the first time.
Perhaps it has always been but not noticed before.
The view from my window.
-Geraldine Ward (previously published in The Sunday Tribune)
-Adrian Rice (The Strange Estate: New & Selected Poems 1986-2017, Press 53)
Sunset over Galway Bay
He’s out on the patio,
reading. The sun is just
starting its slow slide
dipping russet toes
into the bay.
He pours coffee,
scalding hot, into a blue
and white striped mug.
The mountains are hennaed.
The Atlantic Ocean burns
as the sun goes down in flames.
He makes his way indoors,
marking his place with care,
bringing cafetière and coffee cup,
smiling as the sun finally drowns itself,
and the moon comes into her own.
-Angela Topping (from I Sing of Bricks (Salt 2011))
Dawn rises slowly over the Straits,
A creeping light slips through mist.
The pines observe like sage old men
who have seen it all a thousand times.
Across the water the mountains
keep fast their secrets. I would
bring you a morning such as this
for walking through woods, our skin
turning from blue to ivory as broad day
replaces the shreds of night.
Angela Topping (from The Way We Came (Bluechrome 2007))
Across the River
Those summer evenings
so easy and dusty.
We hung out on the village bridge
dangled our bruised legs over the drop
three – four solemn trout fidgeted
amongst slimy rocks.
After a while when nothing happened
we slinked over to Bob’s bench
on the corner hoping for something
other than the smell of Edna’s cooked vegetables.
We counted down the days for hours mouthing
trailers for sale or rent
as one car purred by like a film star.
We imagined Hollywood, silk blouses, love
and how that day would come.
Tarmac stayed warm and soft walking home,
sky slipped from the pines, smeared lipstick pink,
a blackbird sang across the river.
(Published in own collection, A Lift of Wings – Indigo Dreams Publishing 2014
Published in The Interpreter’s House issue 57)
Your father paints amongst deer,
sunrise, sunset, kitchen tables
glazed in lamp light.
His sheep graze hawthorn shadows
hiding below an orange sun
dipping slowly behind indigo fells.
You would have learned to draw,
how light falls, how blue and orange
make you feel, the brush of clover,
daises, buttercups against your legs,
peat-cool dubs after school,
the crunch of snow, moon silvering
a pillow the way your pearl-eyes searched
that dead-sea-stillness for a door.
There is no blame, in loss
some words can never be found,
just a prayer
the moment you weren’t born.
(published in own collection Distance Sweet on my Tongue – Indigo Dreams Publishing)
Fifteen Hours in Sifnos
From behind the massive night bone of mountain
the sun’s un-cracked yolk slips its perfect form
over earth’s contour, into sky.
The silent mountain
glows pink, aroused, announces
the blue and white Sifnos day
in which we walk six shining-sea miles
on a tiny mountain track to Kastro, ancient capital.
You’re looking good today in electric blue.
the heady scent of wild basil, oregano, thyme.
The roofs, first mountain-strewn, now close, are balled
in perfect domes, blue on white, in anticipation of volcanoes.
Clusters of tiny churches, white and blue too, emit a scent of frankincense
and in their cool insides we intrude on precious ikons,
gilded for private reverence. An organ plays.
These rough-hewn walkways are carved from the mountain.
Through white arches, the blue surprise of the Greek sea.
At lunch we share tiropita,
feta, olives, tomatoes and the generous
free dessert. Warmed by wine
I find an azure brooch
in an Aegean doll’s house-shop.
Seven Cycladic cats swamp us
with their climbing, purring,
furry welcome when we get home to Sifnaika.
The sea laps milk and blue in and away,
splashes the moon’s gentle light, spreading it
in tiny sea-horse crests.
We watch the ferry come in at Kamares,
dots of light flash
in hectic green/blue coda,
as lorries spew out on cue.
-Alison Dunhill (soon to be published in her forthcoming SurVision chapbook)
Bios and Links
lives in Cumbria where most of her poetry is rooted. Her two poetry collections are with Indigo Dreams Publishing. Her biography Kay’s Ark published by Handstand Press. Her poems have appeared widely in magazines and anthologies and have won or been short listed in several competitions. Kerry’s third collection (joint winner of the Full Fat Collection, Hedgehog Press) will be published in 2022.
Originally a Londoner, Alison Dunhill had a poetry pamphlet published in her early twenties in Paul Brown’s Trans Gravity Advertiser, 1972. She was also published in Martin Stannard’s Joe Soap’s Canoe #15 in 1992. She was tutored at the Arvon Foundation by Michael Laskey and Martin Stannard in the early 1990s, and has given readings at Pentameters, St Catherine’s College, Oxford, St James’s Piccadilly and Torriano Meeting House. Having moved to Norfolk in the new millennium, she has participated in open mikes at Fenspeak in King’s Lynn and Ely, Café Writers in Norwich and at CB1@CB2 in Cambridge. She has participated in almost ten years of stimulating workshops with Sue Burge. Sue acted as mentor for my forthcoming SurVision chapbook. She had two pieces longlisted for the Fish Flash Fiction Prize in March this year. Two of her poems are published in the current issue of SurVision magazine (July 2020) and two are published in the December 2020 issue of Fenland Poetry Journal. She won Second Prize in the James Tate International Poetry Prize, 2020 and has a consequent chapbook forthcoming in 2021. She has always worked concurrently in the visual arts and in recent years is incorporating poetry into her art practice. An art historian too, her MPhil thesis forges links between interwar surrealism and 1970s US photography (please see her WikiPedia entry).