Photograph of a vineyard in Les Cévennes, by Silje Lilly. Taken in July 2017.
John 15:1-8 Gleaning grapes before October storms, the vines are ancient fingers, deathly-dry and knotted
digits. bark-scarred with the wisdom of growing. They are crowned with a branchy vibrancy, of greenery, naivety and fertility. The miracle of the vine and the branches is the fruit. The credulous branches, are trusted to bear the weight
of the yield, their green luminescence is continually fed by the vine that looks like deadwood. A Lamb looking as though it had been slain.
I wrote this poem in the Autumn of 2016 while I was in a vineyard on the outskirts of Montpellier, where Silje and I live, in the south of France. We were picking grapes after the harvest and enjoying time reading and writing in the autumn sun. Silje took the photo in July 2017 while in another vineyard in Les Cévennes, a short drive north. Time and again, since moving to Mediterranean France in 2015, I have read biblical imagery of nature while…
I find myself where the wind in the leaves is heard but traffic is not, where hills without houses roll to the horizon, where the creaky chair and desk of tired varnish furnish the coming days with ideal, and I must write. The air is fresh and the sun blistering, et je vais parler français avec les amis, en buvant le vin de la région, et la sensation de la conversation dans une belle langue ajoute une émotion pure, when I come to write verse in my native tongue. And the boisterous laughter of children, and the giggling of an infant energise this siesta atmosphere to fill the time with melody, and the fill the melody with words, and to fill the words with meaning, to fill the coming months avec le repos de maintenant.
Written in July 2017 while Silje and I were on retreat with some friends in a tiny village in the south of 'Le Parc National des Cévennes.' As I learn to speak more French I have experimented writing bi-lingual poetry... This is the first one that I am sharing on this blog. Here I chang…
'Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him.'
Calendar's rhythm thuds. The kick drum rattles your rib cage As collective memories and communal routines Plume like dust from that undulating skin. .....You must wrap gifts in superfluous paper, .....That's tradition. .....Yet repeating acts to underline thankfulness, .....That's superstition. Calendar's rhythm thuds And we bellow through that dust cloud, Clearing our throats and averting our eyes. THUD For the drum announces the sales THUD The rhythm is the anthem of vacation gifts. So discard the old and ugly, To find the beauty, To spend and to own.
'They came to the place that is calledThe Skull' Excited skin bristles. Chill shivers the spine in want For purpose and ergonomics dim in contrast To the lights, and the efficacious movement of the crowd. .....So much spectacle, .....All these plate glass doors, .....Are diamond pimples covering the .....Universal symbol of death. Excited skin bri…