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…
Her fingers press the keys With skilful muscle memory Of adolescent compositions.
But now, her fingers are clothed In the jewels of promise And the band of union. Her fingers press the keys With skilful memory. A would be forgotten melody Is slowly remembered, Quickly played. But her fingers have changed. They have reassembled the shards of me, They have studied my skin, They are now clothed With the jewels of our promises, And the engraved band Of our union.
I wrote this poem in 2014 for my wife Silje soon after we were married as she played something she’d written years before. I was watching her, and struck by the simple image of her playing a piece she’d written with fingers that are now clothed with our wedding and engagement rings.
When it snowed in Montpellier in February 2018 she was playing Prelude in C Major by J.S Bach. I thought the image of her playing with the snow outside would go well with this poem, so I recorded her without telling her. She can be very shy about her music. But don’t w…
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…