These are two poems I've written lately. From the first entry, the one about the house and not getting out has been made into a song which will be played in the Sleeping Passengers gig at Robin's Well on Thursday (26th Feb) sometime after 7... (unsubtle plug.)
I felt sick the whole way back;
affected by the heat and sun.
Stray dogs made me think of home
and glossy coated spaniels springing through
golden heads of corn whilst, giggling, we played
tennis through a rosy haze.
At the hotel we walked to the sea through
the olive groves and stood on the flat rock
with the cigarette butts and Gill swam in the sea
but I preferred to stay reading my book.
The evenings were hot in Sorrento and drunk
friends of friends caused vague embarrassment
though we were young enough not to care
and to enjoy the wolf whistles and approaches
of Italian boys who ran away when they saw
our scary Dutch mama who giggled through
the streetlights after celebratory champagne
enjoying her reign as mother of the bride;
the sister of the bride and I drank fizzy lager
and got lost in the stone mazes that make up the town.
We looked down from on high and felt dizzy with height
and the knowledge that for tonight our happiness could not be spoilt.
I was back at school the next day but even the threat of French conjugations
could not spoil the elation of being in the heat and seeing the voluptuous curves
of Naples bay. I saw the picture of the Romany girls years later and could
not believe that the bay which had treated me so well could treat
them so badly. I thought of the train from Pompei back to the town
and the beggar girls in ragged clothes who I’d looked straight through feeling
so sick and ill. They could have been them but had I found them washed up
on the beach I think I would have treated them better. They had been selling toys and
gone for a dip. It had been hot, the heat had been exhausting. Can you blame them?
The Neopolitans do; they blame them for everything. But Sorrento in September had
been perfect and my memories cannot correlate with the picture of the bodies
covered in towels, small tanned feet sticking out of the end, flanked by
sunbathers who did not care.
20th March 2007.
So as she buttoned her checked shirt
I put on a black dress, black tights,
black cardi, black scarf and put together my
silver flute. She stuck sequins to her swastika,
I set up my music stand.
It was cold. The ceiling
rose with voices and when it
reached dies ire I wondered,
through my double tonguing,
whether a cherubim might
fall off and smash on the floor.
She stood in pink with punch,
lassooed and pulled by an elderly
man in leather chaps. He crooned
to her, she wondered, a
rhinestone demon? A
rhinestone Nazi? She put her
bag on the floor and
covered her nose.
There was a te deum
in this requiem; a requiem
for sequins, for you, for her, for me,
for York, for Verdi,
for cowboys, for Indians, for peace and quiet.