Jul/Aug 2017 Poetry Special Feature

Two Poems

by Barbara De Franceschi

Image courtesy of the British Library Photostream


Inspired by the art of Hayley Megan French

Artist is young—she engages the gallery
with her analysis of time and energy.
The art is something I do not understand.
Large canvases thick with layers of black acrylic,
fallen night sky, or darkened earth?
White abstract shapes intercept:
silent landmarks retrieved from private invention.
Putting canvas aside,
in a photograph of baked landscape
she has painted an orange box/
awkward in the backdrop/
a mute siren dragging the eyes
into a nameless dimension.
Is the intrusion psyche or heart?
Cloaked emotion too elusive
to define within uniform expression?
I am restless and yet serene,
black, white and orange offer a revelation:
connected fluidity that paces heartbeats
to a slow fix.
Throat is filled with ribbon syllables
until the sound is nothing more
than the intake of a naked breath.



The sun sneezes,
clouds grunt to feign friendship
with their cold spit.

Yesterday I fed a stray cat,
chicken mince left on the doorstep
is hardly heroic—it brought a smile though—
since cats are not my favourite breed.
Aversions change—like so many other adjustments
kneaded and baked into a uniform existence.

A distant siren breaks the midnight truce
to wail an eerie epitaph:
ring the bells/
scale the walls/
the touch of love is missing.

Camomile tea slips into another sleepless gallery,
phantoms write memos on the bedside table,
silence calls my name.
In the witching-hour reality dissolves
into a ribbon mirage,
things of the past regurgitate
like the tang of a quandong pie.
A token dawn prowls the window sill:
every sunrise must apologise for another heedless day.

Fate is hung in hazes rolling in across the mulga,
skin scorches in a heatwave,
winter winds sting the eyes.
There is an inner space
marking time.


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