Friday, 31 January 2014

More poetry in circulation

E-zine Various Artists is currently circulating five new poems of mine. To have them delivered to your inbox, simply drop a line to VA at:

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Just a reminder ...

... that the next post on new Anglo-Bulgarian art/writing site Colourful Star goes live tomorrow (Friday 31 Jan) and features a painting by Bulgarian artist Marina Shiderova, with an accompanying poem by me. Find it here:

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Launching Colourful Star

If you like reading the kind of thing that's posted here, on Recreation Ground, then do click through to Colourful Star.
This is a new Anglo-Bulgarian collaborative arts project which has just gone on line and features paintings by the Bulgarian artist Marina Shiderova with accompanying texts written by myself and Marina's sister. We will be posting regularly on the site - there will be still lifes, landscapes and portraits; poems, stories and articles. There isn't an overall theme as such - just the aim of exploring and celebrating the possibilities of collaboration between artists working in different fields and in different countries.
Like many projects, Colourful Star originates in chance meetings and the discovery of shared interests - with the ideas behind it slowly being modified and developed through emails and Facebook exchanges. And no doubt those ideas will continue to develop as the project progresses.
To my knowledge, collaborative art projects between the UK and Bulgaria (and SE Europe in general for that matter) are few and far between - and as part of this project we will also be looking to explore elements of Bulgarian culture and cultural traditions. 
The first post - featuring Marina's painting 'Jars' and a short poem written in response to it - is up now - with new posts appearing once a week from now on ... 

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Moment of recognition

Draft of a poem found in a drawer

For Sarra

His speaking of an unexpected coming true
is what puts me in mind
of that winter on the coast,
holed up in a closed hotel
where you were camping out,
with the job of just minding the place.

Maybe we did discover something there
in that high-ceilinged room,
that accidental moment,
with friends occupied with gossip and wine
and us slipping off to smoke
overlooking the wave-striated harbour.
Or maybe we simply agreed
to pool our resources
under a not-quite-threatening sky.

Either way, now, in our kitchen,
sorting recyclable debris,
I’m telling you stories
of her yearnings, his betrayals,
the impulsive gestures
of their love affair, reminders
of what we flirted with ourselves.

Tom Phillips

Monday, 13 January 2014

With any luck

Above ground crisped with frost,
a robin takes it chances,
braving cats, dogs, us,
for a moment
in this cherry tree lattice.

Its song calls up the joys
and hurts of other lovers.
Distance is an atrocity
they might endure.
Proximity is another
which, with any luck,
and the wind in the right direction,
we might well survive.

Tom Phillips 2014

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Vocabulary test

Well, here’s something –
an almost balmy January day
and pale green bulb shoots
across saturated ground.

Unpicked apples still hang
and finches squabble.
It’s not too late for us now.
No frost or breeze to speak of.

Amid coffee, packed lunches,
drying washing, fried eggs,
weather reports on Radio Four,
it might be that I’ve just returned.

On the table, exercise books
with words from that language
I’m trying to learn: verb-forms,
participles, slender distinctions

between ‘want’, ‘desire’ and ‘love’.

Tom Phillips, Jan 2014

Saturday, 4 January 2014

4 September

Hard to hear clearly
on that breezy shore:
shouted anniversary wishes –
and intermitting signal, what’s more.

Only now the frail connection’s gone
and I’m browsing crowded stalls
for postcards, magnets, souvenirs,
it’s as if a few words of broken language
might come and catch me unawares –

because, yes, love, I’m wondering again
at resurgent silences, old scenes,
here, on the continent’s edge,
in this late-summer seaside town.


You’d never seen
quite so many bicycles, racked
as if for the start of a race
or quick getaways.
Sulphur light and thin fog
colluded in that clogged lane,
devices of a mood
which had closed in too soon
and made little sense
from where I stood,
doing nothing  
to convince you or distract.


Without time to grow sure
of street plans, orientations,
alleyways’ jags and shortcuts,
I could be here for hours
and none the wiser for it:
a day of places I’ll not find again.

From a terrace let into the castle wall,
the bay’s streaked by what’s left of the sun.
First promenade lights are turned on –
and here I am, love, frightening myself
with thoughts of how close we’ve come
to there being no way back at all.

Tom Phillips, January 2014