After Edward Wadsworth: Bronze Ballet
The sky is a curtain.
Giant ships propellers line up on an empty hard.
Light and shadows wrap the curves of the props,
revealing no source.
It is as if the propellers dance,
while they wait for a ship to carry them away.
A distant merchant vessel
passes the harbour light.
1940. I am not here. I am innocent of the flat light
on the hard of this channel harbour.
War is one year on. These propellers wait.
They dance and do not dance.
The painters paint on, waiting.
After Ivon Hitchens: Evening Sky Over Hills
(But where is the sky, where are the hills?)
Heavy brushstrokes, dark blue, yellow-green,
mauve and grey at the skyline, everywhere
light. Trees, leaves, the dark of wood, grass
shimmer inside, behind, beyond
these thick marks.
1957. I am eight years old.
This is my time. I am part of the new tribe.
The painters say
we will not show you what you want
but only the core of the world. Into which
you will pour your hope, longing,
your bright internal eye.
These two poems are inspired by paintings on display as part of TOWNER 100: The Living Collection at Towner Eastbourne, UK. John White will be reading the poems at a free, drop-in event in the gallery on Thursday 17 August 2023, 1.30pm.
John White was first published in Michael Horovitz’s seminal review New Departures. He was a TV & Cross-media Director-Producer for many years. He graduated with Distinction from the London Poetry School-Newcastle University Writing Poetry MA in 2021. Recently he has had poems on the newbootsandpantisocracies blog, in the New European, The Ekphrastic Review, Alchemy Spoon, New Writing Scotland 40, morphrog, upcoming in the Frogmore Papers, and a poem longlisted in the 2022 UK National Poetry Competition.
The Ekphrastic Review
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