Poems – Arles, 1992

Arles sunflowers

It is almost Christmas but it is wet and very windy out there. So let us rewind to a poem I wrote a while back as we go in search of some heat and romance.
This poem ‘Arles, 1992’ was written in response to a photograph. A group of us from Herga Poets got together with a local photography club and wrote our responses to what they gave us. We worked from the prompt and went our own direction – often to the surprise of the photographer. We were not trying to guess the time and place and intention of the photograph, but instead letting it take us where it wanted to. My picture took me to the South of France on the back of Van Gogh and his paintings.


Arles, 1992

We slept until the sun snagged our eyes.
We poured our days away
in cheap wine beside the pool,
listening to Euro-pop radio
puzzled by voices too quick for us to follow.

The day we made it into town
you argued in the market place
with boys who whistled and made gestures.
You pulled me close
and I stoppered your anger with a kiss.

You always said that you’d go back.
The cartoon colours bring your vivid heat.
I put the postcard on the fridge
and wonder when those flowers turned to seed.


This poem first appeared in The Journal #40

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