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Shaine Fraz Jun 2016
How fortunate
Our color blends unintentially,
Wildly with thoughts bleeding outside the lines what have we started: again

And again I stroke
And again you absorb
And again this easel-- summoned
And again your vellum-- softened

Perched on a stool,
Vibrant as mangos --ripening
I chose you, the spectrum
Unknown to most

The only museum I go to.
© 2016 by S Fraz All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of S Fraz
R Saba Jul 2014
i slipped out
into the waves of watercolour
that broke themselves upon the shore
of the horizon
and i disappeared
as they darkened into black

i escaped through the sunset
as words were climbing up my legs
setting fire to my ears
and forcing me to retreat away
from the choking letters and sinking ink
that tattooed all this sound into my skin

at first, the sunset saved me
and the waves that gently hit the dock felt like a heartbeat
telling me that this was how it would always be

but soon, i began to miss the panic
just for the simple fact that it was a feeling
and the sunset had stolen them all from me
leaving me bare, black and stretched high above
unable to land on the ground again
unable to even blink stars down onto the grass
unable to do anything
other than wait for the sun to rise again

but solstice has already passed
and the dark hours grow longer again
and i am pulled thin, veiling a world
that accepts me as the night
and doesn't even miss the stars
Nigel Morgan Dec 2013
A Tale for the Mid-Winter Season after the Mural by Carl Larrson

On the shortest day I wake before our maids from the surrounding farms have converged on Sundborn. Greta lives with us so she will be asleep in that deep slumber only girls of her age seem to own. Her tiny room has barely more than a bed and a chest for her clothes. There is my first painting of her on the wall, little more a sketch, but she was entranced, at seeing herself so. To the household she is a maid who looks after me and my studio,  though she is a literate, intelligent girl, city-bred from Gamla Stan but from a poor home, a widowed mother, her late father a drunkard.  These were my roots, my beginning, exactly. But her eyes already see a world beyond Sundborn. She covets postcards from my distant friends: in Paris, London, Jean in South America, and will arrange them on my writing desk, sometimes take them to her room at night to dream in the candlelight. I think this summer I shall paint her, at my desk, reading my cards, or perhaps writing her own. The window will be open and a morning breeze will make the flowers on the desk tremble.

Karin sleeps too, a desperate sleep born of too much work and thought and interruption. These days before Christmas put a strain on her usually calm disposition. The responsibilities of our home, our life, the constant visitors, they weigh upon her, and dispel her private time. Time in her studio seems impossible. I often catch her poised to disappear from a family coming-together. She is here, and then gone, as if by magic. With the older children home from their distant schools, and Suzanne arrived from England just yesterday morning, they all cannot do without lengthy conferences. They know better than disturb me. Why do you think there is a window set into my studio door? So, if I am at my easel there should be no knock to disturb. There is another reason, but that is between Karin and I.

This was once a summer-only house, but over the years we have made it our whole-year home. There was much attention given to making it snug and warm. My architect replaced all the windows and all the doors and there is this straw insulation between the walls. Now, as I open the curtains around my bed, I can see my breath float out into the cool air. When, later, I descend to my studio, the stove, damped down against the night, when opened and raddled will soon warm the space. I shall draw back the heavy drapes and open the wooden shutters onto the dark land outside. Only then I will stand before my current painting: *Brita and the Sleigh
.

Current!? I have been working on this painting intermittently for five years, and Brita is no longer the Brita of this picture, though I remember her then as yesterday. It is a picture of a winter journey for a six-year-old, only that journey is just across the yard to the washhouse. Snow, frost, birds gathered in the leafless trees, a sun dog in the sky, Brita pushing her empty sledge, wearing fur boots, Lisbeth’s old coat, and that black knitted hat made by old Anna. It is the nearest I have come to suggesting the outer landscape of this place. I bring it out every year at this time so I can check the light and the shadows against what I see now, not what I remember seeing then. But there will be a more pressing concern for me today, this shortest day.

Since my first thoughts for the final mural in my cycle for the Nationalmuseum I have always put this day aside, whatever I might be doing, wherever I may be. I pull out my first sketches, that book of imaginary tableaux filled in a day and a night in my tiny garden studio in Grez, thinking of home, of snow, the mid-winter, feeling the extraordinary power and shake of Adam of Bremen’s description of 10th C pre-Christian Uppsala, written to describe how barbaric and immoral were the practices and religion of the pagans, to defend the fragile position of the Christian church in Sweden at the time. But as I gaze at these rough beginnings made during those strange winter days in my rooms at the Hotel Chevilon, I feel myself that twenty-five year old discovering my artistic vision, abandoning oils for the flow and smudge of watercolour, and then, of course, Karin. We were part of the Swedish colony at Grez-sur-Loing. Karin lived with the ladies in Pension Laurent, but was every minute beside me until we found our own place, to be alone and be together, in a cupboard of a house by the river, in Marlotte.

Everyone who painted en-plein-air, writers, composers, they all flocked to Grez just south of Fontainebleau, to visit, sometimes to stay. I recall Strindberg writing to Karin after his first visit: It was as if there were no pronounced shadows, no hard lines, the air with its violet complexion is almost always misty; and I painting constantly, and against the style and medium of the time. How the French scoffed at my watercolours, but my work sold immediately in Stockholm. . . and Karin, tall, slim, Karin, my muse, my lover, my model, her boy-like figure lying naked (but for a hat) in the long grass outside my studio. We learned each other there, the technique of bodies in intimate closeness, the way of no words, the sharing of silent thoughts, together on those soft, damp winter days when our thoughts were of home, of Karin’s childhood home at Sundborn. I had no childhood thoughts I wanted to return to, but Karin, yes. That is why we are here now.

In Grez-sur-Loing, on a sullen December day, mist lying on the river, our garden dead to winter, we received a visitor, a Swedish writer and journalist travelling with a very young Italian, Mariano Fortuny, a painter living in Paris, and his mentor the Spaniard Egusquiza. There was a woman too who Karin took away, a Parisienne seamstress I think, Fortuny’s lover. Bayreuth and Wagner, Wagner, Wagner was all they could talk about. Of course Sweden has its own Nordic Mythology I ventured. But where is it? What is it? they cried, and there was laughter and more mulled wine, and then talk again of Wagner.

When the party left I realized there was something deep in my soul that had been woken by talk of the grandeur and scale of Wagner’s cocktail of German and Scandinavian myths and folk tales. For a day and night I sketched relentlessly, ransacking my memory for those old tales, drawing strong men and stalwart, flaxen-haired women in Nordic dress and ornament. But as a new day presented itself I closed my sketch book and let the matter drop until, years later, in a Stockholm bookshop I chanced upon a volume in Latin by Adam of Bremen, his Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum, the most famous source to pagan ritual practice in Sweden. That cold winter afternoon in Grez returned to me and I felt, as I had then, something stir within me, something missing from my comfortable world of images of home and farm, family and the country life.

Back in Sundborn this little volume printed in the 18th C lay on my desk like a question mark without a sentence. My Latin was only sufficient to get a gist, but the gist was enough. Here was the story of the palace of Uppsala, the great centre of the pre-Christian pagan cults that brought us Odin and Freyr. I sought out our village priest Dag Sandahl, a good Lutheran but who regularly tagged Latin in his sermons. Yes, he knew the book, and from his study bookshelf brought down an even earlier copy than my own. And there and then we sat down together and read. After an hour I was impatient to be back in my studio and draw, draw these extraordinary images this text brought to life unbidden in my imagination. But I did not leave until I had persuaded Pastor Sandahl to agree to translate the Uppsala section of the Adam of Bremen’s book, and just before Christmas that year, on the day before the Shortest Day, he delivered his translation to my studio. He would not stay, but said I should read the passages about King Domalde and his sacrifice at the Winter Solstice. And so, on the day of the Winter Solstice, I did.

This people have a widely renowned sanctuary called Uppsala.

By this temple is a very large tree with extending branches. It is always green, both in winter and in summer. No one knows what kind of tree this is. There is also a spring there, where the heathens usually perform their sacrificial rites. They throw a live human being into the spring. If he does not resurface, the wishes of the people will come true.

The Temple is girdled by a chain of gold that hangs above the roof of the building and shines from afar, so that people may see it from a distance when they approach there. The sanctuary itself is situated on a plain, surrounded by mountains, so that the form a theatre.

It is not far from the town of Sigtuna. This sanctuary is completely covered with golden ornaments. There, people worship the carved idols of three gods: Thor, the most powerful of them, has his throne in the middle of the hall, on either side of him, Odin and Freyr have their seats. They have these functions: “Thor,” they say, “rules the air, he rules thunder and lightning, wind and rain, good weather and harvests. The other, Odin, he who rages, he rules the war and give courage to people in their battle against enemies. The third is Freyr, he offers to mortals lust and peace and happiness.” And his image they make with a very large phallus. Odin they present armed, the way we usually present Mars, while Thor with the scepter seems to resemble Jupiter. As gods they also worship some that have earlier been human. They give them immortality for the sake of their great deeds, as we may read in Vita sancti Ansgarii that they did with King Eirik.

For all these gods have particular persons who are to bring forward the sacrificial gifts of the people. If plague and famine threatens, they offer to the image of Thor, if the matter is about war, they offer to Odin, but if a wedding is to be celebrated, they offer to Freyr. And every ninth year in Uppsala a great religious ceremony is held that is common to people from all parts of Sweden.”
Snorri also relates how human sacrifice began in Uppsala, with the sacrifice of a king.

Domalde took the heritage after his father Visbur, and ruled over the land. As in his time there was great famine and distress, the Swedes made great offerings of sacrifice at Upsal. The first autumn they sacrificed oxen, but the succeeding season was not improved thereby. The following autumn they sacrificed men, but the succeeding year was rather worse. The third autumn, when the offer of sacrifices should begin, a great multitude of Swedes came to Upsal; and now the chiefs held consultations with each other, and all agreed that the times of scarcity were on account of their king Domalde, and they resolved to offer him for good seasons, and to assault and **** him, and sprinkle the stall of the gods with his blood. And they did so.


There it was, at the end of Adam of Bremen’s description of Uppsala, this description of King Domalde upon which my mural would be based. It is not difficult to imagine, or rather the event itself can be richly embroidered, as I have over the years made my painting so. Karin and I have the books of William Morris on our shelves and I see little difference between his fixation on the legends of the Arthur and the Grail. We are on the cusp here between the pagan and the Christian.  What was Christ’s Crucifixion but a self sacrifice: as God in man he could have saved himself but chose to die for Redemption’s sake. His blood was not scattered to the fields as was Domalde’s, but his body and blood remains a continuing symbol in our right of Communion.

I unroll the latest watercolour cartoon of my mural. It is almost the length of this studio. Later I will ask Greta to collect the other easels we have in the house and barn and then I shall view it properly. But for now, as it unrolls, my drama of the Winter Solstice comes alive. It begins on from the right with body of warriors, bronze shields and helmets, long shafted spears, all set against the side of Uppsala Temple and more distant frost-hoared trees. Then we see the King himself, standing on a sled hauled by temple slaves. He is naked as he removes the furs in which he has travelled, a circuit of the temple to display himself to his starving people. In the centre, back to the viewer, a priest-like figure in a red cloak, a dagger held for us to see behind his back. Facing him, in druidic white, a high priest holds above his head a gold pagan monstrance. To his left there are white cloaked players of long, straight horns, blue cloaked players of the curled horns, and guiding the shaft of the sled a grizzled shaman dressed in the skins and furs of animals. The final quarter of my one- day-to-be-a-mural unfolds to show the women of temple and palace writhing in gestures of grief and hysteria whilst their queen kneels prostate on the ground, her head to the earth, her ladies ***** behind her. Above them all stands the forever-green tree whose origin no one knows.

Greta has entered the studio in her practiced, silent way carrying coffee and rolls from the kitchen. She has seen Midvinterblot many times, but I sense her gaze of fascination, yet again, at the figure of the naked king. She remembers the model, the sailor who came to stay at Kartbacken three summers ago. He was like the harpooner Queequeg in Moby ****. A tattooed man who was to be seen swimming in Toftan Lake and walking bare-chested in our woods. A tall, well-muscled, almost silent man, whom I patiently courted to be my model for King Dolmade. I have a book of sketches of him striding purposefully through the trees, the tattooed lines on his shoulders and chest like deep cuts into his body. This striding figure I hid from the children for some time, but from Greta that was impossible. She whispered to me once that when she could not have my substantial chest against her she would imagine the sailor’s, imagine touching and following his tattooed lines. This way, she said, helped her have respite from those stirrings she would so often feel for me. My painting, she knew, had stirred her fellow maids Clara and Solveig. Surely you know this, she had said, in her resolute and direct city manner. I have to remember she is the age of my eldest, who too must hold such thoughts and feelings. Karin dislikes my sailor king and wishes I would not hide the face of his distraught queen.

Today the sunrise is at 9.0, just a half hour away, and it will set before 3.0pm. So, after this coffee I will put on my boots and fur coat, be well scarfed and hatted (as my son Pontus would say) and walk out onto my estate. I will walk east across the fields towards Spardasvvägen. The sky is already waiting for the sun, but waits without colour, hardly even a tinge of red one might expect.

I have given Greta her orders to collect every easel she can find so we can take Midvinterblot off the floor and see it in all its vivid colour and form. In February I shall begin again to persuade the Nationalmuseum to accept this work. We have a moratorium just now. I will not accept their reasoning that there is no historical premise for such a subject, that such a scene has no place in a public gallery. A suggestion has been made that the Historiska museet might house it. But I shall not think of this today.

Karin is here, her face at the studio window beckons entry. My Darling, yes, it is midwinter’s day and I am dressing to greet the solstice. I will dress, she says, to see Edgar who will be here in half an hour to discuss my designs for this new furniture. We will be lunching at noon. Know you are welcome. Suzanne is talking constantly of England, England, and of course Oxford, this place of dreaming spires and good looking boys. We touch hands and kiss. I sense the perfume of sleep, of her bed.

Outside I must walk quickly to be quite alone, quite apart from the house, in the fields, alone. It is on its way: this light that will bathe the snowed-over land and will be my promise of the year’s turn towards new life.

As I walk the drama of Midvinterblot unfolds in a confusion of noise, the weeping of women, the physical exertions of the temple slaves, the priests’ incantations, the riot of horns, and then suddenly, as I stand in this frozen field, there is silence. The sun rises. It stagge
To see images of the world of Sundborn and Carl Larrson (including Mitvinterblot) see http://www.clg.se/encarl.aspx
Chris Aug 2015
~
Pastel clouds linger
in found summer dreams,
vibrant hues of
effervescent rainbows
against a canvas
of blue plumbago skies,
a soft tangerine glow in
rose petal brushstrokes
paints a brand new
watercolour morning
for us to share together
*once more
Good morning beautiful
Rose L Mar 2016
28.1.2016
The sun sets with me every night.
And yet, each of these nights I find a cannot quite
Translate that fade from day to grey;
in oils or ink I can never paint her -
She's gone too soon and the nights resume
and I'm left in darkness with empty paper.
Tomorrow afternoon will be strewn with half-lines -
poetry dripping drowsily from my tired mind
sketches on my sheets and sun-faded carpet
God help that empty-headed artist!
And I wonder if I'll ever draw again...
There can be no art compared to my bedroom window when
My own small framed sun sets again.
Forever watching the sun. Watching it watch me
pages sliding off my windowsill, in dreary ennui
Navy draws my curtains closed on time
But she lingers still, in watercolour lines
And people wonder why I paint the sun
As small as I have done;
I wish I could find apt words to say -
I am getting further from my sun each day.
Helios Rietberg Jan 2013
Coriander sprinklings and subtle tastes
as we lean together and giggle as children
exchanging nibbles and pecks of love
at the gentle lullings of our sleeping boats

And the sun would shine on our dark heads
burning our hairs and lighting the fires
echoing our laughter while we filled the earth
with eternal love that would span the sky

And all the distances would pull us apart
taking our lives this way and that
winding through the darkest routes
enshrining our happiness to the past

But we would - as always - remember well
clinging to the smells of the world
keeping our hearts closed to disruptions
but letting our confidence sway––––

And yet the world would bring us back
to hear our giggles and childish banters
taking delight at the slightest triggers
and painting lives in watercolour

So moments pass and times repeat
clear in the eye of our observers

But crimson shades and all spring scents
watch our bonded rains and shines

And for every moment I reflect
you shine brighter than luminance.
© Helios Rietberg, January 2013
Laura Blaise Feb 2011
(The river is watercolour, and I wish you could see how the colours blend in summer
Through the light rain I can’t bear to hear the whispers of the city... I just look into the water It’s transluscent like your skin, blue as your veins. It moves at lightening speed in this rain.

I want you to come and see... but they can barely leave your curtains open for fear you’ll catch something from the light, the air. Your delicate complexion would only be tarnished.
I want to see you here in this painting but you seem so far from everything now, how am I meant to find you when now everything, everything I do feels like falling. )

The river is so gentle this time of year when the rain falls like feathers and fills it right up to the banks. It’s a water colour painting, all pale green and blue and as I sit on the bank it reminds me of you;  your transparent skin, your pale green eyes and blue veins visible...
You are paint with too much water in it, now. Diluted, wasting...There’s a swan pecking at crumbs on the bench where you should be sitting, next to me. Did you  know a swan can break your arm? Not that there’s much of you left to break now. You can barely leave your bed, without summoning fatigue to gnaw on your bones.
It’s hard to sit knowing that however hard I grip the bench it won’t bring  anything back and knowing that I can never hug you as tightly as I’m clutching the wood because you are made of glass now.
The trees are throwing their leaves off in sudden gusts and they flail in the air so the world looks like fire. Their flamebraches flickering menacingly. It has an energy that you will never feel again, neither in your bones nor beating against your skin.
You are protected now. Like signets beneath their mother’s wing. You feel no wind nor rain, nor sunshine, no ecstacy in your veins. Everything is white... Artificially dyed flowers stand ridgid at the foot of your bed. I know they bring you no comfort.
A storm is coming. The swans retreat to their shelters, the people trail off into the distance, their faces hidden by dripping umbrellas. The trees tear off all of their leaves in fiery rage until they dance furiously in the naked wind. They are angry because you are not here to dance with them. ******* you, they hate you for it. For lying there, tormented and tired as the wind screams that ‘LIFE GOES ON AND ON without you.’
I stay on the bench, immobile. I am soaked right through to my lungs, feel rain drops running down the ladders of my ribs. I look like I have just crawled from the river, as leaves stick to my skin. I grip the wood tightly still.
Once it was sunny. It was bright, cloudless and you stood here next to the bench. You laughed at how the swans always looked so angry, like ballet dancers concentrating too hard. The trees had all their fresh young leaves, wrapped  in their velvet coats.
The swans don’t look angry today, just sad, brow beaten. Their beaks point down as they huddle from the cold.
I hate you for not being here.
I let go of the bench. The storm rages.
I dive head first into the dashing water. It is deeper than usual but still shallow.  I keep my head beneath the stirring water for as long as I can. I feel the cold rush against my skin, filter through my clothes and encase me in it’s breath. The air inside me screams to be released, threatening to burst through my back like wings.
I broke the already shattering surface and hauled my numb body onto the bank.
I felt then, as I lay on the soaking ground, that I knew you were never coming here or anywhere else you loved ever again. I thought I could feel your ghost in my hands,  in my throat. Slipping awa.
The next day, the day you sat up and the doctors said you were a miracle, the day the nurse took away all the ugly flowers, the trees by the river had never stood so still, so wonderfully still.
Nassif Younes Apr 2016
Take it.
It will hurt,
Maybe like nothing you've ever felt before.
When you close your eyes
You'll see black
And when you wake up
You'll see
Black.
Take it.

You will feel tempted to fantasise about a world
Where what you think should have happened
Has any effect
On what actually happpened.
Your hair will rise at the seductive thought of hope -
**** it.
Unless it has substance
You're better off
Drinking yourself senseless and purging it immediately.

Suffering is a part of living.
If you avoid it
So too do you avoid living.
Take it.
Use it if you can.
If you can't,
Find a way to use it
And then use it.
Spill your anguish over a blank canvass like watercolour
It may not be fun -
Most inspired things are not -
But later on
It might be
And when you're done
You can stand over all the suckers
Who look back at hard times
As wasted times.
You will stand over the dead petals of your old self
And burst open like a flower in the heart of spring.

And one day
That slightly stronger you
Will get hurt again,
Maybe even worse than the last time
And when that happens
Take it.

This is being
And nothing else.
Sunflowers in the sun
feeding from the light
like a golden watercolour painting
Field mice nibbling
Bees buzzing
Coming out to play
In the middle of a wheat field
Turned over
looking up at the dust particles that fill the sky
Oh how wonderful it would be to become a mole
Or fly.
i could stay sleeping all day
KiraLili Jun 2017
Tracing Slowly


                    I began lightly
              Where it  started on your
                  Ribs near your breast
                     Under slightly
                        Yellow petals
                                   In
                           Watercolour
                              Tattoo  Ink
                      ­             With
                                      A
                    ­               Dark
                                Orange
                     ­           Centre
                           Following
                                      Your
                                          Body
                 ­                            Down
                                          To
               ­                  The
                   Curves
                Of
           Your  
              Full
               Hips
                 Wrapping
                           Your
                              Thigh
                                 Broken
                                    Only
                 ­                     By
                                 White
                             Linen
                               And
                                My
                          ­    Hand
                                At
                           Your
                           Knee
Seán Mac Falls Dec 2012
November shades down,
Single colour trumping all—
  .  .  .  Bluebirds in grey sky.
R K Hodge Nov 2015
I adore you.
That is all there is to it.
Sometimes red poppies blossom in my stomach because of it
Like ***** watercolour water it grows increasingly murky
I find it is a beautiful shade of hurt and soul
It contrasts nicely with my porcelain casing
Like a tea *** I am poised to empty my contents
I adore, you.
Molly Hughes Jan 2014
There was once a girl with a fear of mirrors.
A fear so frightening,
it followed her round wherever she went.
Zombie films were fine
and spiders didn't bother her,
she would have happily seen a ghost
and the dark was her best friend.
But the mirror haunted her.
"Look at yourself..."
it would whisper,
"Fat,
ugly,
baby face,
crooked teeth...
"
Even in bed,
when night veiled it's reflection,
it spoke.
The duvet over her head wasn't much of a shield,
the voice taunting her,
ringing in her ears,
until she woke up,
a sticky, writhing mass in the middle of the matress.
"Good Morning."
The day time was no better.
Shop windows acted as put-me-up mirrors,
cutlery in cafes the same.
There was a solution to walking in the day time,
head down,
head down,
head down,
don't make eye contact,
head down
,
but a rogue puddle could stop her in her tracks.
Her watercolour reflection swam menacingly on it's surface,
the voice rising dreamily from it like a mermaid speaking under water.
But she'd take a whole city of puddles
if she could avoid the carnival of horrors that was shopping for clothes.
There,
no matter where she stepped,
mirrors of all shapes and sizes would spring from corners,
the reflections getting redder
and uglier
and sweatier
and more pathetic
each time she span into a new one,
pretty,
thin,
popular girls preened themselves in the corner of her eyes,
friends with the mirrors.
She could hear the voice speaking to them,
but it's words were kind and friendly.
Looking down made no difference as mirrors adorned the floors,
up the same,
the ceiling a funfair nightmare of crazy mirrors,
the whole shop a kaleidoscope of her disgusting,
repulsive,
loathsome face.
She couldn't even cry.
The fear was so great,
that she couldn't risk seeing a reflection in one of the tears.
Even her sorrows mocked her.
The only way was to bottle it up,
to smile,
act like nothing was wrong,
look in her bag when her friends were looking in the mirror,
close her eyes at the hairdressers,
throw a sheet over her own, hateful mirror.
Throw a sheet over herself.
Nobody could hurt her if she didn't let them in.
One day,
the girl smashed the mirror in her room.
She grabbed a shoe and struck it with such force,
that the awful face before her splintered
and crashed to the floor in a thousand pieces.
When she looked down,
hundreds of dark eyes blinked back at her.
It's shell still remained hanging on the wall,
a black rectangle that looked like it could be a portal to another world.
She could still see herself in it.
She shut her eyes and squeezed them hard,
but the mirrors were behind her eyelids,
printed onto her brain,
painted onto her pupils.
The mirror was inside her.
The girl was now a looking glass of self-loathing.
The voice whispered inside her head.
"Just look at yourself.
Look at yourself,
look at yourself,
look at yourself,
LOOK.
"
She realised she would never be able to escape the mirrors.
She realised that she would smash herself into nothing but broken glass if she didn't just
look.
So she did.
As each day went by,
with every new mirror that crept up on her,
she looked inside it,
looked at herself.
The first time sweat beaded and dripped down her neck
and her hands shook.
She thought she would faint,
thought she was going to run,
thought she wouldn't do it,
but she did.
She looked.
She kept looking for a long time,
scrutinsing her every feature until she realised,
it wasn't that bad.
She looked,
until eventually,
as time passed by,
she managed to smile.
Until eventually,
whenever she closed her eyes,
the mirrors on her lids nodded "You'll be okay.".
Until eventually,
the fear wasn't so scary anymore.
Until,
eventually,
she let herself cry.
And she wanted to see herself in the tears.
There was a once a girl who liked mirrors.
Connor Ruther Dec 2014
I am the two tailed Comet.
I am the high and Low.
I am a wretch and Dragon.
I am a ghost of glee and Woe.

I am the perfect lover.
Who smiles with perfect eyes.
I am the imperfect lover.
Who's smile's a disguise.

I am the best at kindness.
I dream up fantastic dates.
I am, at best, the kindest.
But it seems my days come late.

I am your Master and your keeper;
Who pets you on your knees.
I am the crippled *****,
Who's rotted with disease.

But every side, both Green and Purple,
Shares a hue of deepest blue.
Every one of them is hurtful.
And hurts that it hurt you.
Eleanor Rigby Nov 2016
I have dreams that I once was
A free majestic albino peacock,
Jewellery trapped under a rock.
I have dreams that I never was.

I have dreams  that I once was
An old tree covered in snow,
Winds that took an eastern blow.
I have dreams that I never was.

I have dreams that I once was
A poor little drowning fish,
A silver ring left to tarnish.
I have dreams that I never was.

I have dreams that I once was
A lot of things and one thing,
But I never was anything.
I have dreams that I once was.


--Watercolour
Nigel Morgan Jan 2013
(after a watercolour by Mary Fedden OBE RA)
 
It is early morning, a Tuesday in June. It is May’s birthday. She likes to get up early on her birthday and join her husband on the beach. He has been up since five, fiddling about, making tea, reading a little, avoiding his desk. May thinks, when she watches him dress with a half an eye open feigning sleep, he looks so distinguished with his silver, nearly white hair and that beard (her suggestion). And today I am forty-five and he is . . . old enough to be my father. But he is my companion, my love, my watcher who stalks me still with his gaze of admiration, which I never tire of when we are alone, but I am sometimes embarrassed by when we are in company. He knows this, but he can’t help himself. He says he loves to watch me cross a room, stand still against a window, reach for a vase on a shelf, sit at my work table, intent.
 
May sees him far down the beach as she walks with purpose through the dunes that separate their cottage from the beach. Her short boots glisten with the heavy dew. She has pulled on her work dress over her striped nightshirt, a dress she wove in a grey Jura their first long winter. There he is in his stupid cap his grandson gave him when he acquired the boat. He’s carrying a fishing net to collect creatures from the rock pools further down the beach. She remembers when this ‘interest’ began. He had read to her one night a long extract from *Father and Son
by Edmund Gosse. It was a kind of threnody to a state that once existed, a veritable Garden of Eden, destroyed in two generations by a mid-Victorian passion for sea-shore collecting. ‘These rock-basins’ Gosse had written, ’fringed by corallines, filled with still water almost as pellucid as the upper air itself, thronged with beautiful sensitive forms of life, - they exist no longer, they are all profaned, and emptied and vulgarized. The fairy paradise has been violated, the exquisite product of the centuries of natural selection has been crushed under the rough paw of well-meaning curiosity.'
 
She loved to hear him read, knowing that he loved to read to her. The joy on his face sometimes; it was worth enduring all the strange things he found to read (she fell asleep so often as he read) just for those occasions when she felt pinned to her seat, grappled to her bed like Gulliver, wishing it would never stop, such words, his dear voice. How long had it been now?
 
He didn’t walk to meet her. He let her walk to him. He stood there waiting. When she drew close he stretched out his arms and arranged her body in front of him, walked back a little and smiled his admiring smile. There were almost tears in his eyes, as there so often were when he had no words. She knew on his desk there would be a poem, and like the poet Ted Hughes (who neither of them could deal with), a birthday letter waiting to be given to her at breakfast, with gifts she knew he had worried over.
 
She stood quite still and let the fresh September wind gather her now quite long hair and turning away from him, let it stream behind her. He had turned too, realising in saying nothing he had said too much. He remembered another birthday on a different shore, a day when she had surrounded him, captured him, loved him with a passion that had now tempered, was the stuff of his writing that now had found its way into a 100 Love Poems to Read before you Die. He had long since refused to speak these out loud, refused to be visible anymore, would not be interviewed; it was now the novel, the long, long journey of a novel, the months, years even (In Praise of Rust took three agonising years).
 
And now, standing in this sun-glinting bay, ignoring the lighthouse, May thought of Mrs Ramsey and that summer party on Skye, those earnest young men, those artistic young women, and her commanding husband who would not look at the lighthouse, who would not countenance a visit.
 
Her husband, strange to think this because she never felt herself his wife, never commanded anything. He made decisions, and then laid things gently aside. It was enough for him to have been decisive. What she did with that was up to her. He wanted her to be free, always free from any command. When they married, to him it was like the silent grace they ‘said’ at each meal. She knew it had meant so much to him: the silence of that moment. He had read to her the morning of their marriage a text from William Penn – she had remembered one phrase  ‘Between a man and his wife nothing ought to rule but love . . .’ And he yet had never commanded her. He seemed to admire her being her own self. She was not his. They were the dearest friends, weren’t they? He expected nothing from her (he had said this so often), no commitment, no promise; just gentleness, a peaceful nature, an understanding that he loved her with a passion she would never understand because she knew he did not understand it himself.
Molly Jan 2014
My country is my cradle, gently rocking,
gently spinning dreams of further isles,
prosperous waters and rivers of gold.

Dystopian land of watercolour sunsets
the fiery sea illuminates foreign pathways
and we know in our cold cores we must go.
Michelle Sep 2015
baby lie with me
with your hand
beneath my back
your gentle fingertips tracing
the outline of my ribs on my
bare chest

i've got my hand on
your chest
i can feel each
heartbeat,
your heart fluttering gently like
a caged butterfly

the sun melts
slowly
like watercolour behind the hills
and we continue
to lie
there
just the two of
us

there was no
tomorrow
only the
moment
of the
night
i need someone to feel eternal bliss with
MereCat Dec 2014
I last rode this road in Summer
When the light was as now;
Long, flat and mellow
But by the hour not the season

The trees back then still wore clothes
Green, perhaps liver-spotted with yellow
Now I watch them tangle their naked arms
And the world turns its face away in shame,
Longing for its chastised summer

The wheat field is grey scrub
An old bristling beard
And my bike tyres trace its edge
Like fingers on the jaw of our grandfather

And the watercolour wind
Rinses my knuckle bones
And then bites them open
They don’t bother to bleed
They’ve been chewed too many times

As the clouds wash in,
Black with frostbite,
I bite my winter scarf
And sing to it of bluebirds
I've been obsessed with this song recently - I can't stop singing it, especially when I'm out on my bike...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMba8vsep9I
R K Hodge Apr 2014
Place silhouette pieces or outlines of my heart in thirty or more envelopes.
Paste each one with a new soft paintbrush which clean cream bristles. Push them into torn up fragments of clean new watercolour paper. The sharp edges feel through onto the wooden table leaving mistaken, accidental grooves. Glimmers of sawdust are ****** up into the pockets of your lungs, where they contaminated and will permanently sit.
It was a small heart, the colour of grey sky reflected on seas and carried in bloated raindrops. The texture of diamond. Carved up as easily as wax by a blunt butter knife.
The envelopes are neatly labelled with white tailors chalk powders.
Daniel James Feb 2011
… a watercolour freshness
breezes through the open window.
The trees are stretching,
Shaking their sleeping dust dew
From their earthy leaves:
Nature’s man-made morning is
Apple-crunch crisp.
Wass Apr 2014
The nightingale gives way
to the ruddy dawn and foam blooms
overhead among the early watercolour
skies.

I hear a blue-*** (or robin) whistling it's tune
through the bulbs which rise bouncing
from the rippling sea of soil,
growing in seamless swathes beneath
the leaves silken pink.

The sun dapples through, reflecting
a rosy hue into the glass
dew drops fast melting
into the thirsty earth, and peeps
over the treetops before
gradually bowing his glinting head.

Old daffodils turn russet
in the golden day
and wrinkle
as the clouds blush.
Another one of the first poems I have written. I just love spring!
Eleanor Rigby Oct 2016
between the breaths, the boredom, the blues, the *****
the smokes, the sacrifices, the smiles, the sadness, the snooze
the poems, the problems, the pros and the cons
the needles, the nobodies, the neurotics, the loose
the careless, the fearless, the dreamless, who knows
the tulip, the lilac, the jasmine, the rose
the suns, the moons, the earth, the birth
the nights, the fights, the lies arise
the loneliness
among the hate, the fate, the date delayed
the loneliness
along the tongue, a song, wrong, wrong
the loneliness
inside the heart, a part apart, from the start
the loneliness, the loneliness, the loneliness...

"and the crowd, so many people,
and the cries, the laughs, the whispers...
Too many mouths talking in my ear, my left ear
Is it the chaos of unphysical presences ?
But I touch them, I see them, I hear them...
And nobody is here" -- Myra


-- Watercolour
Nigel Morgan Sep 2012
This collecting; this laying out of treasures. A piece of watercolour paper cut to fit the sill of a window, then each object placed in a sequence. Stones and shells at first, then slivers of wood, a crab, a starfish. Eventually, small objects from inside the Fishing Station. Strange and so different away from their location. Strange to be displayed as distinctly separate rather than a gregarious jumble of ‘finds’. Their shadows fell with such delicacy across the paper, turning as the light turned, sharp-edged now, smudged later. I would catch her sitting before these collections, observing their properties as the window projected different qualities of light with the passing day. I had them to myself in the early mornings when I crept from our bed into the grey blue light of the dawn. I would sit before them with a china mug of tea feeling my body come to terms with its own self having left its shared part of me in bed. Every day seemed more precious than the previous. As the calendar moved relentlessly forward I realised we had begun to speak in whispers, beyond whispers in fact. I would look at her and speak silently in my head, as I do when I ‘say’ our silent grace, when I close my eyes and pause before the delight of a meal shared. She would nod, or answer with only the barest movement of her petalled lips. The most delicate stroke of my arm was a poem; a hand resting against the neck a chapter of novel. The volumes of words that we had between us come to own tumbled away into the machair. And living slowed right down. Every movement had a graceful turn, bend or flow to it. If we stood close to each other there was rarely the need to venture into an embrace. For once we were not about to part, we became completely, utterly together. We would listen to each other breathe until even that became absorbed into the sea's great breath we could feel from the cottage windows ruffling the waters.
The Fishing Station is a novel in progress. Some parts of it have long paragraphs like prose poems set into the text. The location is a remote part of the Scottish Highlands.
mark john junor May 2013
she is a poem is pajamas
an unfinished Picasso fresh from the shower
she is a watercolour painted along the
moments of my day
in bright vibrant colours
running along my thoughts
as fluid as the delicate turns of her laugh
shes not just a woman
shes a universe and a summer day
wrapped in a rose printed dress
shes a intoxicating potion and a carefree laugh
iv never wanted to be anywhere but here
holding her and breathing her
loving her
drinking in her every moment
she is a poem in pajamas
Rochelle Roberts Mar 2016
He loved her madly
Pinched skin, purple and blue. Still
her tears gave him joy.
Eleanor Rigby Dec 2016
The sky like the palm of my hands
Is clear and faint
Holding stars and then slowly digesting them
Just like I do with magic pills.


--Watercolour
Jay Apr 2015
some days I miss the little sailboats
dotting the horizon
keeping me floating
as they sat on the shore
smiling at the watercolour painting  
watching the clouds blow away
leaving the picture perfect
but they couldn't see the sea so choppy
the wind so strong
the paper-thin sail
the hull breached and leaking
they never saw
I lacked a sailor's heart
I couldn't lift anchors
or keep weathering storms
while taking on water
content to drown
So I turned the ship around
they tied it to the dock
and I swam away
but to this day
I remember
half a small white pill
half an oval blue pill
make a little sailboat
Rapunzoll Oct 2016
a hybrid soul,
one to blend like watercolour
paintworks into the social canvas,
boys would stare,
at the star, gone dying, who knew
spotlights illuminate
the pretty parts,
the hips and the mannequin calves.
until the sun dimmers, like gods
dipped lantern burnt out,
and bodies are stripped like birds
of their feathers, plucked to glaring
scars and worn out faces peer
into the mirror - who is the ugliest
of them all.

they called her by names,
prettier than her own,
until she trembled into the
valley of the dolls, a dark and dismal
place with discarded arms and legs,
to build the perfect 'woman' -
a vulnerable creature, made to
be loved, to be wanted.
There's so soo so much pressure to be perfect. I feel like sometimes I should be trying harder but I'm already putting in so much.
Anyway, I haven't posted anything in what? 2 months? So many drafts, yet not enough free time.

© copyright
Mark McIntosh Mar 2015
stem of orchid jewels
hearts white. fronds dangling caressed
clouds obscure. Judas gifts wrap
kitchen. bromeliad pool &
bird chorus, cocteau twins, unwound
clock. himalayan surveyor measures
watercolour, telescopic insight
ginger of blue flowerless season
changing, renewed construction
seeds bloom, a winter pose. house of
possibilities in clear air, away from here
barbeque covered, herbs sprout flavour
zen stone feature a cat’s new bed
Molly Hughes Nov 2013
To the boy I saw at work today,
the one so beautiful,
my heart
stopped,
what happened to our fairy tale ending,
the part where you give me your number and sweep me away?
Maybe I was just so
blinded
by your watercolour eyes,
of blueish grey,
your large, steady hands that brushed against my own pleading two
when you payed for your drink,
that brushed against my bare back,
against my stomach,
against my cheek
in the very same moment,
that I saw the stars that you didn't.
I was sure I saw something buried in the creases of your smile,
something that said
"I'm yours."
All
mine.
But something told me otherwise when you walked away,
blessed the rest of the room with those watercolour eyes
and gave them all the same promise.
To you I was just a
faceless vending machine,
to me you were
everything I've been longing for.
My pathetic
pictures
I paint with people like you,
like the boy at the bus stop,
like the boy in the cafe,
like every boy who ever took my breath away,
are as realistic and accurate
as the finest Dali or Picasso.
But to me,
you are all more real,
more beautiful,
than any work of art.
More even than my own
pathetic
paintings.
Terry Collett Nov 2015
AFTER THE SALE 1972.


The Rossetti prints sell well, Abela said. Benedict looked at the paintings on the walls of the gallery. They would, he said in reply, taking in her thighs as she rose to adjust a painting frame, the black stockings tight and smooth. But not, the Constables so much, she added, pulling at her black skirt, as she brushed a finger along the Constable frame, eyeing it, peering at it closer, looking at the wagon and horse. Benedict raised his eyes to her neat bottom held in place by the black skirt. Constable's  a bore, he said, sends me to sleep. She turned and walked to the counter where Benedict stood. What we like is of no concern, it's the customer's taste we need to please, she said, eyeing him, his hazel eyes, that quiff of hair, that smile which reminded her of the Elvis Presley photo, on that album cover, Benedict had shown her one night, when she stayed to listen to music(his), and drink wine, and then have ***. But surely we can have one or two of Miro or Picasso? She looked at his open necked  shirt, at his Adam's apple moving as he spoke. They won't well, she said, we were stuck with that Miro for nigh on a year last time, and then we sold it off in a sale, and that tall man bought it with the twirly moustache and thin wired glasses. Benedict sighed, he eyed her face, her eyes, the snub nose, the reddish cheeks, her mouth, the lips, recalling when he kissed them last. Just one Picasso to make my time here worthwhile, he said. She looked at him seriously. No, not after last time. He doesn't sell around here, she said. Benedict pulled a face of disappointment. Coffee then? Shall I make us some? She eyed the gallery which was empty. All right, but do not be too long, she said. He walked off to the little area at the back of the gallery where there was a sink and draining-board, cupboard, and a lavatory for either gender. He took out two mugs and spooned in instant coffee into each one and added sugar for himself but not hers as she didn't have sugar. The bell of the gallery jingled. A customer. He gazed around the wall and saw Abela was there approaching the man and woman like a gazelle in mating season. He waited until the kettle boiled then poured water into both mugs and added milk. He stirred his mug. There was small talk from the gallery. He sipped his coffee, then walked out to assist in the sale if there was going to be one. Abela was pointing out a watercolour by a local artist. Benedict  approached from a different angle and eyed the man and his wife(or partner or mistress) ah, Benedict, this gentleman and his wife are interested in a rural watercolour and I thought maybe you could take them upstairs and show them the other collection of rural scenes. Benedict nodded and said, of course, which particular scenery are you interested in? The man said, something of Sussex, the Downs or maybe near the coast. His wife said nothing, but followed them upstairs. Benedict showed them the few Sussex landscapes they had. Are these by a local artist? The man asked. Yes, she lives nearby and paints rural scenes, Benedict said, eyeing the woman, taking in her low cut dress, the ampleness pushing outward. A necklace was hanging there sparkling. I recognize this area, the man said, yes, takes me back. She has captured well, the colouring, the smoothness. His wife gazed at Benedict and smiled. He smiled back, then said to her husband, yes, she does, nicely done, I think, he said, but didn’t like it himself, thought it boring as a wet Sunday. What do you think, Nessa? He asked his wife. It's lovely, she said, letting her eyes flow over the print, then back to Benedict, her smile still in place. Is that the price? The man said. Yes, £175, although I'm sure, my assistant will allow a small reduction, Benedict said, glad to be rid of the print. Well, that's good, we'll take it, the man said. Benedict took down the print finely framed and went downstairs with them and said to Abela. The gentleman will buy, I suggest a 15% discount. Abela looked at him. All right, she said, her voice cool, steady, and she watched as the man wrote out a cheque and Benedict wrapped up the framed print and tied with string. The woman eyed him. He returned her gaze. He wondered what she was like to wake up to, to see her beside you in bed, her low cut nightie welcoming. Abela rang up the sale and the man and his wife walked out the gallery. 15% discount? Why? Abela said. Get rid of the boring thing, he said. But it cuts our profit, she said. No sale, no profit, he said. It's been upstairs for nearly a year now and no ******'s even looked at it until today. Abela sulked and went and got her coffee and he followed her. They stood in the area sipping. I'd like a Rothko, he said, a big print along one of the walls. It wouldn't sell around here, she said, sulkily. He studied her lips. He liked it when they pouted. It made them look sexier than usual. He recalled the longest kiss. Had to break for air, his lips sore, almost numb. She walked back into the gallery. He watched her go, her swaying hips, her neat ***. Just one Pollack, he said, Jackson Pollack. She said nothing. He sipped his coffee and lit up a cigarette and took a long drag. It was going to be a long haul of a day. One sale, so far. Mondays were a drag. Few came on Mondays. Saturdays were best, that was when they sold well. Five Rossetti’s last week, and a Monet and that local artist's Surrey scene. He exhaled smoke. The bell jingled another customer, another sale, maybe. He recalled the night before: she and he at it as if on a wild wet sea.
A MAN AND WOMAN IN ART SHOP IN 1972.
Chew the water, and don't breathe the air
You weave Apocalypse in your loom
You paint Armageddon on your easel
Black watercolour
Made from human ash
Bombing in the microwave
The embers will die, and the winds will cease
Like the fingernails of a corpse
Trudge into malevolent oblivion
Convinced by the impotent fallacy of happiness;
Generation Nuclear Apathy
Generation Destiny Liquidation
...And the minute counter ticks away...
Tick
Tock
Tick
Tock

Eliot was wrong
This is how the world ends
This is how the world ends
This is how the world ends
Not with a whimper
But a bang.
The Crimea-situation and military mobilization has the doomsday clock ticking down to World War III, and a slight tingling fear creeps up my spine.
cheryl love Jul 2015
We all live in a world
Where fairy tales could come true.
Rivers that flow like caramel
Watercolour skies painted blue.
Strawberries hang from peacocks tails
Sea green, berries and ducks in teams
Sailing with cigars in their beaks
on crispy clouds and coconut dreams.
Eleanor Rigby Dec 2016
What has life made of me?
Where has life taken me?

This body has never been mine, nor will this mind ever be.

There is a terrific sadness in every time
I look in the mirror and pretend to smile.

Dear Adam,
I have missed the spring and I am coming to you soon
The eyes that flicker, the stories behind the eyelids
The heart that ***** in the air
Like a flightless bird that dreams to fly.
Make sure you open up those heavy arms of yours
Make of my thin body your prisoner
Forever
See me for the second time,
Look at me as if it was the first time.

Adam, the ground has never been mine to walk upon
This Earth is selfish, she wants us all
But I am weary, just like you.
Everywhere I look, I find wrinkles
Old objects full of dust
Young people full of lust
Golden hearts full of rust.

Adam, I have been reeking of desolation
Since the day I died
Right there on grass that has never been greener
Under a sun that has never shone brighter
Since I died
Of longing
I have been reeking of desperation
If it wasn't for the books you left me,
If it wasn't for this letter today
If it wasn't for the hope of finding you again
I would have long turned into a portrait
Copied off of a portrait of a portrait
Of a portrait someone painted off the back of their mind
Intelligible and faint.

Adam, the lines on my palms are fading
Drip by drip
The water in me is adding up
And drowning what life has left of me
Poor little soul, good for nothing but the sadness

Adam, I wish I was sad like you
But I am not sad
I am bored,
Like a writer that never learned to write
A painter without paints
A mermaid on land
I am bored like the zoo.

I am coming to you soon.
But I know you're not there.

Goodbye summer and everything that's as clear
I will miss you my dear.


-- Watercolour
cheryl love May 2014
Choosing a colour, a pigment for the sky
to define clouds as they float on by.
s quite a tricky task, I tell you
But then as usual I go for trusty blue.

Which blue, there are so many
Do I go for ultramarine or the colbalt
Is my sky in a summer's season or what?
Either way if it is wrong it'll be my fault.

But there again it is in my little world
The painting is coming from my own head
I resort to to my usual way of painting a sky
A nice colbalt blue with a touch of red.
It is implied imagination lives in memory,
for I have lived immortal in his memory!

Dying sunlight painted translucent gold varnish
over tree branches, and leaves wept in cinder
as sunlight pierced their flesh  
Sentient, solemn willows swayed in wind prayers,
Deep into her mind forest pagan temples rang
as though treasures hailed immortal proclamations
upon night
  
The fine chiffon billowed, a mere lambrequin
caressing her milky thighs ── the window ajar.  
Blue and white flowers in knots strewn along vines,
appeared violated, twisted valentine creatures,
lost in belief on Lupercalia dreams, blaring
into the impending night, screaming hungry ──
blooms awaiting their opening to moon promises of
fertile love

The old clock past that sings in tick of dying time ── her
mind a bush of stinging nettles,
a reminder to pain and wet in flesh.
Once married to magical inducements to deaths promise,
Pleasures that once sang from his lips,
"The song of sunsets elixir”,
An unparalleled potency to release mortal time

‘Awake in Malarian dreaming immortal ── writhing
in fragrant silent purple hazes of love that vanishes.
She waited across violet poppies and crimson bride orchids
on mortal memories.  
“I can taste you” came from her full lips,
finely cracked with need,
In the parlour poised, dreaming ardent dreams

The moon glinted off the lake beyond,
invoking querulous images,
Swirling, roaming a prayer in black laughed,
escaping the dead air about him
A battalion of flowers hung in nights trees, opulent
reminiscent to Victorian chandeliers.
His aurelo radiated black from a jewelled crown,
mesmerized she gazed

── He blew quietus, a cold gust of emptiness & neglect,
the candles restless flickering ceased,  
his tines glinting by moon lights silver smile  
His breath bore a spice, and a mild coolness encircled her waist,
arms raised, a kiss he placed to each her wrists
Reverent, passionately he bit consuming, gorging in lust
Her mind danced in sparkled delight,    

Springs first ****** shoots sped across time and,
watercolour smears of emerald splashed
earth in communion, between life and death,
between death and life,  she took her last breath.  

She listened to his shatter, ‘into black shards
his ‘obsidian motion tore into night’
A black fire star stained across amaranthine skies,
touching, delicately bleeding into mortal dreams
in poets and writers
It is said, “Love bites but once in true love”

──Unto death shall we once again meet
immortal “In just one piece, poetry we bite”.





©ASPAR S2018(A Sol Poet Arnay Rumens)

— The End —