9th October 2017
I took these photographs of a friend‘s windowsill about fifteen years ago. I found them last week having forgotten I‘d taken them. For years I‘d been trying to preserve my deteriorating memory of its splendour in a lyric. Now I can see that there is only one plate and no cups and saucers, that fish have left the river, that the set is more pattern than picture and that it was carefully placed to avoid symmetry. That it‘s not a set.
She leaned the plates against the parlour sky,
maker‘s marks to the far off no-mark street,
and in the middle of the sill she set
that shapely pot to show its silhouette.
Blue folk from blue houses
gaze from their blue bridges
at blue folk in blue boats
on blue streams.
Blue birds in pairs rise above blue trees
into the white sky.
On both this side and that of the pot she placed
two tiny cups on tiny saucers. The pout
of the milk jug finished off one end of the row.
At the other she placed the sugar bowl.
The sunshine through the short-sighted window shows
how all about that Chinese village, flocks
of spiders have knitted a year long Christmas mist
thick with silver dust, as thick as candy floss.