Poems by Gerard Rochford
Paintings by Martin Askem
TWO EMOTIONAL WORKS
I feel like a donkey in a field,
hanging loose and braying for a mate.
It must be the spring flowers,
a certain whiff of perfume in the air
I’m breathing in; stimulus for searching
that tingles on my tongue,
spreading all those messages around.
But you’re away and not in touch,
out of sight yet filling up my mind.
You’re sleeping on a boat; I’m all at sea,
with thoughts of entering harbour
from the swell. You unaware, me flagging
adolescent semaphore; the signal
for: I want you, rising into space.
When you lie down for me
on a bed of leaves,
your arms holding me in
and no words said,
the world is bound
by the marks traced on your body,
and by the sounds you make.
When you lie down for me.
I ring you like a bird then set you free.
The sky may bring you back to land again.
I am a watcher of winds and weather;
a reader of seasons, signs of tameness.
My arms reach out like branches.
There is a garden with no traps;
a cage even, its doors left open.
There is the uncertainty of homing.
What My Father Taught Me about Love
I knew but never heard you say the word,
although you may have whispered it in the night.
So was it the day you looked up from your digging
and nodded at me? Did those arms I saw at work
once hold me, did those blue eyes look down?
There are no photos.
Or was it the day I came with my wife and children
and when we left I thought you were nearly in tears.
It seems you taught me love without the words
and with my sons I took my father’s path,
followed them with my eyes, silently, almost in tears.
When you’re alone with that sweet wood,
the strings silent, bow taut, the heart hesitant;
go into the forest and listen.
Moonlight is best; you know the music of days.
You may hear owls calling. Foxes too,
barking for a mate, and the leaves trembling
at the wind’s touch. Over your feet, naked if you dare,
you will feel insects, busy with their mysterious lives,
sensing your heat, exploring, tasting you.
Now write your song, the song of a myriad joys
the world bestows on those who risk themselves
in the darkness and have a gift for celebrating love.
Then offer yourself to your lover: like the owls,
the foxes, the insects, the wind upon the leaves.
Ram Gopal in a Norbury Nursing Home
The 1950’s. Ann and I are in love
and we’re both in love with you.
Your hands were illustrious birds,
fledglings learning to fly, then soaring free
yet still upon the branches of your arms.
How can a man dance like a god,
be buried from our lives, then leave his sepulchre
to resurrect on Youtube dressed in white;
ancient, frail, voice fainter than the past.
He signs a photo for his two young guests
and, with a gracious gesture of the hand,
he bids them both to sign for him.
**‘Teddy bear in the garden of Eden’ by Martin Askem is a piece that is part of a new body of work depicting art through the eyes of a child. www.martinaskem.com