Sunday, June 03, 2007

from The Poetry Challenge


Sorry it has been so long since my last post - 3 weeks I think.

Jeff and I have had a short break posting poems to each other. But now we are back to it. I'm hoping now that most of the teaching is finished to spend more time working on the poems and the challenge. They have been neglected since February. So maybe you will begin to read poems with a broader vision and better worked.

The poem below is part of a series of poems based on paintings I have stumbled across. Other poems include Hopper's Night Hawkes and Van Gogh's Night Cafe. These poems have been posted to this site.

Hope you enjoy the poem.

Love David


from L’ absinthe by Degas

She sits slumped
Like an old paper bag
That the wind had blown in
Crumpled and wrinkled.

She wears defeat
In her stained faded white bodice.

She has retreated here.
To this bench
With this man,
Beside this cold marble table.

Behind her - the white washed walls
Where pale shabby curtains fall
Against the dead white light of the sun.

There is surrender
In every part of her appearance.
There, in her dull watery eyes
That cannot focus.

There, in the tired cotton frills
That hangs slack around her neck,
Yellow ribbons cling like wilted flowers.

There, in her shoulders and arms
That drop limp and loose.
They carry the heavy failures of her life
That she dissolves
Into the glass that rests beside her.

Her head tilts against the cold
And painful morning light

And he is all in brown.
Crushes her in that hard
Battened down indifferent look –
Seared by the pain of a thousand failures.

© David Loffman

03 June 2007

1 comment:

ed said...


I read your collection 'Slaying a Dragon' in one rapt sitting, as a narrative. It's stunning. I did enjoy the acute observations of (particularly)'For IJ', and 'Brian in the Walking School', but it is the central voice which carries the collection, as he grapples with (never avoiding) the pain. Strangely, he seems to rise in strength as the reader feels the cruel force of the illness most severely. This is very moving, especially in the details, as he looks out over Tooting, or adjusts to the new height of his children. Congratulations, David.

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