There’s a meme doing the rounds on Twitter currently (not that I spend my whole life on social media, you understand) about which famous painting best represents your soul. I went for Van Gogh’s Starry Night but a huge thanks to Annabel Gaskell for choosing Nighthawks by Edward Hopper, which reminded me how much I love his depictions of urban loneliness and angst. My favourite of his paintings is Chop Suey, so much so that I wrote a little poem about it. It’s been far too long since I shared any of my poetry, so here it is, thanks to Annabel!
To warm your fingers on the teapot
till the bruise-blue tinge subsides.
To allow the pallor of the windowblind
mimic the green in your dress.
To know that vegetable wontons will never be as filling as duck
but all you can afford.
To keep the hat on and feel the flash of neon lights
mock the expensive lipstick he gave you for your birthday.
To wait for the office gossip to die down.
To wait for him to leave his wife.
To wait for the order that never seems to come
for single women on the second floor of that small lunch place
For dVerse Poets we are writing a haibun based on a lesser-known painting by Van Gogh. For more information about this poetic form, please visit dVerse Poets Pub, where you will meet many talented poets of all ages, experience and taste. As for the title of the poem: ‘postliminary’ is the opposite of ‘preliminary’ – something that occurs after the fact.
Post-holidays, post-weekend, the party’s over, the curtains drawn.
Sweep floors, fold laundry, sigh over undone homework and chores. The clatter clutter glitter mutter of video games on a loop and on sufferance. I don’t want to be the mother that forbids. I don’t want to be parent with the unpopular principles, old-fashioned moans, the terror reign of rules.
I dream of a walk in autumnal country fields, swish-detour through the leaves. I dream of a time when you sought my company, when ‘Mama’ was spoken without reproach. Our laughter mingling, our hands meeting, grubby faces to be kissed. Tell me of your hopes, your fears, the mere dull niggle of the everyday. Debate a book, a film or life, open up your eyes and mind to breathe in all, to question but love. In front, the distant hum of the village, fattened to post-prandial languor. To the right the church tower is but a squiggle, the bell tone playful not grave. Ahead of us a horizon I want limitless and full of sunrays for you.
Like the fields we stretch
away to gold and gray. Look –
how near how far the change!