George Wills writing and poetry has proved very popular with our readers and followers, so we are really pleased to share another wonderful poem. George says “it was triggered by my finding two 1930’s photo albums in a charity shop remnants box – to my mind a criminal situation, but I feel that rescuing them brought this as a reward.”
A pound, that’s all they cost, two pristine albums,
Each photo labelled in your square dead hand.
I opened them, the Books of your young Days,
Your ghosts flew out, liberated
Light-seeking moths, disturbed from a wardrobe,
Two hundred sepia windows onto your thirties world.
Scenes two-a-penny, torn from your lives,
Misted around me, freed from their covers.
Tinted time-machines call me to join you. I follow
Through cart-tracked, goat-herded Torremolinos,
Santa Clara, Alhambra, Loja, Granada,
Malaga, Tangiers, the Sierra Nevada,
Cordoba, Cartagena, and others unmarked.
What a life you led, you lead as I follow you,
As you Leica your way around the Peninsula.
I am a voyeur as you share shaded meals then, sitting
Beside you, as bulls bleed to the sand, I ask
Tasting the Med eighty years ago.
You took the ketch out, towards Algiers. I watch you,
Scanning, enlarging, Photo-shopping your life,
Your picture now better than you ever saw,
Crisper sails, sharper sheets, whiter water at bow.
I’m the fly on the wall as you smile and wave back at her.
I am the ghost in your world. I stand dry beside you
Watching you swim. I savour your wine, dine at your table,
See flowers where hotels rule now,
Long-dead goats where traffic is king.
And as each of you poses in turn I am there,
Watching the smiles form, haunting you, studying you.
She poses, head Vogue-turned, pleats arranged on the rocks,
Then turns to you, knowing, showing, the face of a lover.
The smiles you exchange tell of your closeness, speak
Of tumbling, crumpled, sheets, misspent nights well spent,
Grateful, in the heat, for half-open shutters, thankful for the breeze,
Loving by the Med eighty years ago.
I take pictures like yours, of the shadows of things, not
The substance, of ripples, reflections, the way a stair turns,
A lover, black cut-out against the clouds. Surprising
The natives, it shows in their faces that they are un-posed.
And one time in Loja a girl turned to me, knowing,
And showing a smile like yours, and we two
Were thankful for shutters, and grateful for breeze. Who
Will open my albums and let my ghosts free? I feel them,
The air stirs around me, they pass in their silence,
Far from the Med now.
©George Wills 2016