Photograph: ©John Stadnicki, ‘Corpus I’ – MMXVII
(for Katie McCue)
The soldier, asleep by his polished sword,
was somehow surprised.
Such a big storm!
The colours, all of them, disappeared.
The city collapsed in a big crevasse.
When she cried,
The roads, the windows had to be shut
when she needed silence.
The words had to be wrapped in silvery knots
they became people.
The stories stopped being written,
the earth stopped,
the war stopped.
And simply because she had
a fear of butterflies.
The butterflies were not scared of her.
Photograph: ©John Stadnicki, ‘Corpus II’ – MMXVII
I live in a round house across the road
and every day I wave the invisible white flag
just to distract you from writing so many letters.
Other times, all I do is stare at your reflected image,
bent over the desk,
thinking whether your back is broken,
having to bear so many words.
You do not lift your eyes up,
never see anything but yourself.
The only time you stand up and walk to the door
is to refill the glass with sand.
You do not receive news from the outside world
you do not know we live in times of peace now.
©Maria Stadnicka 2017
Photograph: ©Andrew Keenan
For more information about Andrew Keenan’s work, check https://www.andrewkeenanphotography.com/
It was, after all, a beautiful day.
Your hands, resting on the white tablecloth,
the lost sheep in a perfect desert with no compass.
You passed me the tea, I took the newspaper and
arranged my dress in a neat knot on my lap,
smiled and looked the sun in the eye.
The fresh air suffocated us.
The summer, gone.
‘Too much beauty’ I thought to say before I slowly placed the cup in front of me,
‘too much of you’
but I kept a symmetrical distance between my toes and yours.
I stood up and went to the other side of the room
to watch you watching the sea.
On the floor, the breakfast crumbs.
Memory of my passing.
Photograph: @Maria Stadnicka, Lines’, Stroud
I always arrive late for everything.
Stuck in a traffic jam by the docks,
missed Noah’s boat but
survived under water
accidentally trapped between stolen books,
trapped by a word heavier than a stone,
lighter than a feather.
Hidden in the overcrowded wooden train carriage,
radicalised by the anonymity of my blue name-tag,
with a heart growing outside my body.
Each beat painfully visible to the guards
around the Monopoly table.
On the waiting list for ballet lessons,
radicalised by the price of uranium bullets on Mother’s Day
handwriting an apologetic note.
My deep eye silenced.
The familiar solemnity of a world without a face.
Photograph: @John Stadnicki, Bristol MMXVI
Poetry reading: Maria Stadnicka reading the poem City from the collection Imperfect published by Yew Tree Press, 2017. Poem published in International Times, January 2017.
Music: Katie McCue
Video footage: World War One Archive