Poetry from pictures

Here are a couple of poems inspired by Magritte.

Au seuil de la liberté – René Magritte

I can feel this here

The threshold of freedom

Through boxes and panels

And time


I must have seen this picture

Thirty years ago, in a Rotterdam museum

And been so far beyond it then

The rooms of images were waiting for me

To open doors

Blast open walls

And find that woman of the forest

Those climbing clouds

And views on to streets of cities I did not know

I do not know them yet, still

They are there and I

Can hear them calling

Through the cut out walls of folded paper and steel

Footholds to fire

And a floor become a wall

About to buckle and break


For here I am now

On the threshold to freedom

And this time, I recognise it

And I walk towards it


Op de drempel van de Vrijheid


On the Threshold of Freedom, Part II

Sex and science

Are separated by these boundaries

A floor turned into a wall

And fire is burning like a life still full of living

At the edges of this future climbing

Bubbles rising in their un-

Predictable patterns


I could not know which path they would take

But there is freedom in this structure

The lines to keep the compartments clean

The sky is calm and touchable

Not above, just beyond

A street around the corner from these


With their almost closed curtains

And all those who may be looking out at us

From within


I will close the inside door for a while

And walk out into the forest

Dark and striped with seasons

And rather than an invisible ceiling

There is no ceiling at all –

Only air above

And a floor to spring from


When all these walls are blasted

And we stand, our naked selves,

Stripped of the scaffold

Of this old room

Here – on the threshold of freedom


This one was inspired by Dali.

Dalί – Landscape with a girl skipping rope

The paint catches light

It looks wet, above this vast desert

And strange shadows skip across the lines of perspective

In a silent song –


The bells from the church are rusted

And cannot ring for the bones to dance to


We carry these ghosts with us across the landscape

Life made heavy with death


But there is time to let one’s hair blow free

And walk in white dresses

Over sand


I could not tell the colour

It changed as I stepped away from it


There, the buildings and what remains

Of mountains left to climb


Clouds are gathering and dispersing –

A skyfield ploughed with a million words

Spoken and not –

A collection of emotions rising in the hear

Evaporating to leave

This parched silence


But what is dry looks wet

And what is wet is gone

The dancing girl