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The Road up the Hill

after the painting by Chaim Soutine

Perilous on the edge of the cracking
mountain where the gales nail it down to its
shaky view of indigo hills, hammered
and pinioned to its vertiginous cliff,
stands old Silas’ house, leaning its cheek
to the twisted road where a tree grabs hold,
its talons stabbing the impassive rock.

Eight decades on the bare branch of his
wind-whipped perch, not caring for company,
his own cheek never rasping a woman’s
placid skin, he toiled in the orchard of
his grandparents’ optimism and hope,
planted on the hills a forest of pines and oaks,
children raised with the pains of calloused hands.

Who in the pop-up world would see or care
for his solitary midwifery
of the earth’s gaunt indulgence,
except for an image of his wordless,
rustic table, hard chair and romantic
woodstove, crafted by slanting sunlight,
that loaf of warm brown bread blooming
in the pregnancy of silence
before the eyrie’s eventual fall
into the insatiable abyss
of precipitous time?

© David Urwin 2015

Prompted by a workshop on ekphrastic poetry led by Ros Watson, using art postcards as prompts.

David Urwin has had haiku published in Blithe Spirit, the journal of the British Haiku Society, and ‘protest’ poetry published on the webzines, I Am Not a Silent Poet and Poetry24, and in other poetry magazines. He blogs some of his work on He is MC for the Cellar Bards, a monthly spoken word event in Cardigan, west Wales