King of Paroles and Histoires by Sarah James

After Geoffrey Hill’s Mercian Hymns




Knight of black and white, righter of cherry trees, slow leaver of coffee cups, waiter on none but the big screen before big got to imax it, before Besson, Béart or that infamous man with the big nose. Zoom to seen in colour, then on to words lifted from a printed page. Sovereign of oranges and zest, of dresses on the floor and song birds in barred cages. Forecaster of war and all the rain in Brest. Reeler of the real, crowned in cigarette haloes – smoke that curls like the River Seine, like the discarded peel in Alicante, as vin rouge on the tongue, la belle langue in the throat, my future loves whirring through his hand – some decades before I know them – and the off-cuts purring at his feet, spooling unscripted.


‘A fine piece of rhythmic cinema!” insisted Prévert. “Let’s roll it again. This time without pausing for Hello, or the inner poet, with a gap at the end for night noises, the sound of wet and good weather, and space in the sound-track for the applause of autumn leaves.”




Lullaby brother. Saintly scallops for cheesy ears. Master of rien, though plugged into pop culture, springing from the box (and page), changing the wheel on vehicles for expression …


…before early meadow eco-warriors and modern English dis-arrangements in the way we watch our infants, and strangers, with suspicion. Accented per se near or towards, or before a French glass.




Watching, reading, he merges with his characters          separates from his silhouette

then vanishes from the wide screen, as steam from a breakfast espresso

or words wiped from a misted surface.


The worlds he left behind            swirled like vin rouge in a glass, vowels in the mouth, film on a spool…
…………..lifted from any lifetime of kitchen tables, a cup,
……………………………………………… the cup, a small spoon stirring.




cherry trees:






autumn leaves:


stirring: ]


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