100 Poems


The Lovers
To Marc Chagall

Chagall could have painted it:
the gaping doors
of a church at an angle,
the black void inside,
the wedding feast laid out
in an empty dance hall,
the bride and groom
flying away
above the road.

It started in Berkhamsted
and finished in Dunstable.

We were looking for
a picture framer
for our photo,
Gower From Space.

The first place we went into
proved to be shocking.

I mean, I’m broadminded,
but I have never seen
such pornography
as that which the chap
in the Berkhamsted gallery
had propped up
against his wall.

“150 pounds,” he said.
stretching out our picture.

I asked if he knew
of someone else.

“There’s a place in Tring”,
he replied.

That shop was shut.

It was then that I noticed
a Congregational church,
its doors wide open.

Down from some high steps
a man was shouting
to another in a car
in the street below:
the couple had not arrived,
they had gone, perhaps,
to the wrong church.

I then saw
what looked like
an old music hall,
the ‘Victoria Rooms’,
on the other side
of the street.

A kind man seemed to be waiting,
looking up and down,
gazing at his watch.

“Come in,” he said
and have a look”.

We went upstairs
into an old-fashioned dance hall,
complete with stage,
where tables were laid out
for a wedding meal.

“They’ve gone to the wrong place,”
I said.

He sighed.

The third framer we tried
was in Dunstable High Street.

We parked outside Asda
and suddenly saw them
framed by our windscreen.

A middle-aged man
with a broad grin on his face
was sprinting towards
Births, Deaths and Marriages
dragging along, by the hand,
an embarrassed-looking woman,
plump and of uncertain years.

She was running inside
a stiif bridal dress,
her veil flapping in the wind,
a posy in her hand.

They were both

I didn’t think they would make it
as they dodged the traffic
streaming in and out
of the car park.

“I’m sure I saw them just now,
in Tring, in a wedding car,”
my wife Paddy reflected.

I don’t know, looking back,
it seems like a mystery.

From a book in progress.

Rosemary Grant: 2018
RG: I do indeed recognise all those places in Tring, Bob. What a flustered bride that incident would have produced! Most unconventional! Don’t recognize the porn framer but I need to look harder. Just write in your own way. Unto thine own self be true. The poem is observant, ironic, amusing. I like the framed image in the windscreen, being very visually aware.
Me: My imagination is photographic. Not sure you can say that!
RG: Agree! I see things from an artist’s point of view but also the sounds and rhythms of words are essential to me, when writing.
That is a fine and affectionate picture of the bridal pair: she running, almost flying, in her stiff unmoving dress, with her bouquet, and he grinning. You have caught the innocence and gaiety of a Chagall picture. There is that air of mad disorientation, too, and blissful lack of concern.

Robert Edward Gurney I get castigated for muddying the boundary between poetry and prose!!! It’s how I tell a story, breaking it up into short lines. I spent years, summers, telling Africa stories to a fair-sized audience of children, including my own, on holidays in Wales. More, more, they cried.

Annie Davison Lovely,made me smile

Robert Edward Gurney: Thank you, Annie, loyal reader!!

Tony De Sarzec You are worried about muddying the boundary? The sort of crap that stakes a claim to be poetry these days is unbelievable and barely rises above nursery rhyme. And the ‘poets’ who churn out this garbage need to go and study what poetry is. No Bob. You are a good writer and you have developed your own style of writing. Personally I really like it. Everyone’s a critic. To hell with them! For my part, I always find you a breath of fresh air. So carry on sergeant and stop worrying about what pedants say or think!