Poems by Ion Corcos have been published in Cordite, Meanjin, Australian Poetry Journal, The High Window, and other journals. Ion is a nature lover and a supporter of animal rights. He is currently travelling with his partner, Lisa. He is the author of A Spoon of Honey (Flutter Press, 2018).
In this Town
Mat at the door, glass lamp on a wooden table,
and a painting of flowers. The slim mirror on the wall
is stubborn, and the street is quiet: the deceit.
In Chagall’s Over the Town there is no betrayal.
At the train platform in Woodley, two swifts,
a stone bridge, and the railway tracks to Hyde.
A few trees, steam drift from a red building.
We are the only passengers in our carriage.
In the kitchen, where we are temporarily staying,
a window looks out to a small conservatory,
the garden, two rusted chairs,
and an uncomplicated hedgehog burrow.
We clean doorknobs, food packets, the tabletop.
The orange preserve is a stumbling translation;
nothing will ever, ever, ever be the same again.
All Chagall painted was love, nothing more;
it was not a symbol of insistence.
The tulips are about to bloom, all passing,
and there are small buds in some of the trees.
A bee frets at the window; it cannot enter.
We stay in our own perimeter, incarcerated;
some do not have a home to go back to.
To watch for wild dogs in a pine forest,
to be desolate: never having seen Chagall’s painting,
tasted a rambutan, or forgotten oneself for a time.
© Ion Corcos
An Astrological Munificence
I take the path in pieces, the rough side of a shell,
resolute sun as obstacle.
You show us the way: derelict houses
on the other side of barbwire fences and overgrown mailboxes,
the slow creep of moors.
On the hills, grass and cows, sheep,
a rutted road, and gates. Signs warning not to stray
At your home, cupboards of old tins,
against a wall, a painting of a quiet Colombian river,
cases of photographs under our bed.
Our stay is longer than you thought;
it is all an irascible lingering, more than your murmur,
the short wall across your door.
The baneful sill in your lounge is covered in dust,
and every afternoon you are cranky.
You lay on your brown leather sofa,
curtains half-drawn; fall asleep.
No bees on lavender flowers, no white butterfly.
I creep into the kitchen, start on dinner;
then we will talk, even laugh,
as I serve another plate of potatoes and carrots,
alongside a ready-made vegetable pastry.
Maybe if the light didn’t lie spent on the flagstones,
or if we gave you a specific date earlier,
we could have even aligned our stay with the moon
and an astrological chart,
then the last word would have been otherwise.
Instead, the ‘ifs’ were not quite.
Still, you waited with us on the train platform,
waved us off; and after six weeks,
sent a message that the last of the flowers we gave you
were just hanging on.
© Ion Corcos
after David Cox’s A Windy Day
You walk along yellow grass,
the sea in the distance; the sky is white,
like the neck of your dog.
The stick you hold is old, as is the cape
around your back.
Two trees on a windy day, bent;
on the beach, a long boat.
You have heard of Crimea,
that it is cold like your home.
You pace against the wind,
a shovel in hard earth;
what you have made of your life is here,
and in the few books
on shelves in your study. No one knows
you have travelled to Rome,
seen the Parthenon, the Black Sea.
You have a limp, your bones brittle.
The damp bites.
When the clouds pass,
maybe you will sit long enough
and a man will come up to you and talk;
you will tell him about your books,
about your red dress,
that you are from Ukraine,
not Russia, that you know your way around
the fenlands of England.
© Ion Corcos
Portrait of a Man
In the morning I put oats in a pot,
add flax and chia seeds, then enough water
to soak. I have a kitchen;
it is not imaginary. I recollect
the wind last night, the crash of lake water
on the shore, the gust on the window.
Metal like the grip of cleats
I turn the hotplate on, heat the oats
till the water boils.
I have a table to eat at.
Jackdaws fly over bare trees in flocks.
The wind dries my clothes.
I wash the dishes,
sit on a chair on the balcony.
The afternoon disappears.
A dictionary is not a roof,
or a coot hidden in the reeds of the lake.
A gardener uses a trimmer to mow;
a portrait of a man,
alone. I do not notice the sun
only orange clouds, and leaves, dead,
strewn on the path.
© Ion Corcos