young woman views Chagall

at Blue Lovers, she is appalled
in a bright room, that storm colour
bruises her cotton suit
the shade of sloe 

pictured: a face of static
lips nibbed, eyes closed                       
it is not, in fact, paint’s pressure
filling, but the nimbus
in her own chest
a wilderness, made numb                    
                                                               it is I

centre right: a muted harlequin
with stiffened ruff, the mask
a blot of dusk
                                                               whom you clothed

the young woman touches her cheek
mimicking the gloved mime
who cups that of a widow 

her mother’s fascinator is neat
leaves, nature hemmed
indelible as hedgerow
                                                                so I cannot speak

as though, in blackthorn
a spider wove her sack
to an iron pin
the young
never found the world
                                                                 these are my gauzed hands

the room bright, her suit
hoards shadows
tissue in a blue well

by Gram Joel Davies

‘young woman views Chagall’ is copyright © Gram Joel Davies, 2017. It is reprinted from Bolt Down This Earth  (V. Press, 2017) by permission of V. Press.

You can view Chagall’s 1914 painting Blue Lovers, from which this poem draws inspiration, here.

Notes from V. Press:

Gram Joel Davies grew up in Somerset in the ’80s, overlooking the valley town of Taunton, the Quantock Hills and the edge of Sedgemoor. His writing has appeared in magazines such as MagmaThe MothEnvoi and Lighthouse, and has received listings and commendations from Penelope Shuttle, Peter Oswald, Liz Berry and Carol Ann Duffy. In 2014, he and Hannah Linden won the Cheltenham Poetry Festival Compound collaboration competition. Working with Juncture 25 poets, he attends readings and festivals across the Southwest. Bolt Down This Earth (V. Press) is his first collection. You can read more about it on the V. Press website, and more about Gram’s work on his website. He is also on Twitter

V. Press publishes poetry and flash fiction that is very very, with emphasis on quality over any particular style. Established with a launch at Ledbury Poetry Festival 2013 and shortlisted in The Michael Marks Publishers’ Award 2017, V. Press poetry knows what it wants to do and does it well. Find out more on the press’s website.

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