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‘An Edge of the World’ with ‘Naranja Amarga’.

Two Poems.


A WAVE AND a wave upon wave, and a cloud.
That tranquil brilliancy of the ocean’s skin.
The bay fluoresces like a laminate dance floor
Darkened below by forests of kelp.

Above that, the tullimentan sky.
In cold frost, Venus pierces down
Out of darkening blue.
A tawn sphere casts light over waters
Between pedantic riding lights.

The beams address you directly
From the houses of light,
They loom, sweeping casting.

Cloud bases boil and foment.
Roosts, overfalls, infalls bend the sea.
Skies stream and flatten.
Out of a mist bank, a grey wolf resolves.

War ship, sea fear.

The wine dark, beer stained seas
And you, O dawn, lightly glancing o’er.
Darkness is just the day gone by, no fearful thing.

This morning, a fine dusting of red
Covers the car. Eyjafjallajökull
Clouds airspace above us all,
Volcanic lock-down.

Naranja Amarga


AN ORANGE SMOULDERS, enlightens the shade.
Olive mists the background tint.
Gloss and peach bloom,
Light’s graces
Upon Qing Kangxi porcelain.

Objects and light have matured.
More is seen in reflection.
Still there is enigma
Of fugitive pigment.

La ejecución es mas agil

Objects are less securely grounded,
Not at all clear that the bowl does rest
Upon surface. The porcelain jug
Is angled even demurely.
Bloom and translucence contend
For the surface of fruit.

There are shadows,
Mere thickening of medium.
Stone next the green, next a red plum.

The peach cleft line
The most decisive modelling,
All in a brume of marbled ambient medium.
No horizontal as such.

Bottom left, disparagingly near
The canvas edge, one fruit stone, planetary,
A peach has been eaten.

In the challenging orange,
Surface and space are well defined.
Darkens to the left, perhaps a corner.
A modest but full light sheds from the left,
Establishes the naranja,
The dark green stroke of leaf.
Lucent green, then translucent –
Beyond lucent – in the slightly less
Than half full, brusquely corked bottle.

Green physically contains complementary
Wine red. Does it directly subtract light
From the pear. Utterly responsive,
The ‘silver goblet’, slowly flaring
From base to out turned lip.

The table’s cloth drops into near complete
Nothing. Yet light clears space
Between green bottle and silver ‘copa’.

An unreadable blue streak vertical
Up the mean white jug,
Workaday. And then –
Tones of stillness,
Contained by the blue lined tobacco box.

How the heap of peaches builds,
The porcelain jug virtuoso
As no other element aspires.

Nothing seems more humane
Than this fruit, these vessels
Purged of emotion.

Nigel Wheale is the author of Raw Skies: New and Selected Poems (Shearsman 2005) and The Six Strides of Freyfaxi (Oystercatcher 2010). His academic texts include The Postmodern Arts (Routledge 1995) and Writing & Society: Literacy, Print and Politics in Britain 1590-1660 (Routledge 1999). An archive of his work for the Fortnightly may be found here.

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