A window by Alex Williamson


Now I am not I,

Nor is my house now my house

‘Romance Sonambulo’, Garcia Lorca


He was sitting at a window

Watching the day resolve itself

From the night’s black screen

To the muted green of dawn,


The morning greeting him

With an unruly garden

Which had not yet yielded

To autumn’s chill air.


Night's rain had fallen heavily,

Silvering the unkempt lawn.

Tussocked grass, clawed at

By roiling coils of bramble,


Gnawed by clumps of moss,

While apologetic poppies

Shook their sorry bonnets

Amid the raw jags of nettle.


He was looking at an apple tree

Planted by some unknown other.

Branches chafing in the wind.

Rueful fronds. Last leaves left.


A few sad apples

Clinging on, inelegant baubles

Pecked by crows, springing skywards

As the birds took flight,


Carcasses littering the lawn

Like carrion. He was listening

To the house coming back to life,

Soft noises in its deep recesses,


Bringing new colour

To the cold light of day,

As he praised his good fortune,

Found gratitude in small mercies.


He was sitting at a window

In the house he owned,

No more his than the sun

Prising apart the clouds,


Casting the table in white light

In this house he had restored,

Saved from ruin, and made

The view he now beheld


Momentarily endure.

Portrait of my grandparents by Alex Williamson


Impeccably dressed in Sunday best,

They’re quite the pair: him tall and goofy,

A string-bean Swede, her short and svelte,

With farm-girl glamour. Back from chapel

Or off somewhere flash, each wear

The dreamy gaze of the young


And in love. Sun-soaked drives

Down Cheshire’s blossoming lanes:  

Car blazed to a sun-streaked blur -

Past milking fields, trees shedding

A confetti cascade. A spring

Uncoiling into endless summer.


Or perhaps no further than this garden.

The evergreen place this portrait depicts,

As something vague slowly resolved

Into something indelibly real:

Like an old forgotten photograph,

The lives they'd pictured differently.


All that a camera cannot disclose:

Sun essaying its lustre from the clouds

While they held their smiling pose,

Footprints left in the deep grass

As they walked toward the house

In cahoots, holding the other close.