The Montreal Review, October 2010
Seven Acts of Mercy
First he would salvage the old photographs
The half lit Edwardian drawing room
Glimpse of another dimension
Faces gaze furtively wary of change.
The Shibboleth of all desires, here
Distilled in letters, old documents
Residuals and marginalia
The shards of benign fragmentation.
He will protect the tiny girl that died
With her daughter, haemorrhaged after birth
And the soldier on the Somme, alluding
To the consequences of indiscretions.
He will keep the prayer books from the library
Boxes full of tissued medals, trophies
Won on distant sun kissed playing fields
Evocative of languid, post war ease.
And this long lost, blurred, half focused world
The loose plasticity of flowing time
He will store in a corner of his mind
The heart beats, the tear stained miseries.
Mozart's Requiem-Domme Salzburg
The audience seem lost, hushed
Faces closed by silent payer
Or entranced in fixed thought
Private litany, images
Distilled fragments of beauty
Dark fractals of decanted grief
The moment when you could have said
"I love you. Please stay with me."
We each have our own requiems
The still born dreams of distant days
Tonight, cleaved from our own souls
Our heaving hearts, the rising swell
Of choral voices, we will fight
To keep the tiny flame alive.
in the old hermit's cave, beside the lake
at Bretton, waiting for the rain to pass
they gazed in silence, spoke in whispers.
a softening veil of misted light
soul clouds ripe with fractious energies
an elusive, purple black montage.
Years later he would remember
the persistence of her perfume
her clarity and charisma
a flash of lightening on coal black eyes
drenched with joy for days
he had dared to dream of paradise.
And now a soft rain falls
Over the Tiergarten
The new glass palaces
Shimmer in weak sunshine.
My father came here too
Sat and gazed in awe
At the faceless children
Stumbling through the ruins.
We sit and share our wine
Between smiling faces
Light blossoming laughter
Ekes out the afternoon
Calmly we wait on dreams.
Now we think only how
The evening twilight falls
Too soon, gaze at the moon
Knowing no human fears
Or souls can graze the stars.
Tonight it seems absurd
To speak of war, or grief
Your ghosts are nebulous
Your wine as warm as blood.
Sunday morning, and you dawn
After too much Chianti you wake up late
To a crush of vibrant birdsong
In a violent light of city daybreak.
The languid bourgeoisie are still loafing
Smugly over orange juice and 'Daily Mails'
Your eyes sting, face smeared with mascara
The face in the mirror blotched and pale.
A flood of images; Saturday night
Your thoughts drop like pebbles into water
Each with a splash of avowed escape
The ravenous dreams of an only daughter.
The iPod opens a drowsy subtext
Of other lives and Sunday stirrings
Sweet bathos of the loved and lost
You doss around for hours, long past caring.
If I could show your future now I would
The claustrophobic web of vague deceits
And the little spurts of assertiveness
Before your sullen, brooding late retreats.
I would find a city to fit your soul
Then pack your bags and check the times
I would book your wing and say a prayer
And find you space to say your last goodbyes.
Platform 8 for Camden or Bloomsbury?
With your books, your secret looks and violin
All packed and ready for a long sojourn
To save your dreams; but how could I begin?
Jon Stocks is a UK based poet. His recent poetry has appeared in a wide variety of magazines in the United Kingdom including magazines featured in the 'Ink-Writers Guild' as being in the top ten most innovative and inspirational magazines in the UK, magazines include: Candelabrum, The Coffee House magazine, The Journal, the Dawntreader, Coffee House, Pennine Platform, Littoral, Other Poetry, Manifold, Poetry Monthly, Harlequin, Tadeeb International, Taj Mahal Review, Avacado, Involution and Interlude. Jon Stocks has twice been nominated for the Pushcart prize and he has work held under copy write at the English national poetry library.
llustration: Stuart Luke Gatherer "Putney Bridge II" (Oil on Canvas, 2007).
"Gatherer is doing what gifted artists have always done. He does not imitate the past; he searches the past for ways of expressing his own sense of the present. It is as valid to compare his work with videos by Sam Taylor-Wood, often showing young urban professionals of the same sort, as it is to compare it to that of the great painters of the past whom he evokes in some of his compositions. We need both points of reference to understand what he is trying to achieve. Neither comparison detracts from the impressive nature of his achievement." --
Edward Lucie Smith, Art Historian and Critic
Gatherer's works can be purchased at Albemarle Gallery, 49 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4JR
Gatherer's website: www.stuartlukegatherer.com