Poem: Beach in Lebanon— A Man, A Woman—

in Featured/Poetry/Stories and Poetry


Beach in Lebanon— A Man, A Woman—

not in chiaroscuro but an inverse method
never dreamed of by Caravaggio— her shadow
all breeze and blown niqab and her head
like a plum stone in the shifting whisper’s shade.

Boats that haven’t been rowed for days curl up and belly
in a piece of sea that must be blue though’s grey
and the tiny villas on the hills seem to say: Where are we?
Byblos, maybe, by the building shapes and qualities of light.

Her eye line on the lens and his eye line on her underwear.
Her shadow makes his body dark; he holds her geometric dress
at the end of one kinked arm— bent at the wrist as David’s is.
The patch is cool and overhung— by trees upon a promontory.

The scurvy piles of stone must still be there, and the cutouts
of other men and women who were there then all promise us:
One day we’ll tell you what our stories were; what we did
that afternoon of warm dust between harbour deck and feet

naked as legs, stomachs, chests in the swimming sun;
and who we went with and their names. We’ll tell you
what was done as soon as the camera turns to capture us
in an act that has become a notion.

B.T. Joy is a British poet and short fiction writer living in Glasgow. His poetry and short fiction has appeared in magazines, journals, anthologies and podcasts worldwide including poetry in Yuan Yang, The Meadow, Toasted Cheese, Numinous: Spiritual Poetry, Presence, Paper Wasp, Bottle Rockets, Mu, Frogpond and The Newtowner, among many others. His 2015 collection Teaching Neruda explores the most poignant messages of poets as diverse as Pablo Neruda and William Carlos Williams, Philip Levine, Izumi Shikibu and Wang Wei, together with visual artists, musicians and spiritual figures from an array of ages and persuasions. His 2016 collection Body of Poetry deals similarly with literary allusion and the work and life stories of writers as diverse as Catullus, Horace, Frank O'Hara, Auden and Jane Hirshfield are discussed and revisited throughout the volume. Both collections are available on Amazon.

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