Patrick Williamson







I travel the road of ashes


how light they are

flesh experiences

unfolding wings


tension in the small of the back


the gap between

launch and attain


absence invisibly split

made whole when pierced


man’s strength in that

core of words


tenderness stored

in those circles,


aim, draw, strike

you step back


rewind, melting

heart form








The valley’s soft smoke rising,

the flat-roofed houses

where men sleep as wind rips past rock

and stones, reaching into

the pungent warmth of alleyways,


now only a few old men laugh dryly

about the young’s need for clamour & the city

« they’ll be back again », they say

walking slowly, guarding their flocks,

faint tinkling figures on the slopes


how little do I know

as we stride, run, and climb

the rocky paths & visit the dark

of a church whose outstretched Christ

stands in a corner, the power of fear,

the bell tower, blood red.


On the pinnacle before the gorge,

stand in awe, laughing with the ease

of language, the gestures of spirit.


I am your sight and your silence,

& we are twelve seated, breaking bread

drinking wine, we are waiting

on each other, at table,

by the silver embers of fire.




The depths


The sea is a great mouth eating

our final helplessness,


shaken as in a snow globe,

a world in eye, in that moment


I become salt

and lie on the wounds of the earth


and it shivers with rage,


we have one thing left to solve

before we go


under the globe of light-shade


we never turned a corner

in our lives, never knew better


soundless, open-mouthed

fish that bury ourselves in sand.










Patrick Williamson, a British poet and translator, who lives in France. I also work with music and filmpoems (Afterwords, set to music by Mauro Coceano). My work is increasingly focused on Italy, where I have published two collections Beneficato(English-Italian, Samuele Editore, Pordenone, 2015), and Nel Santuario (Samuele Editore, 2013; Menzione Speciale della Giuria in the XV Concorso Guido Gozzano in 2014). Editor and translator of The Parley Tree, An Anthology of Poets from French-speaking Africa and the Arab World (Arc Publications, 2012). Recent and ongoing translations of poetry by Italian writers Guido Cupani and Erri de Luca.


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