John Palmer poem: “Houses by Cézanne”
‘Houses by Cézanne’ By John Palmer of Heath
The road swings south of the dusty houses,
slopes past outcropped mules to the sculpted fruit
of orchards by the coast, to flowers whose essence
rides like gold-green oil in cruets, to the sea.
Nobody built these houses.
They came like geometry:
some air pumped with a blue, evening light, made
voluminous by the crunch of shadows.
is linear. What’s green is a possible life apart,
a breathless step down from the street to a flat
with cobalt bowls, long-stemmed tables, and lemons.
She drew his hand clenched around a lemon, signed
the sheet “DuToit.” Pressed fists against his eyes.
What’s white curves like the opening of a prayer.
Nobody’s waited for. The farmer in his wagon
said the hills had their “cloud-caps on.” His wife
saw houses wrapped in secrets.
Nobody lives here:
arc, parallel, bisected hill, tan points
beneath blue-metal sky.
Nearby, a hostel
built in a monastery kitchen sends its guests
to bed in ovens. Everyone dreams of fire and air.
Everyone dreams of tongues of fire.
who mocked as he worked grew arid and repeatable,
a row of black cleft-marks above the road.