Mistress at Arms



For years she had been a pastime for him,
Arousing sin mechanically,
By the feel of her hair, the touch of her skin:
Yet he scarcely recalled her middle name.
Perhaps it was a male thing, the cold fire
That turned emotions into lies, deceiving
Long enough that, in the meeting of their eyes
The future was pre-signified, foretold
As he’d prophesised: hadn’t she agreed?
We will always be this way, always sort-of today
Echoed simulacra, sating desires
Until just now: she’d embraced him, breathing dreams,
Transcending time: weaker men would cry.
He checked. She’d ten seconds, till he’d fly.





Wings of Love

I’m released from the air into Jane’s arms,
Her infidel lover from the skies.
But a twisted desire boils in my blood,
It knows that I crave more than her charms,
I want to see her sad tears, eyes in flood,
And hear, once again, her wish, “This time, please stay.”
As before, I’ll refuse, taking my thrill
From this denial and thoughts of our adieu.
More joy’s in knowing this is no vaudeville,
Her pleadings to me arise from real love:
Her love - that I choreograph to seem true -
While fetish sculpts pleasure out of my lies.
You think that’s bad? Though just arrived, I can’t wait
For her parting sobs on the way to the gate.




The pictures are by the artist Paul Harding and the poems by myself, David Riley. We're both from the Fylde coast in Lancashire, England. We are both interested in collaborating across different art forms, in this case poetry and painting. We have also worked with narrative painting combined with the short story form and hope to continue this variety of work in the future with, also, the possibility of working in other art forms.

We are interested in the story-telling properties of paintings and their titles and in these works we try and draw out the diversity of approaches that are available to the viewer when interpreting a picture. Some of the questions we periodically ask are, for example, how are the ideas in the viewer's mind formed - by the image, the title, both, memories and feelings? What is seen by a viewer who then reads another interpretation and looks again - is it something new? I'm sure you can think of a lot more.



Another poem by David Riley

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