Chris Nash

Chris Nash

Chris Nash is a teacher and wanderer currently living and working in Beijing where he is Head of an experimental independent school for Chinese students called Xinxuedao – the new study path. He has spent his years in China studying traditional and modern poetry and travelling in the footsteps of poets from China’s 5,000 year history. He previously lived in Italy and has followed the ways of the waves from Gibraltar to the Aegean seas. He is deeply inspired by Chinese and Mediterranean cultures of poetry as song and is looking for a poetry which transcends borders, a poetry of modern silk roads between east and west.

Cyclades Jazz

Pine fragrance evening, wine glass
   lapping of surf
                              on a harbour wall,
cyclopean splash of waters
                              with lemon light and crystal salt.

From side to side,
                                                                      an Astarte sway
                              on the hips and the thighs of hulls,
alcoholic desire of raw ideas rising,
                              horizon drifts of migrating tides.

Octopus tentacled lines of poetry
                                                                      limpet ways
                              up and over the shore,
drawing eyes down to the wine dark
                                        of her sea incessant eddies.

A Mediterranean of
                                                                      weaving waves,
songs entangled in the dreaming nets,
                                                                      weaving waves,
of the night fishers, leaving forever
                              on the bat wing of

Alcantara -The Bridge (القنطرة)

Love lingers under the lemon trees
where the fragrant light, her sicily
of skin-caressing sun, slyly
stirs us, into her sour compositions,
laughter’s radiance bright and sudden,
we glow in shadows of curiosity.

     The trees weep cold tears of war,
     Love’s poor root shudders to endure.

Twilight wanders to our empty table
whose ancient eyes well up in song
from lost borderlands of longing;
Sable bats swoop along song-lines
drawn out from the dusk of a violin,
her hands serenade wings of parting.

     The trees weep cold tears of war,
     Love’s poor root shudders to endure.

Night falls with its ebony calligraphy
our characters inked forever apart
at either end of plagues’ geography;
Among cafe tables, in love’s growing dark,
couples dance, to drown times’ sorrows
flowers of bitter-fragrant lemon tomorrows.

     The trees weep cold tears of war,
     Love’s poor root shudders to endure.


Alcántara is a river and a bridge of Roman origins found in the western part of Sicily. The name comes from the Arabic القنطرة, al-Qanṭarah, ‘the Arch’.

The lemon plant originates in Burma, where it is found growing wild: from there it crossed the Middle East, Mesopotamia, and Palestine. During Muslim rule agricultural products such as oranges, lemons, pistachio and sugarcane were brought to Sicily.


A flaking wall of sun-struck yellow
Peeling paint of a once green door
Ceaseless purple blue beat and pour
Of waves who eat and then retreat
From the restaurant of the shore

A waiter sets your place at the cafe,
the crude cut vegetables of the day
still raw as the day you were born,
Wine, scarlet as blood, half vinegar,
lemon afternoon of a half sliced bay,
and chipped light of a common carafe,

As always you’ll hear the hesitation
Of the aged before they speak quietly
their humility of doubt in front of history;
how they weigh each fragile word
knowing centuries separate us, join us.

How many times, in how many tongues
can chef open this simple door to you?


Anammu! – the Sicilian dialect for ‘Let’s Go!’

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Poetry in this post: © Chris Nash
Published with the permission of Chris Nash