Patrick Williamson

Patrick Williamson

Patrick Williamson is an English poet who also works with music and filmpoems (Afterwords, set to music by Mauro Coceano). Editor and translator of The Parley Tree, Poets from French-speaking Africa and the Arab World (Arc Publications, 2012). Most recent poetry collections: Beneficato (English-Italian, Samuele Editore, 2015), Tiens ta langue/Hold your tongue (Harmattan, Paris 2014), Gifted (Corrupt Press, 2014), Nel Santuario (Samuele Editore, 2013; Menzione speciale della Giuria in the XV Concorso Guido Gozzano, 2014).

All roads lead here

We ride past rows of cypresses,
motes in the sunlight, climb
these tendrilled steps to clusters
of clock-towers with roof skirts,
lay out our spices, let us barter
we are offshoots of a vine
rays of sun scattered in the hills,
our banter livens the twilight
we are on the road to somewhere
as mountains curve the script
of each valley, route to the hubbub,
we are the hub, the radius, the halt
we are all roads but only the one

Under the sun, our shadows

Believe me, that outcrop is hollow
the water waves of light
the arch leads to open sea, why

does the mind not learn its lessons
when we go astray in the dark
looking for that glimpse of clarity

shrouds that sway in street shades
washing on the line a summer night

that disembodied window of a house
merely a facade framed by trees

the rock on the point of shattering
the core is stone and this a shimmer

what I do is not how I feel
what I think is not what I say

mere shadows under the sun blinding
all these truths I try so hard
to see, but just deceive, constantly.


The swell of lift & descent
in the dark a howling wet wind
here we go, half way up, then
pitch again, toss & plunge,
hold on, for life is not drowning.


Softly, like a whisper, the surf
releases, o my god,
its tongue reaches, eyes wide open,
its next breath draws in
harsh & rasping, the rush of silence
the sated wind sweeps up, love
clutching fingers break free
sliding back, tugged by undertow.


I was a child too, imagined
shadowy creatures reach up
& strip away the covers –
the cold, we are joined
myself, black-blue sea,
swept away, swirling rafts
skating over the fathoms.

Total separation

He will wash his face
with salt water and sunlight

the door the wind opened to
countryside intricate with light

the sun footprints left on stones
you went barefoot over ditches

sea salt attracted shafts to skin
water dissolved the bed over time

the body will disappear from desire
it will vanish from his craving

he will flee the sea from his beach
wordless they no longer are

inside these bodies there is a heart
that if isolated will die.

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,

I have one thing left to solve
before I go

under the globe of light-shade

we never turned a corner
in our lives, never knew better

soundless, open-mouthed
we bury ourselves in sand.

Poetry in this post: © Patrick Williamson
Published with the permission of Patrick Williamson