When a visitor knocks, poems by Arthur Broomfield
Dr Arthur Broomfield is a poet and Beckett scholar from County Laois, Ireland. His most recent publications are his poetry collection Cold Coffee at Emo Court [Revival Press 2016], and The Empty Too : language and philosophy in the works of Samuel Beckett[ Cambridge Scholars’ Publishing 2014]. His poems have been widely published in Ireland, the UK and USA. His poetry turned towards surrealism in 2017 following a workshop with the English surrealist poet Hilda Sheehan. Dr Broomfield was awarded his Ph.D in English literature by Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick in 2008.
I and the dew drift in that pained air
that disturbs a September day,
lights flicker across the city
as the sun assumes its downward stance.
Stirred by the spectral mists
I am at this place
knocking at your door.
Age was extraneous to the lines
penned in her scarred face.
‘I’m the last left,’, she said.
We didn’t talk about you
or mention the trip for nuts
that didn’t materialize
or the callow lad who tasted
plums and ripe cherries,
for the first time,
through the prejudicial lips of love.
Better to bear it
and all of which it is part –
the freak wind that blew the haycocks
wild round the seven-acre field –
where it belongs, in the heart.
‘You know what it is’ she said,
‘to be out of all this’?
‘Maybe that’s why I’m here,’ I said.
We had no cause to talk of flowers or graves,
for they are below it,
though it is, necessarily set in them.
In Costa Coffee Shop
The mother ship, full on focus,
hovers over mothers chatting away
of kids and christenings and mountain goats poised
on the edge of asteroids above the Skelligs,
and how they’d change the latte.
The older one aligns her lupins
‘I’ll get these, you’ll stay with the Americano,
I think my personality is attuned to the latte,’
white and snowflakey
in tune with the moon, nods a few times.
The pal leans to pick up the signal,
thinks of the husband mixing
scones and Protestant buns
for the Mothers’ Union bring and take
cake sale smiles in relief and gazes
through her cup mushrooms
at the space vacated by the older and bolder
who by now may be a melon beam
traversing the infinite
free of the marshmallow moment
and the counter feet.
When a visitor knocks
When he speaks in hair-sluiced mushroom suites
and thunderbolt echoes from spinach seeds,
the man in Orion’s belt,
the frog-eared and margarine-manacled
rush to hoover the hall;
when he sings the tree-scowled heretics dance to war,
when he cries the believers tip-toe across sponge cakes
wearing their army boots like the Book of Common Prayer,
when the reed in his flute has turned to jelly
they moan to the dawn chorus.
Blessed are the poor in spirit
for theirs is the kingdom of cross-eyed zebras
and warmed-up goose hearts.
Seeing Limerick station through quantum physics
The men’s’ loo at Colbert Station,
fresh plaster, tiles hoary white,
cubicle paint permafrost blue,
is famous now
for the stench of urine.
‘It comes from the outside’,
the inspector said.
Cappuccino in Costa
natural soya, no chocolate,
a special, we call it.
A voice, as you draw near,
His name is John,
carries me above
The smell of coffee.
At times, I doubt if this particle
that fakes the weight and shape of things –
sweet to taste, firm to touch,
a contradiction in the mix
of the Black Forest Gateaux –
is you that don’t matter.
© Arthur Broomfield