Two Poems by Mary Scheurer
Mary Scheurer, originally from Manchester, left the UK in 1975. She lives in France and teaches Philosophy across the border in a Swiss college. She is a member of the Leman Poetry Workshop in Geneva, and has worked for the last ten years with a quartet of European poets who met on an MA course at Manchester Metropolitan University. She read recently with the ‘Quartet’ at the Limerick Poetry Festival. Her writing has been published in The Literary Bohemian, Bare Fiction, The Stony Thursday Book, ‘On the Edge’ (Leman Poets), as well as in the WordAid anthologies ‘Did I Tell You?’ and ‘Not Only the Dark’.
Belem washing line
Procure a good length of stout maritime rope,
drape across your chest and climb the many steps
to the terrace at the tower’s top.
Fix one end securely to the first spire
then circle all the other three securely.
A washing basket waits. Take pride in airing
garments in that sea-spiced Tagus breeze
to be admired. South facing, peg out first
what takes most time to dry. If tourists stop and stare
be quite aware, they wish
to be acquainted
with your outer, then inner self. You are not
in the guidebook. Only you reveal sight and feel,
inform of your unknown. Let them clamour for more,
as did conquistadors about to breach the void.
Jeans and skirts – shorts. Shades of blue (waves, sky).
Turn west: tack socks and stockings to the cord,
thus blows the bottom line. Align yourself due north:
inner apparel. Camisoles pale as clouds,
shirts, their flapping sleeves stretching eager
before the open sea. Now seal this square full circle.
Eastern promise: lingerie, freed to breezes
blowing from the estuary. See, the crowd applauds.
Lace, spaced discreetly. Give them a new world.
Place St Louis
Aigues Mortes, Camargue
How concerned is Saint Louis
plinthed high in bronze benevolence,
fringed by fountains, his gaze skimming
the tops of panoramic parasols?
Most likely uninvolved in it all
after all these years as witness
to congregations of wine-glasses,
debucketed ice cubes clouding
Pastis to milk: pearly pale then
back to glassy tastelessness.
Nor may his coolly chiseled nostrils
care yet to savour whiffs of Provence
that drift his way: sharp garlic shots,
shallot or persillade. For all of this
has long been alloyed to his regal mettle.
Yet how we buzz and bustle all about
like ribbons grafting colour to a maypole;
all ages of tanned ladies, pine to walnut,
all states of skin, smooth satin to crêpe pelt.
And gentlemen in jeans with stripes or checks
stretched to distorted geometry by the force
of lovingly cherished pot-bellied plenitude.
At the ’Express’ café on the corner, waiters
race table to table, jokes fly. Francis
catches my eye. ‘Same as last night?’ he asks:
‘Jameson’s, not much ice, and then for you
a Ballantynes and soda? Toute de suite!’
While loudly holding up the bar, the locals
lounge jaunty at the counter. ‘C’est la crise!
St Louis, n’est pas?’ and their glasses chink.
‘Did I Tell You?’ Anthology for Children in Need. WordAid
‘Not Only the Dark’ Anthology on Survival. WordAid
‘The Literary Bohemian’ Czech Republic
‘The Stony Thursday Book’ Limerick, Arts council.ie
‘Bare Fiction’ Issue 3
‘On the Edge’ Leman Poets, Switzerland
‘April is Poetry Month’ in Limerick. Reading of ‘Quartet’ at Sexton’s Bar. With James Burke, Carolyn Zukowski and Peter Wise.
Limerick Poetry Wall
© Mary Scheurer