Ian Harrow

Gaugin to himself

Jacket of Polemos

Eperon Press, 1998


The girl sits on a stone to watch
Salt water brush her sturdy feet,
Cleansing thighs of dust from the road.
Her lips, with faint sea-fruit bouquet
Show, mocking and inflamed, the risk
Was yours. Swift as a day that life
When she asked you to let her go
And you felt the relief of one
Almost sacredly cast down…Here
Suddenly, your longing to be
Disappointed! What else schedules
Of days for, wandering unfree?
Mark with your secreta the sites
Of ghosts; take your place, a cornered
Wolf in a wreck of squealing cats.
More thrown back than resurrected.

My rationale for choosing today’s poem is that as I was typing up the post about Alan Murphy’s verse on Marc Chagall my thoughts strayed to my days studying art history at the University of Central Lancashire. Ian Harrow was one of my lecturers when I started the course in September 1998. It seems a frighteningly long time ago now. I remember choosing Chagall as an essay topic in one of the modules that Ian taught but I have so far stopped short of digging the paper out of my archive. Probably best to let sleeping essays lie.

I’ve had this collection for a while, though I bought it after I had graduated. I’ve chosen the poem on Gaugin, partly to continue the art related theme generally and partly because of the specific topic.

A few years ago He Who Put the Shelves Up bought me a study of Gaugin’s work in Tahiti, Gaugin’s Skirt by Stephen F Eisenman (Thames and Hudson, 1997).  Eisenman’s fascinating book looks at Gaugin’s relationship with Tahiti, depiction of women, colonialism and contemporary Tahitians. Having being prompted by my poetry musing to pick it up again I might add it to my ever growing summer holiday list.

Ian Harrow has  a new collection published this year called Words Take Me (Lapwing Press). I’ve read a couple of poems from this collection on Poetry PF so take a look at the link.

Apologies for the late posting today – I was busy doing a bit of blog maintenance behind the scenes. Now to get working on tomorrow’s choice….