Paul Archer - photo Paul Archer - poet, translator



Meeting Geoff in the Plaza

I don't have to sit there long
before someone I know
stops to have a coffee with me,
it's that kind of plaza
with café tables under trees,

and now Geoff swings by
and we get to talk about
his latest work, his painting
of a suicide bombing in a café
in the Middle East and how people
were chatting there like us
and then they were just... burnt meat,
and what was it that had gone?
I don't see how he'll get this
question into a painting, but I'm
sure Geoff does. There's a way
that art has of taking us
out of ourselves and out of time,
stopping all the clocks. But
these days, as Geoff now says,
it's surprising how little time
people spend looking at a
painting in an art gallery,
even a Renoir. Can a poem
get more attention? Maybe less...
in any case, here's Geoff,
pulling up his chair next to mine,
catching the waiter's eye,
making his debut in a poem,

a poem that's like a café table
in a plaza, where anyone
can hang out and take their time
before getting on with their day,
and not get blown away.


This poem is dedicated to the artist Geoff MacEwan. Geoff has collaborated with Paul on a collection of poems and illustrations entitled 'Natural Causes'. For more information, please go to Poems and Etchings - Natural Causes.

Geoff's work is held in private and public collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Ashmoleum Museum in Oxford, The National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh and The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid.

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