The White Chair


The man whose seat this is,

heavy iron, white paint, that he dragged out

one day into a corner of the rattling leaves

in the seawind, he is not here today.


He went off some place, some business,

and just now he is standing perhaps

amongst other leaves drummed on the same wind

coming in fast off a different sea.


But he has no seat to sit in, and here

it's as if his chair was waiting for me,

among the dropped brown leaves scurrying

like small animals, like birds into flight.


So therefore I will sit here thinking of him,

someone very like me perhaps, a solitary

who liked company, wherever he is and in what language

he listens to the wind, and what it says to him.


I will disturb nothing. Back again,

he will not know I have been here,

stepping down into the evening air to sit

in his chosen spot, lighting his cigar.


Ken Smith

From You Again: Last poems & Other Words (Bloodaxe Books 2004).  Reproduced by kind permission of Judi Benson.

Big Sea and Blue half

All paintings by Garry Kennard,, reproduced by kind permission of the artist.