Not Walking by Lia Brooks
inspired by Phil Wood's oil painting of the same name
I came across them in the late afternoon of my body –
five tangled pillars bracing the dream of a calm dusk:
each one in turn, the shape of an idea as if another leaned in
and painted five tenets into my thinking. And there,
reaching with deep roots through the marrow of me, beauty,
so I might find it far beyond and below the lens of my eye.
The second shimmered as it leapt to freedom like a lilac salmon
from the current I claim. Next, a spine curving as if I should fall
but never would, made balanced by the fairness of my palms
as the fourth sprawled with the honesty of these limbs no matter
the weather risk or the snap. And then, finally, flashes of storm
through every vessel in that waiting muscle – clamouring,
ready, messy and unknowable yet fully known: love
in its bright hurt; this road beneath me, trees ahead, the journey home.
Biography: Phil Wood was born in Wales He has worked in statistics, education, shipping, and a biscuit factory. His most recent published collaborative work, with photographer John Winder, can be found https://feversofthemind.com/2022/01/05/photo-poetry-from-phil-wood-poet-and-john-winder-photography/ This current collaborative work was a matter of happenstance: his oil painting inspiring Lia's poem. Phil is a great believer in crossing boundaries, including those between art forms.
Biography: Lia Brooks was born in Epsom, Surrey, to a painter and a map maker, and now lives at the edge of the New Forest with a river beyond the doorstep. She has worked with children and adults for the majority of her working life, and is continuously fascinated by nature and people, and how the two meet and overlap. Her work can be found in Poetry London, Spelt, Mslexia, Agenda and Magma, among others. She has been commended in the Troubadour Poetry Prize, Mslexia's Pamphlet Competition, the National Poetry Competition, and was recently a finalist for the Aesthetica Writing Award.