Poem – Anna Jackson

An extract from Dear Tombs, Dear Horizons

Remembering the Villa Isola Bella, Katherine
Mansfield wrote of the warm stone on the
terrace, leaning against the warm walls,
the heat at her back, the furry bees in the air,
and the cold feelings between her and
John Middleton Murry, after all the letters
they had sent back and forth, all the yearning
for his presence, and then, in his presence,
absence.

*

At the Villa Isola Bella, my favourite place
is the doorstep, the corner where a spider
grooms itself on the mottled buttery
yellow stone, beside the eggshell blue
door frame, and the terracotta tiles.
It is like finding myself in a corner
of a Vermeer interior, a detail
closer up than a Vermeer painting
has ever gone, so that with all the stillness
on the canvas, there is this corner
so close up, the spider moves.

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