Poem introduction

Three poems from 'Figure in a Landscape'. The first of these, 'Trunk of fig tree from Ses Rossells', has the following note from the author: "In this poem there is a reference to the heroine of a Russian fairytale called 'Vassilissa the Beautiful'."

From 'Figure in a Landscape' (5)

Trunk of fig tree from Ses Rossells

This tree is a grey-faced woman
who struggles to her feet, one arm
a broken branch hanging useless
The wild fire on the hill
you have escaped for now
but you are tinder-dry this summer
Terracing lies tumbled around you

Earlier we stood in the gloom of the cave
wondering why we had come
Inside, the usual debris
human excrement, tissues, rusting tins
a goat’s skeleton picked clean by ants
blackened stones of a makeshift hearth
To please our father, find his fabled cave
we had scrambled over boulders
cut ourselves on razor-grass
and now your arm is broken
Two daughters in their fifties
still trying to prove
they are as good as the sons he wanted

We should have followed the example of Vassilissa
borne the goat skull home
and let the darkness in its sockets
blaze our rage, burn down the house

 

 

Fig tree at Son Ramonet Gros

What is it you hear?
Poised on one foot
you’re about to convene
a residents’ meeting
clean the pool
walk the dog
cook for the parents, but
something just off to the left
tugs, and you lean
distracted by this sound
as by a strange
beat in the car’s engine
a thudding in the ears
Please do not listen
Pay it no heed
It is only the three o’clock wind
the wind in the cypresses you hear

 

 

Fig trees in front of Can Cabana

their green skirts making tents of shade
in a field of shimmering wheat. Surprised
among it like creatures of another life—
secret, mysterious, just glimpsed amid
the daily plainness of grain—the pulsing pink
of wild gladiolus and poppies’ blood-red
drinking deep of the fig trees’ shade


from Figure in a Landscape(Mariscat Press, 2010), © Anna Crowe 2010, used by permission of the author

Where next?

Sponsor this poem

Would you like to sponsor this poem? Find out how here.

Recordings

Anna Crowe portrait by Swithun Crowe

Anna Crowe Downloads

1'Passing Weather' and 'October Song'

£0.89

2Skating Out of the House

£0.89

3Gollop's

£0.89

4A Calendar of Hares

£0.89

5The Palm Magnificat

£0.89

6Scops Owl

£0.89

7Punk with Dulcimer

£0.89

8Acnestis

£0.89

9Visiting the Home of the Brave

£0.89

10Homing

£0.89

17First Love

£0.89

18Schoolchildren on Via Augusta

£0.89

19The Attic

£0.89

20Common Rush

£0.89

21Keys

£0.89

22Diver

£0.89

23Eve of another war

£0.89

24A Shepherd's Voice

£0.89

25From Preserved: Between the Image and the Word

£0.89

26I have lost my bearings

£0.89

27Mended fence, Barra

£0.89

11Trunk of fig tree from can vent

£0.89

12Trunk of Fig Tree From Ses Rossells

£0.89

13Fig Tree at Ses Carritxo

£0.89

14Fig Tree Bark

£0.89

15Figure in a Landscape

£0.89

16Fig Leaves II

£0.89