Gallery of abstract illustrations for David Harsent’s poem: “Abstracts
"Surely, what first comes to mind is purpill and pall.
No? So is it what she is said to have said that night
when she breathed a secret and put the whole room on stall?

Not that? Then it must have something to do with the way,
in the fairy tale when the twins are lost in the wood,
daylight suddenly deepens and it’s run or stay or pray.

Still wrong? Rain in the hanging gardens then? That bruise
you can’t account for? The color of money, win or lose?
A Balkan liqueur that hits you where—Ah, yes, of course; the bruise.".

You know the room, or think you do, half-dark
and windowless it seems, though maybe
the shutters are dropped against the day, loose talk

from women in veils and something like a pulse,
on the air when he opens the door and slips straight in.
The Loden coat, the old slouch hat, the harelip, so who else

could it be, right on time and keen to help? Think back
to those promises, all of them straight from the heart,
never asked for, never kept. The skin trade . . . there’s a knack...

It sings they say, and so it does: something like the note
that fractures glass or gets so far below
the range of human hearing that it jolts your heart;

and the glass it breaks is blue, and that’s a blue note for sure
from the guy on the alto sax in the basement dive,
which is where they’re bound to meet up in the classic noir,

the private eye, the girl with a shadowy past, the old-style cop,
and it’s nigh-on certain she’ll have to take a bullet
or we’ll see her in prison blue as they lead her to the drop...

PhoArtry: a selection of illustrated poems