P-O Life Arts Anthology

In times of crisis, we turn to the arts.

Picasso’s Guernica, McCrae’s In Flanders’ Fields, even Newton’s discovery of gravity… times of hardship give rise to great creativity and the past weeks have been irrefutable proof of that!

Each week we have published YOUR artistic offerings based on a chosen theme : FREEDOM, WATERCOURAGE ,SPRINGTIME, MOUNTAINS… 

Your talent, imagination and skill have blown us away and kept a smile on our faces at difficult times. We hope it has been the same for you!

As the 11th May draws ever closer, this is the final Arts Anthology of the lockdown period. We know that life will not go back to ‘normal’, but we’re sure you are all as excited as we are to get out and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine that brought us to this beautiful region.

That’s why, for the final, ‘End of Lockdown’ edition of the Arts Anthology, the theme is : P-O LIFE!

All readers, whatever your medium or ability, are invited to send us your musings by email to laura@anglophone-direct.com, and they will be published in next week’s newsletter.

Some of our favourites from over the weeks will be selected and printed in the bumper summer magazine too!

So if you’ve been inspired during lockdown, pick up you your paint brush, get out the guitar and send over your work before 12pm Tuesday 12th May.

Until then, enjoy this week’s theme : TRAVEL!

Geckos by Caroline Papworth

(Remembering a time when we used to fly from Leeds/Bradford airport, where there was a large ornamental gecko on the side of a warehouse, to the PO and the fact that it is just not possible to travel like this at the moment.)

Bags packed, on-line check-in done.
The orange gecko on the storage depot
glimmers weakly in the watery sun.
Perhaps a lucky omen?
Priority boarding is now at gate one.

To Prats de Mollo, not the name of fools
but of meadows and pastures fine.
A green gecko glows gloriously in the fiery sun.
A lucky sign.

But not today,
Some dreams must wait.
No trails of vapour craze this sky.
Stay home still safe to dream
Of places where geckos glow gloriously green.

Graeme Frost

Graeme says: Lockdown. Boats beached and tied up. Travel plans on hold.

The Mirror on the Wall (anonymous)

You collected me from the airport in a borrowed car which seemed to have a will of its own. We would spend two weeks together from Beijing to Jilin, then down to Jiangxi Province and Shanghai. You dropped me off at my hotel and told me that you didn’t like these Western type hotels. Couldn’t sleep in them, you said. You knew my country well and journeyed much in Europe. Did you never sleep then, I thought?

We worked hard those two weeks. It was easy for me with you as my guide. I was dazzled by the contrasts your country presented. Drawn into a whirlpool of oriental mysticism. Felt battered by the physically overpowering mass of humanity. I needed help with so many things and you protected me. We talked much. China’s long struggle and your own. Looking at the future whilst watching the shadows of the past. Fatherland and duty rubbing shoulders with personal ambitions and desires.

One evening, tired and a little exhausted by days of constant movements and noise, I left you early. I planned to enjoy the experience of a Chinese massage, already anticipating the wondrous rebirth that would follow. You informed me that you too knew well the practices of this ancient art. Would I consider your services?

I looked at your hands. Long and slender, delicate and sensitive. Confused, I mumbled something about it being just my legs and thank you, but no need, I said. I heard the sound of my voice trailing strangely into the distance.

The next night we were booked into a Chinese guest house, part of a large corporation we intended to visit. You told me that it is not unusual for big companies to have their own guest houses. Away from the main cities, hotels as I knew them, did not really exist, you said and, as if to forewarn me, added that in this province electricity and heating would only be available a few hours per day. Little did I consider the true implications of this at the time.

It was already bitterly cold outside and the temperature did not improve when we stepped into our separate rooms. My eyes rested on pink, frilly bed covers over a horse-hair mattress. No heating possible now, I was told, too late in the day. Hot water boiler out of order and to make matters worse, I discovered the plumbing to be extremely temperamental. All night I froze and so did you, as you told me the next day. You had looked at my window, you said, to see if the absence of light might indicate happy slumber. I did not sleep that night but suffered in darkness.

Somehow that way the cold was easier to bear.

Leave a Comment