‘Paris enchanted me…’ – A Poem by Sharon Philips

‘Paris enchanted me…’

After Käthe Kollwitz

Two months free of motherhood
gave me all the time I needed,
to paint and draw, to learn to sculpt.
Most afternoons I’d stroll around
private galleries, breath stopped
by the modern: its throb and gleam
of green and yellow, flame and blue,
shapes bounded by wiry black.

And at night with a group of friends
I’d pick my way down to a bar
two stories below ground, thronging
with crooks and tarts, its vaults
dripping with damp, garish gaslight
throwing shadows over the walls.

The smell comes back to me still,
of sweat, cigarettes and sour wine,
the fights, the shouting and laughter,
that poor chanteuse, voice hoarse
from straining to sing above it all,
how before I sat to draw the scene,
I’d dance until I was giddy.

Sharon Philips stopped writing poetry in 1976, starting again forty years later, on her retirement. Her poems have been published online and in print and she is currently studying for an MFA at York St. John University. Originally from Bristol, Sharon now lives in Otley, West Yorkshire. Twitter: @sharoncowling

Banner Art: “Inspired by a Poem: Ecoute Moi, for Sharon Philips”, a visual poem by Robert Frede Kenter (c) 2022. Twitter: @frede_kenter.

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