Stanley Spencer’s War

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A quennet- a form invented by Raymond

Queneau in 1975.

This is an Ekiphrastic poem, dealing with the

discussion of a visual work of art.  It was commended

in the Ware Poetry Competition, judged by John Greening

and appears (ed) in the subsequent anthology.

It was inspired by a visit to The Sandham Memorial

Chapel at Burghclere, near Basingstoke, which Stanley

Spencer decorated with murals, depicting the

ordinariness of war, on The Home Front and in

Macedonia, where he served as a medical orderly.

The formatting is not quite right as WordPress

doesn’t allow me to centre and retain the spacing,

with the short noun phrases being centred beneath

the long line of 3 noun phrases.  The 5 line interlude

with the syllable counts of 1-5 should also be centred….

Nevertheless, you’ll get the idea!

 

 

 

precious horses   scavenging boar   tortoise company

mosquito nets

protective firebelt   unravelled puttee   distant Christ

Kalinova katharsis

Macedonian map   heavenly tea   wounded convoy

smuggled kitten

hotwater bottle

frostbitten foot

jam sandwiches

magenta bathtubs

traumatised scrubbing

iodine painting

bilberry feast

unravelled company  Macedonian mosquito  precious kitten

wounded Christ

Pot Shot

On CCTV

one blurred image of a man

with his baseball cap

pulled down low – incognito.

A large camera

(his personal albatross)

drags his round shoulders.

With his hidden catapult,

he’s just shot three holes, right through

the stained glass windows

of our ancient Listed church.

Three?  The Triune God?

With another two blasts he’d

have matched the Five Wounds of Christ.