I finished the poems for Island during the COVID-19 pandemic when there was no chance of being able to visit Paxos. The illustrations are by my friend Elaine Whitesides and it has been a pleasure to work with her and with Steve Cawte from Impspired Press.
Island was launched at an online event on Sunday 23 January 2022. Testimonials and a brief selection of poems can be found below. To order a book within the UK go to:https://wildfire-words.com/island-by-clair-chilvers-order-form/
Outside the UK it is easier to order through Amazon:
CANADA – https://www.amazon.ca/dp/1914130502
AUSTRALIA – https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/1914130502
GERMANY – https://www.amazon.de/dp/1914130502
FRANCE – https://www.amazon.fr/dp/1914130502
Luminous, lyrical and vivid poems from a poet with the rare gift of capturing the essence of a place, and the people who live there, in crystalline and evocative language. Visit the Island, you may never wish to leave.
Island is the tale of a love-affair. It leaves in the mind such reality, though in a way it exists like a dream, there and not-there; the rest of life (some years of it, too) don’t lessen the reality of it in the mind of the reader; there is just enough to give this dream-like reality, even though it changes (the modernity that has invaded it), it doesn’t change. I have found it haunting in its appeal. Somehow the random introduction of characters has the same there-and-not- there reality : it doesn’t matter who they are, they are real and yet fleeting, almost like characters in a dream.
R. V. Bailey
Poems from Island
Imagine a sunset
where the red sun sinks slowly into the sea.
Live that moment when the sky darkens.
Imagine sitting on a cliff top
fresh-caught fish, a salad of tomatoes and feta
a bottle of chilled rosé wine.
at the end of that long rough road
on a July evening.
But the moment passes
a cold frisson on warm skin
a dream of what might have been.
I went by the longer road
less steep in the heat
passed by tourists cautious in hire-cars
and helmet-less local lads speeding on Vespas
parcels piled behind them.
I stopped at Magazia to photograph the church
then walked zig-zag to catch the shade
to where the two roads meet,
retraced my steps a little
and there was a new tarmac drive.
In the old days we walked through the olives
on a rocky path
to where the goats waited by the fence
to eat the geraniums if they could.
I found a new gate,
the front door open, so I knocked.
A man with towel round his waist came out.
I told him my story
of buying the cottage more than thirty years before,
of passing bank notes
under the counter at the consulate
where water dripped through the ceiling into buckets
of how donkeys with panniers
brought the stone through the olive grove
for a new cisterna
and how we came back each Eastertime.
sunshine after two days of grey skies
we took the boat to Antipaxos
famed in the old days for its execrable wine
the boatman counted us as we crammed aboard
took our tickets ejected latecomers
off we went at speed holding our hats
past the statue of the hero with his flaming
past the town beach the bobbing heads
of Paxiot housewives gossiping as they bathed
past Eleftheria’s metal-gated house
past Mongonisi and the island end
and as the wind whipped up
we crossed the choppy open sea
to land at Antipaxos
there used to be one small café a few umbrellas
sardines cooked on a barbeque
coarse bread cold beer
this time three tavernas bustled
sunshades all the way along the beach
the path from beach to vineyard rutted
the vines unpruned
wild-flowers among the tares the owner dead
but the sea the same turquoise near the shore
further out the sudden change to deep grey-green