Picture in Grey – a prose poem by Mandy Pannett


There’s the sense of a river behind a low wall; footsteps on leaf-fall, grey light through the mist. There are hours ahead for the unshed rain. This is an island of pavements and derelict blocks; a low landscape, no colour here. Nothing to do but wait for the lamps to be lit.
Flies in the buttermilk whispers the song. Something is scratching and digs. On the Embankment a stone lion is lost in the fog. His paw is upturned. He begs.

I detest my past and anyone else’s mutters Magritte as he sketches the lion. Thinks about gunfire and troops moving in. Adds a man by the parapet with his back to us; he is staring over the edge. Gives him black wings from the shoulder blades down to the ground. Considers a title: Pea soup, spleen of Paris, Philadelphia, mal du pays… Thickens the fog.

Bats scuttle out as old lamps are lit. There are gaps in the masonry and a chill wind. A pigeon lies dead in a scatter of leaves. There are hours ahead for the rain.

Mandy Pannett runs an arts cafe, supports two local writing groups and
enjoys giving readings and running writing workshops. She has two
poetry collections from Oversteps Books: Bee Purple and Frost Hollow.

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