A winter poem: ‘Chagall’s Moon’

Discover an excerpt from Jeremy Robson's latest poetry collection, ‘
The Heartless Traffic


Such a welcome surprise, that sliver

of a seemingly electric new moon

hanging shyly between the rooftops

and chimneys of the houses opposite.


It had taken up its position early and

the sky on that balmy September evening

was still a rich unblemished blue. All it

needed then to make it a perfect painting

by Chagall were two young lovers floating

beneath the radiant 
banana-shaped moon,

a fiddler, a cow, and 
perhaps a hen.


But this wasn’t Russia, 
or a shtetl scene.

No snow on the ground, 
no terrifying sound

of approaching Cossack horses, the lingering

smell of dwellings burning, 
the screams.


One by one the lights in neighbouring houses

were springing to life, 
and next door 
a television

too, clearly visible 
through the windows of a

ground floor room, 
a couple watching. It was

time, our watches told us, 
for the evening News


In these anxious Covid days 
we watch, we zoom,

so quickly turned from that innocent moon

to enter our own door and resume our nightly

encounter with the latest 
news and views.


No horses, no cossacks, 
no blazing homes,

yet all around us, we know, 
an invisible killer roams.


Jeremy Robson’s latest collection, ‘
The Heartless Traffic’, is published 
by Smokestack Books

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