Picture-Poems: An Inside Story

Collages by Sofiah Garrard, illustrated with poems by Emmanuel Williams



The Soldiers Have Gone by Sofiah Garrard

The Soldiers Have Gone

The soldiers have gone.
Their towers stand empty
The tracks and trails made by marching feet and cavalry
The wheels of their heavy guns
Are blurred by wind and rain
And will disappear like the terrible echoes
of their screams and cries.

The soldiers have gone.
The blue air wipes itself clean of smoke
And the smell of blood. The dead
Are stripped by beak and fang and silent worms.
All this has happened before.
Yes, all of this has happened before.

The soldiers have gone.
The scars are deepest in their hearts.
The soil sighs
Draws bones and rusting bullets
Into its burdened being
But in the hearts of soldiers
Horror lingers like a scream
That goes on screaming.

The soldiers have gone.
Some of us are praying
Some are walking by the river
Forgetting what we saw and heard
Listening to water
And the singing of a bird.


The Mermaid's House - collage by Sofiah Garrard

The Mermaid’s House


The sea seeks nothing.
It is where it has always been.
It moves when moved to do so.
It has no here and there
no mysteries within its deep immensity
save for those who seek to hold it whole
plumbed and charted in their minds.
The sea is real. It was created when God
brought time and energy together.

I think I am a creature of your dreams
O soil-walkers, breathers of the unseen air.
You thought of me, imagined me
spun yarns and sang of me
and so I came to form
as did the deities you conjured
on cloud-high mountains
the grove-homed spirits, broomstick jockeys
sprites who reap your wisdom teeth.

Fish are real as the sea is real
as are crabs and starfish, urchins, otters.
I like my slightly alien status. I have
a stronger sense of who I am
than, say, the average sardine.
And I love the dwelling place you recently evoked
the lattices, the roofs, a door
that locks. Beats living in a cave
behind the rocks.

Alley Cat - collage by Sofiah Garrard

Alley Cat



When windows click black
Ticking cars return to stillness
When dogs twitch in their sleep
When lovers kiss and enter one another’s dreams
then the city, it is mine. It is my kingdom.

I am the shape at the back of the shadows
the lean mean thorn-clawed spy
licking the wrappings on sidewalks
crumbs on your patios, rats lured by garbage.

Think not of me as I slink past your windows.
Think not of me as the night rain drenches my fleas
as winter numbs the streets with its breath.
Think not of your kin sprawled in doorways
booze for warmth, and memories
the only ones in this dark world who know me.



Return to Green Chair Gallery or
Sofiah Garrard’s Gallery of Collages

NEW – Sofiah Garrard’s “Introductions – formal presentation of one being to another”

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