STAR POem: Edward King – Artist

By John Pearson


On used scraps of board,

paint brush strokes

made their mark –

the silent aftermath

of a city scarred,

blitzed, battered and burned;

rubble piled high in streets,

glass splinters, heaps of plastered bricks,

floor-boards, door frames –

decades of honest Portsmouth dust.


Away from war-damage

you painted your St James’ home.

Boiler-room chimney stack

shading the glint of sunlight

on swimming pool roof windows;

horse-drawn carts clop slowly

past green-plumed poplars and

neat, squat, leather-leaved cabbages

on parade in languid lines

leaning toward Portsdown Hill.


Even the shanty-town High Street

of Milton Locks caught your eye –

tethered, weathered hulks,

black, bitumen-basted boats

surrounded by sea-weeded gardens;

gang-planked and gated

rows of Romany-like maritime caravans –

homes for bombed-out people

sifted and saved from Portsmouth’s ashes,

your legacy preserved in oils.


June 2016