The following two poems by Charlotte Robson were written in response to Window (Day 2): Room 118, Titanic Hotel, Stanley Dock, Regent Road, Liverpool (2017) – a photograph taken by the Hong Kong-based artist Luke Ching, held within our Art Collection. The poems were written for the Fourdriner to coincide with the work being shown as part of the Taking the Leap at PHOTOFAIRS – Shanghai (20 – 22 September 2019).
Lì wù pǔ
[Key s-words: Shanghai, sea, seafarer]
Seagull spires – not pictured – must’ve
sung the port’s tune, rallying
Stilled waters, running deep, a
Seeded So(o) long ago, twin veins
spider silk webs tracing transient(?)
paper traps screen
Shànghǎi Fǎ Zūjiè
On my penultimate day in Shanghai
I gently strayed down memory lanes,
searching for everything
I knew I shouldn’t
(as an educated woman).
That old book smell,
more fragrant in the summer humidity,
drawing me (and my entangled blood)
down dusty, peeling lùs,
of faded Empire.
But those stories have left this beating womb.
Canopied arteries shading l i n g e r i n g,
shipped-in-splendour, alongside other
remnants – chattering birdcages! – more inherent
to place than time, I peered,
on the cusp
of new chapters.
Phoenix city of diamond towers,
it was here I thought I was to rest my wings.
Instead, you simmer on within my heart,
my journey forever changed.