The Liberation of Stefan and Penka
We met in black and white.
Four eyes peircing dirt and spiders‘ webs
To escape their world behind the wood pile
In the darkest corner of an ancient barn
In what was once a peasants’ farm
To join me in mine.
Though they had been here all the time.
Long before my coffee machine,
My worldwide web and my affluent dream,
My online films and my pension scheme
Spilled into their house that in its time had seen
Occupation, revolution, devastation, liberation,
Right Wing, Left Wing, harrowing, more liberation,
One Cold War and two hundred long hot Bolyar summers,
Chickens and goats, deaths and births and a dearth
Of grief and sadness, song and dance and mirth.
Blowing decades of dust from the picture frame,
Hands smearing the filthy glass to let
Long lost occupants emerge from the past.
Now smiling on my kitchen wall
In their Sunday best, dressed to be blessed
On their wedding day.
Looking down on where they once cooked and ate
What they had sown and grown, skinned and plucked
Food from a field or forest, not a packet or can
Before super powers each sent their money man
Before supermarkets came and overran this land
Ending Zhivkov's final five-year plan.
From an antique flask rakia flows and
Floods my mind, warms my inside.
Sends imagination on a ride to a time long passed.
Makes me feel welcome in my own home.
Makes me feel that I’m not alone.
Winding up the gramophone
The needle ploughs a scratchy tune,
A polka buried deep in the shellac disc
As it jumps and spirals, lights up the room
Like the ghostly dancers on the kitchen floor.
Like they did so many years before
When the world revolved at seventy-eight.
Now my monochrome couple glides around
Swirling and smiling, decades rewound.
My Irish heart so pleased it’s found
Bulgarian faces in Bulgaria’s heart.
Their house and they so long apart
Exiles in a byre, gagged and bound.
Stefan and Penka have come home.
Note: Photograph taken by me myself.