Delighted to have as our December special feature the work of creative team Tim Ellis (poet) and Robbie Burns (artist with a poetic name).
Dawn was a slobber drooled from fangs of giants.
We willed the canyon clogging mist to shift.
The Colca River roiled beneath the silence,
muffed in cloud. Snow-caps snarled. We got shoved
about by tour groups, guffawing and looking miffed
to see no condors. Us, we found some plusses,
hummingbirds, sierra finch, Andean swift,
but naturally the guides were worse than useless.
They shrugged and steered their clients back towards the buses.
The trippers file to their seats, muttering as if
they’d booked the birds to soar about this haunt.
The coaches throttle up and grumble off.
A crowd of hawkers wait the bus we want.
The veil of mist dispels. Three condors flaunt
their power of flight, wattles wobbling. They tease,
I swear to God, they spread themselves to taunt
the coaches as they distance down to toys,
primaries splayed like stiff fingers flicking Vs.
From Tim's book 'Gringo on the Chickenbus', published by Stairwell Books, and available online at Tim's website.
By day he is a self-employed gardener who tends the luxuriant privet hedges of Harrogate, but Tim Ellis is also a well-known face on the Yorkshire performance poetry circuit. Last year was a good one for Tim: in a single week he scooped both the first prize in the Huddersfield Literature Festival “Grist” Competition, and was crowned York Poetry Slam Champion 2011. Not long after, he was briefly featured on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent, reading his favourite slam poem, “Around the World in 3 Minutes”. His second collection, “Gringo on the Chickenbus”, published by Stairwell Books, was listed as one of the 20 best small press poetry collections of 2011 by Purple Patch magazine.
Robbie Burns grew up in rural Essex. She gained a 1st class Degree in Illustration at Camberwell School of Art, and worked as a freelance illustrator with work appearing in the Radio Times, the Spectator and the Observer magazine. Since meeting Tim in 1991 she has lived in Harrogate and travelled widely. She currently has two pictures on display at the Open Exhibition in Harrogate’s Mercer Gallery.