Image by Priscilla Du Preez


the madrigal, volume iii

Roses and Rotten Apples

by alison campbell

Schiller had a drawer of rotten apples.

His poetic inspiration, Anne said.

Schiller was also a philosopher
you cannot hope to copy.

Poetic inspiration, Anne said,

a very particular thing
you cannot hope to copy.

Myself, I love roses best –

a most particular scent
(rotten apples - what a musty stench.)

But the smell of roses – I love it

while I’m painting a still life.

That fermented apfel smell he liked –
I would have to sit outside, Anne said,

while I painted those bright sweet peas

in my still August garden.

I would have to sit outside
away from rotten apples,
in the warm August garden, she said.

Still, Schiller was also a philosopher.

Alison Campbell is from Aberdeen and now lives in London. She is a counsellor in a secondary
school. Her poems are published in various magazines including Obsessed with Pipework, The
Curlew, The Poetry Village, Dunlin PORT anthology, Artemis, Indigo Dreams (Reach, Sarasvati and
Dawntreader), London Grip, Quince, Pennine Platform and Arache ( D/deaf issue.) She was
commended in the Barnet Poetry competition 2017, 2018, and shortlisted in the 2020 Candlestick
Press International poetry competition, Getting Older. She is one of ten longlisted finalists in the
Paper Swans competition 2020. Rattlecast Poetry station, California, chose one of her poems, which
she read on air (1.12.20) She was one of ten finalists in Poet & Players competition 2020.She has poems forthcoming in Locked Down: poems, diaries and art from the 2020 pandemic, Feline Utopia Anthology and Green Ink. One of her poems, published in Artemis, has been included in Second Light’s submission of poems for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. She was shortlisted in Cinnamon Press Poetry pamphlet competition 2021. Twitter: Alison Campbell @alisonhaspoems