Sur le Mur Cahun 1947-2017


David Annwn





Deep granitic


white hydra hermaphrodite

protozoan neural branching


Beneath this mask another mask


sun bathes the massive ancient church wall abutting the beach, and the right sides of her face and extended arm, as she is caught between sharp light and shadow


dendritic crystals

enacting chemin


a black, seemingly eyeless, blindfold

(an unsilvered mirror: my natal right eye)


wrack and polyp, beating

the bounds,

blocking a slipway


between sharp sand

as if she is being pulled forward by the cat: Nike

The feline is stationary


she has passed through shrubbery and over the inverted painted letters ‘PRIVATE PROPERT


sun low in the eastern sky sending sharp shadows of her legs and her cat, across the concrete


away from St Brelade’s

graveyard behind her


on the verge of the dead zone, effacement of  human

rocks far out, bioluminescent


a loose chemise with cut-away sleeves reveals her thin arms and dark loose trousers which are tied with criss-crossing laces from the knees downwards


progressing barefoot over the top of an anti-tank barrier

led on by a cat to which she is connected by a twice-twisted leash


vegetation threatens to encompass

vocabulary and if on these surfaces


we speak the unseen photographer

if we’re lead by the cat-tail’s slant


‘Le chemin des chats V’ and placed in a sequence


crepuscular, dawn, elliptical

tapetum and retina

gathering light, cat sees


more inquisitively than you, puts out its  paw, discovers the strange, flawless fragment of glass, primes claws on it, monitors images’ conformity – sniffs at mirror-backs


what will be we if we lead ourselves


if we lead ourselves on a leash as a queen



The italicised lines are new translations of lines from Claude Cahun’s Aveux non avenus (1930). 








David Annwn, author of ‘Refractions through Selves: Claude Cahun’s icons of the Inner Search: psycho-dramas and photography’ (2017), helped convene the Claude Cahun Conference at Leeds Art Gallery, UK.  In 2016, there was a collaborative exhibition of his poetry with calligrapher Thomas Ingmire’s work at the Book Club of California, San Francisco.  His work is currently the subject of a poetry/graphics installation in central Leeds.  His most recent book of poems is Dreaming Across the Wake Field (2016).  He has work in E·ratio 11