heatwave and poppies
the colour of sunshine glow
in their gravelly home
I haven’t read it all yet, but I am really enjoying it.
The poetry looks on the page and reads in the voice like the ragged, rugged landscape of her home in Shetland. She achieves this through surprising images and unusual points of view, among other skilful applications of craft. I think this is going to become one of my favourite reads.
Today is World Poetry Day and I suspect there is a lot of disappointment around at the cancellation of readings, workshops etc.
Fortunately poetry is something that can be enjoyed as much alone as in social gatherings. Reading a favourite poet, or perhaps a newly bought book, is almost social: reader and poet together.
I think the current crisis will leave several kinds of mark on history, and one of those will be poems.
This is my first post of the new year/new decade. Where better to go for newness than new poetry books.
The approach of spring revived my interest in shopping so I treated myself to this T S Eliot collection.
Rendang by Will Harris is a Poetry Book Society choice.
The Eliot is what I expected it to be: exciting, beautiful, varied. It was his work that helped me into reading modern poetry.
I haven’t had time to study Rendang, but it has a lot of interesting stuff in it.
Now all I need is time to sit and absorb the beauty and depth of these two fabulous poets.
The good weather we’ve had lately means my garden is still rich with flowers and foliage, most of them self-seeded – many are pretty even if they are weeds.
Last year’s favourite weeds were sunflowers; we had several of them of different sizes and styles.
This year they went somewhere else and I now have different favourites. One is a giant clover with a pale mauve flower and decorative leaves.
Another is a lush green thingy growing like the clappers. I’m hoping it’ll flower so I can see what it is.
I had a browse on the web to see if there are any poems about weeds.
There are a lot, many of them drawing rather obvious lessons and few extolling the beauty of these adventurous plants.
However, I really like this simple little one by a poet called Boruch.
As our over-hot weather goes on I had a look on the web for poems about heatwaves. There seem to be an amazing number of them, although google often produces the same thing in different contexts.
One of the first I came across was John Stammers’ Like a Heatwave Burning:
It was the hottest summer on record;
we flew into rages at the drop of a pin.
The heat made cacti of us all.
I love that line about cacti. There are plenty of things that make me feel cactus-like, not only in the heat. There are several more verses all as entertaining (link above).
Ted Hughes also had something to say in Heatwave which starts:
Between Westminster and sunstruck St Paul’s
The desert has entered the flea’s belly.
So far I’ve not come across any subject that doesn’t have at least one poem of its own.
Today is 1st May and it has been celebrated for centuries as a special day. As May Day it started as a pagan festival and still includes maypoles and festivities. As Labour Day it celebrates the world’s workers (and in many places gives them a day off).
There is no shortage of May Day poems. One that I remember being introduced to in my teens is Robert Herrick’s Corinna’s Going A-Maying, which starts with encouragement to get up and get going.
It has several verses so I quote the first one only. The whole poem can be found on The Poetry Foundation.
Get up, get up for shame, the Blooming MorneUpon her wings presents the god unshorne.See how Aurora throwes her faireFresh-quilted colours through the aire:Get up, sweet-Slug-a-bed, and seeThe Dew-bespangling Herbe and Tree.Each Flower has wept, and bow’d toward the East,Above an houre since; yet you not drest,Nay! not so much as out of bed?When all the Birds have Mattens seyd,And sung their thankful Hymnes: ’tis sin,Nay, profanation to keep in,When as a thousand Virgins on this day,Spring, sooner than the Lark, to fetch in May.
I haven’t had time to fully read, let alone digest, all the poems, but the ones I’ve looked at so far are very impressive.
The language is robust with strong stresses and wild, sometimes uncomfortable, images: would you
… just lie down
my ribs opened up in the old town square
and let the pigs root through my chest.
However, I do like the idea of having a
… purple name.
I’m looking forward to the poems I haven’t reached yet.
One of my poems is published today by Nine Muses Poetry. I rarely write poems about the countryside, but a few months ago I felt the urge to put down my feelings after a day’s walk.
Of course I’m thrilled to see my work there, but I’m particularly captivated by the pictures on this site. Even if you’re not into poetry, it’s worth a visit.