All posts filed under: poetry

Wildeve

The tight buds on my Wildeve rose opened while I was away over the weekend. You can just make out the black spot too, though it’s described as a very robust and healthy rose. It reminds me of a painting by Francisco de Zurbarán which I sometimes used to visit on my way home from work. Those were the years when I walked across Trafalgar Square twice a day. Later, when I no longer made that exact journey, I wrote a poem about the painting. I loved it for its simplicity and mystery. Light and dark. Delicacy and practicality: the rose and the cup. Zurbarán’s rose, if you picked it up, would lose its petals, and in today’s drizzle the petals have dropped from my rose onto the brilliant green of the rain-wet grass. A Cup of Water and a Rose on a Silver Plate how the streaming light is frozen gracing the blown petals of the dusky rose and illuminating the rim of the plate and the dark so deep, the water pure as …

As if we’d choose even the grief

To love as if we’d choose even the grief. from ‘Fontanelles’ in Skin Divers by Anne Michaels We spent Easter in France. Each morning I sat and read in an armchair in the bedroom while B slept, and in their room the children slept or woke and started chatting & laughing. The sky stayed clear blue; the sun warmed us through. The light was like honey. If I was a painter, I thought, we’d have to move here. I read Dubliners; I started Dear Life. I read Anne Michael’s poems in bed at night, late after evenings filled with food & wine. The children looked, as they always do at B’s parents’, more lovely to me than ever. Back home, and the daffodils are over, the tulips too. The garden is lush and green. From the kitchen the longer grass hides the patches of earth worn bare by our winter footsteps. There are bluebells. Forget-me-nots spilling onto the grass.  There are pale green leaves on the magnolia and still a few flowers. Black spot on …

All the moons in one night

  …On the gnarled magnolia, in the fog, the blossoms and buds were like all the moons in one night – full, gibbous, crescent… from ‘Telling My Mother’ by Sharon Olds, in Stag’s Leap It was the most perfect spring weekend. A picnic in the New Forest on Saturday, the sun filtering through the trees into sheets of streaming light.  Yesterday, surrounded by running children in the back garden, I looked up at the magnolia & remembered these lines from a poem I read last week. We don’t quite have full moons, but we have the promise that this will be the magical week.

Going to join the poets

A few years ago, I took Tamar Yoseloff‘s Routes into Poetry course at The Poetry School in London. On Tuesday evenings I would leave work in Victoria, walk past Westminster Abbey, along the backstreets to Lambeth Bridge, and cross over the Thames to join the poets. One of Ellen Gilchrist’s fantastic Rhoda stories is called ‘Going to Join the Poets’ (in The Age of Miracles), and I felt exactly like Gilchrist’s exuberant heroine, both desperate and alive when I was in that class. Tammy was a warm and engaging teacher, and my fellow poets – a journalist, a scientist, a sculptor, a civil servant and many, many teachers by day – were wonderfully generous with someone who hadn’t written a poem since school. But for two hours every week – longer if you counted the pub afterwards – I could be in a room where poetry & words, the breath & the line were all that mattered. I wrote some poems, mostly to do with either the Biscuit or the mice who had invaded our …