I have been dipping my toe back into the poetry water a little this year and so it was I signed up for a poem to be delivered each Friday into my email inbox. Many of you will already be aware of this – but hadn’t heard of it until the end of last year. For anyone who doesn’t know you can sign up at Picador – and you will have a poem sent to you each week. Over the months I have had poems of Carol Ann Duffy, Walt Whitman, Tennyson and Emily Dickinson among others – and what a lovely thing it is – I only regret that I only recently started to save the poems in a folder on my computer – many of the ones from the last few months have been consigned to the email dustbin.
I loved this poem from a couple of weeks ago.
The Moon was But a Chin of Gold by Emily Dickinson
The Moon was but a Chin of Gold
A Night or two ago –
And now she turns Her perfect Face
Upon the World below –
Her Forehead is of Amplest Blonde –
Her Cheek – a Beryl hewn –
Her Eye unto the Summer Dew
The likest I have known –
Her Lips of Amber never part –
But what must be the smile
Upon Her Friend she could confer
Were such Her Silver Will –
And what a privilege to be
But the remotest Star –
For Certainty She take Her Way
Beside Your Palace Door –
Her Bonnet is the Firmament –
The Universe – Her Shoe –
The Stars – the Trinkets at Her Belt –
Her Dimities – of Blue.
Recently this poem Japanese Maple by Clive James – stopped me in my tracks – beautiful, sad and for me very surprising – I had not known Clive James wrote poetry looking at his Wikipedia page I really should have known that.
Japanese Maple by Clive James
Your death, near now, is of an easy sort.
So slow a fading out brings no real pain.
Breath growing short
Is just uncomfortable. You feel the drain
Of energy, but thought and sight remain:
Enhanced, in fact. When did you ever see
So much sweet beauty as when fine rain falls
On that small tree
And saturates your brick back garden walls,
So many Amber Rooms and mirror halls?
Ever more lavish as the dusk descends
This glistening illuminates the air.
It never ends.
Whenever the rain comes it will be there,
Beyond my time, but now I take my share.
My daughter’s choice, the maple tree is new.
Come autumn and its leaves will turn to flame.
What I must do
Is live to see that. That will end the game
For me, though life continues all the same:
Filling the double doors to bathe my eyes,
A final flood of colours will live on
As my mind dies,
Burned by my vision of a world that shone
So brightly at the last, and then was gone.
A few weeks ago I bought a number of the little black penguins – one of which is the deliciously titled The Night is Darkening Round me – by Emily Bronte. This small volume of about thirty of Bronte’s poems is number 63 of 80 little black penguins – which I am trying hard not to start collecting. These poems are passionate, powerful and often poignant, depicting nature and the passage of time. I have to admit it is very many years since I read Emily Bronte’s famous Wuthering Heights – but I have never before read her poetry – and although I haven’t quite read them all yet – it is actually making me want to return to that novel for which I have such mixed feelings.