showers and sunshine
Poetry Breakfast ~ at home
As we are unable to meet together for our Poetry Breakfasts, I invite you to join us for a virtual session instead. So, with the help of Tim, Ali and Hilary, I will share ideas for poems, on the theme of each Poetry Breakfast already on our (now redundant) calendar, on a weekly basis.
Today’s theme for the week is ‘Showers and Sunshine’ and I’m very excited that poets Liz Lefroy and Jean Atkin have both sent poems for us to enjoy. It’s our new feature: guest poets!
Take hope, and be of good heart.
Sending you all much love!
PS The next theme will be ‘In the Garden’
April Rise by Laurie Lee
If ever I saw blessing in the air
I see it now in this still early day
Where lemon-green the vaporous morning drips
Wet sunlight on the powder of my eye.
Blown bubble-film of blue, the sky wraps round
Weeds of warm light whose every root and rod
Splutters with soapy green, and all the world
Sweats with the bead of summer in its bud.
If ever I heard blessing it is there
Where birds in trees that shoals and shadows are
Splash with their hidden wings and drops of sound
Break on my ears their crests of throbbing air.
Pure in the haze the emerald sun dilates,
The lips of sparrows milk the mossy stones,
While white as water by the lake a girl
Swims her green hand among the gathered swans.
Now as the almond burns its smoking wick,
Dropping small flames to light the candled grass;
Now, as my low blood scales its second chance,
If ever world were blessed, now it is.
from A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year, edited by Jane McMorland Hunter, published by Batsford
The Sun Has Burst The Sky by Jenny Joseph
The sun has burst the sky
Because I love you
And the river its banks.
The sea laps the great rocks
Because I love you
And takes no heed of the moon dragging it away
And saying coldly ‘Constancy is not for you’.
The blackbird fills the air
Because I love you
With spring and lawns and shadows falling on lawns.
The people walk in the street and laugh
I love you
And far down the river ships sound their hooters
Crazy with joy because I love you.
And I like In a between world by Louis MacNeice – but I’m sorry I don’t know where I found this poem – can anyone help?
How we rode after haytiming
Soft weft of halters slapped our sides in our dash
to the paddock for the fastest.
Then the calling and the catching,
ponies wiry-lipped at pockets.
We led them out through a gate hinged on string
and slid the slippery shine of bareback
fingers twisted into manes, neck-reined,
fast trotting up the track
for tack, leaned back against the jolting, the joking.
Then in Long Field we were sharp and skinny
on hard old saddles,
greyed our knuckles on flashing shoulders.
Out on the stubble, squinting at sun, we held the yaw
and flare of ponies in their weaving line –
tightened the rising lightness on the bit
– till a shout
hairtriggered them to flight –
and with stomach’s lurch of thrillful risk
and roaring air in underwater ears –
we hurled our ponies
full belt down the light.
in a field of docks rain falls on us
here are white hanks of sheepswool
pegged like washing
between drying posts
we breathe in lanolin and damp
by clouded reeds a tatty ewe
her off-fore lame
lurches away with her twins
her bag all lumpy with mastitis
you said it wouldn’t last
an orange tip butterfly over a stile
Both of these poems are by Jean Atkin and are published in How Time is in Fields (IDP, 2019) available at https://jeanatkin.com/publications/
Thank you so much Jean, for allowing us to include them here
SHREWSBURY, FRIDAY MORNING, 27TH MARCH 2020
My bicycle’s the new order of freedom:
she folds out of the hallway onto the road
and into an extraordinary morning.
She freewheels headlong down Wyle Cop,
knowing that later I must pedal her back up –
it’s this shared thing we’ve got going.
We cycle on, meander round the path
which skirts the Severn’s loop. The latest flood’s
backed down, shrunk between the banks.
Out in the clear, we hear what blackbirds
have sung for brief generations,
and don’t understand all of it,
but know it’s to do with the fresh swell
of spring, falling blossom, feathers,
this very minute, flight.
The grass in the park is fresh-cut –
how we’d like to stop, drop to the ground,
loll about in the sun, risk sap and earth,
but we’re compelled to keep going,
warning head-bowed walkers of an approach,
ringing our bell like a leper’s warning.
Shrewsbury: 27 March 2020
Thank you so much Liz, for use of your poem, which is featured in Carol Ann Duffy’s project to create a platform where poets can write about the pandemic and their personal experience of it.
I watched the sun moving round the kitchen,
an early spring sun that strengthened and weakened,
coming and going like an old mind.
I watched like one bedridden for a long time
on their first journey back into the world
who finds it enough to be going on with:
the way the sunlight brought each possession in turn
to its attention and made of it a small still life:
the iron frying pan gleaming on its hook like an ancient find,
the powdery green cheek of a bruised clementine.
Though more beautiful still was how the light moved on,
letting go each chair and coffee cup without regret
the way my grandmother, in her final year, received me:
neither surprised by my presence, nor distressed by my leaving,
content, though, while I was there.
Thank you Esther, for allowing us to use your poem here.
Spring Shower, Metheringham Fen by Rory Waterman
We watched the storm drift in across the Fen,
swallowing farms, flushing out blue.
dragging wheezing gusts of oily rain
that slalomed down the windowpane
and pattered millionfold across the wheat.
Ants filed through the cracks in grouting
jostling like potatoes in a chute.
The window whinnied. Half a mile
beyond the barn, an artic’ slamming through spray
flicked on its headlights, went on its way.
We saw the storm slide through and out again.
a chirrup burst from the sycamore,
earthworms glinted like morsels on the tar
and sunshine drew us through the door
to cold, sweet air and puddles full of sky.
from Tonight the Summer’s Over by Rory Waterman published by Carcanet
Thank you, Rory, for letting us use this poem, (I’m so glad you included it in your collection!)
I hope you’ve found something here to enjoy, feel free to add your own choices to the comments section below.
(yes this is still the right email!)
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