You know that first smell of autumn? The first morning you leave the house and the air is different?—crisper, with that first whiff of deliciously decaying leaves? That’s one of my favourite moments in the year, and I’ve been looking for a poem which celebrates it. So far I haven’t found quite the thing—do let me know if you know one—but I did like the reference to ‘A touch of cold’ in this small but lovely poem, ‘Autumn‘, by TE Hulme. See what you think.Read More
For wild swimming, that is (or, as a friend of mine commented acidly the other day, “what we used to call going for a swim in the river“). Whatever we call it, it’s one of the pleasures of summer for me. So I was delighted to find this poem online and thus be able to share with you ‘Skinny-Dipping in Vathy‘ by Barbara Quick.Read More
There is good stuff in amongst all the strangeness at the moment, as a lot of people are noting. Some are doing so with a vim and perkiness which I find quite annoying—I rarely find Uplift uplifting—but it’s good to hear the quieter, less trumpety tales. And to notice things, too. Driving up to Scotland last week I was moved to see an oystercatcher walking across the M6 in front of me. I’m kinda glad the world is getting a rest from us.
‘The Horses‘ by Edwin Muir is one of the poems which has been echoing round my mind these last few weeks. Though it offers a post-apocalyptic vision it’s not an unmitigatedly doomy one, and I don’t offer it with a gloomy sense of prophecy. Rather, it’s because I’ve been aware of how strange and lovely I am finding the current silence, or relative silence, on my (rare and legitimate, guv’nor) sorties into the outside world. And silence is what Muir’s poem opens with. (Here are a couple of readings of it, too, one much more fruity and declamatory than the other. See what you think.)Read More