heroes and heroines

8 October, 2009

I thought I’d make up for my lack of posting recently by just quickly linking to Carol Ann Duffy‘s poem for today – National Poetry Day (the theme is ‘heroes and heroines’). I meant to post at some point that I heard Duffy read at UEA’s literary festival last week, and she was fantastic: funny, engaging, warm. A few of her poems brought tears to my eyes, and it was magical to hear her read ‘Prayer’. Sublime, even (which I’ve been thinking about from my sickbed today – battling to get my Poetics reading done for tomorrow and reading Longinus’ On the Sublime)

In other poetry news, apparently T. S. Eliot is the nation’s favourite poet, according to the BBC’s poll to celebrate National Poetry Day. I have to say, much as I love Eliot, I find this rather surprising… although maybe people are thinking of Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats rather than The Wasteland…

And congratulations to Don Paterson, who last night won the Forward poetry prize for his collection Rain. I haven’t read it yet, but I very much enjoyed Landing Light when I read it last year, and in fact I’ve been re-reading bits of it in the last week or so. Great stuff.

I’ll leave you with a poem that I wrote for my own heroine – my mum, of course.

Snowdrops
‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.’

For most of the year’s length, its slow turn
you lie hidden, held in the cool earth’s cupped palms
a fastening of concentric skins, tissued
layers, tightly wrapped and packed like a parcel.

All around is shift and tangled tumble
the rustle of leaf and stalk. Finger deep
your minute processes unfurl – cells bloom
roots reach and stretch in a gritty embrace

until early spring, when freshly minted
fleshy leaves appear. On supple blown-glass stems
buds lift and shed their paper wraps: like a gift
petals condense in delicate drifts

as unexpected you break the cold crust
of earth as if to say look, here, now, this.

This post brought to you by Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, hot lemon and honey and the wonder of my first non-liquid meal since Sunday

2 Responses to “heroes and heroines”

  1. Hannah Smith said

    Hey KV,

    Hope you’re doing ok. Just to say I really enjoyed reading ‘Snowdrops’ – you are really a proper poet – Congrats 🙂 xx

  2. Julene said

    Yes, I really liked snowdrops too.

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