Poetry

Making honey from past failures

Making honey from past failures

In an earlier post I wrote a poem about our need to be loved and suggested that we want to feel an unconditional love hold us, know our failings but never mention them, make them of no account. The Spanish poet Antonio Machado wrote the poem “Last Night As I Was Sleeping” in which he imagines that there are honey bees inside his heart busy making honey of his old failures.

The instinct of hope

Is there another world for this frail dust
To warm with life and be itself again?
Something about me daily speaks there must,
And why should instinct nourish hopes in vain?
‘Tis nature’s prophesy that such will be,
And everything seems struggling to explain
The close sealed volume of its mystery.

Time wandering onward keeps its usual pace
As seeming anxious of eternity,
To meet that calm and find a resting place.
E’en the small violet feels a future power
And waits each year renewing blooms to bring,
And surely man is no inferior flower
To die unworthy of a second spring?

‘The Instinct Of Hope’ by John Clare.

Poetry is our way, sometimes clumsily, to paint truth with words. I know there are many other definitions and a variety of different poetic forms but at it’s core, like all authentic art, poetry acts in the service of truth.

It’s not just another day

In an earlier post, on a Suffolk walk, I mentioned my ingratitude for not fully appreciating the gift of a beautiful morning. In many ways we find ourselves in a time where the certainties of established religions have less of a hold on us, and yet so many of us still perceive (almost like a fragrance that we can’t name) a call to the spiritual. That call provides us with a moral compass of sorts, but also has a bias towards beauty and truth.

The lonely sea and the sky

Dunstanburgh Castle from Embleton, Northumberland. I’ve been longing to visit the sea again. As a child my sisters and I were lucky enough to go on holidays to Wales, holidays sunlit in memory, full of the present and the unconscious and unspoken gratitude of children. They were times of buckets and spades, clear air and sound sleep, safety and gentleness. It seems that the sea is often calling, and as an adult I have come to associate this same call with a more general longing, hard to articulate but definitely present.

Philip Larkin (1922-1985)

Philip Larkin by Fay Goodwin Like many , Philip Larkin is one of my favourite poets. His poem ‘Cut Grass’ evokes the English summer as well as anything I’ve read. Cut grass lies frail: Brief is the breath Mown stalks exhale Long, long the death It dies in the white hours Of young-leafed June With chestnut flowers With hedges snowlike strewn White lilac bowed, Lost lanes of Queen Anne’s lace And that high-builded cloud Moving at summer’s pace