Spring returns

Spring returns

“In an English Spring-Time” is often well received at readings. Last month I made a visit to Cambridge with a friend. (No, not the same person of the poem.) At my request we sought out the shop that sells the amazing Chelsea buns. I now have the establishment’s name. It is Fitzbillies. Their buns are made with real honey. Plus they now serve good coffee next door, too. All better (and cheaper) to order as ‘take away’ and then to eat, of course, on the banks of the Cam.

Some simple pleasures endure.

Operations Meeting, El Dorado

This project allows us
a ruler
with a bit more flexibility.

We are looking for
a firm footing
with a ruler, fully naked.

This will provide
a clear way forward – stripped of all
his clothing.

From January this year,
thanks to Johnathan,
the ruler has been on a raft.

We have been able to
cover him – our ruler – in gold dust
and send him into
the middle of the lake.

We send him out with mounds of jewels
to tip into the depths
while on the banks
the people sing and dance.

We also have operations in Cambridge, Bristol and Brazil.

We believe this expression of micro-cosmos
is a good policy tool.

Another poem in part inspired by an exhibition currently on in London – Beyond El Dorado: Power and Gold in Ancient Columbia at the British Museum.  The museum hosts accompanying free lunch-time lectures presented by curators and experts in the field, a few of which I have attended recently.

When the lectures open, I sit up attentively relishing every new piece of information. I must remember this, remember that. But the open notebook on my lap fills with doodles and interesting snatches, not of content, but of expression that comes out of the lecture.

In part this poem consists of jottings from the BM lunch-time lecture on El Dorado that I attended. The other bits are derived from the sort of meeting jargon anybody who has worked an office job may well recognize.

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In an English spring-time

to me

there be daffodils, bluebells,

crocuses, forget-me-not

in this English spring-time

rain cold from bluer sunlit skies

showers occasional drop

heavy hail bringing

back snow,

cold sunlight white yet in

blue will bloom green to summer

bluebells

2004, Cambridge

This poem features in my recently published (first) volume of poetry.  I write in my postlude that these less polished older poems offer snapshots of my output as it has moved through its development and offer a glimpse of adolescent whimsy for which I am now a little nostalgic.

The ‘real’ events of this poem happened in mid-summer, yet the artistic license of posing events in an English spring-time breathes freshness and new growth into the emotional sentiments and harks back to the listed flowers of a song we learnt at school, “In an English Country Garden.”  Not likely to be judged a mature echo in the tradition of nature poems, this little thought sprung from youthful infatuation in a medieval university town surrounded by pastoral countryside. There were lots of English flowers; all the very flowers I had read about, sung about, read about in poems. I was giddy on travel on youth, and on current buns eaten under willows on the riverbank.

[Image credit: http://www.silkartist.co.uk/practical.htm]

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