Tuesday, 1 May 2012
Geoffrey Hill, Laureate of Rain
'But leave it now, leave it; as you left
a washed-out day at Stourport or the Lickey,
improvised rainhats mulch for papier-mache,
and the chips floating.
Leave it now, leave it; give it over
to that all-gathering general English light,
in which each separate bead
of drizzle at its own thorn-tip stands
[From The Triumph of Love, which begins and ends with the glorious line 'Sun-blazed, over Romsley, a livid rain-scarp']
'Memory worsening - let it go as rain
streams on half-visible clatter of the wind
lapsing and rising,
that clouds the pond's green mistletoe of spawn,
seeps among nettle-beds and rust-brown sorrel,
perpetual ivy burrowed by weak light...'
'First day of the first week: rain
on perennial ground cover, a sheen
like oil of verdure where the rock shows through;
dark ochre patched more dark, with stubborn glaze;
rough soggy drystone clinging to the fell,
broken by hawthorns...'
[from Speech! Speech!]
'Two nights' and three days' rain, with the Hodder
well up, over its alder roots; tumblings
of shaly late storm light; the despised
ragwort, luminous, standing out,
stereoscopically, across twenty yards,
on the farther bank. The congregants
of air and water, of swift reflection,
vanish between the brightness and shadow...'
[from The Orchards of Syon]
'Sage-green through olive to oxidised copper,
the rainward stone tower-face. Graveyard
blossom comes off in handfuls; the lilac
turned overnight a rough tobacco brown.
Every few minutes the drizzle shakes itself like a dog...'
In Ipsley Church Lane, 2]
'For rain-sprigged yew trees, blockish as they guard
admonitory sparse berries, atrorubent
stone holt of darkness, no, of claustral light...'
'When to depict rain - heavy rain - it stands
in dense verticals diagonally lashed,
chalk-white yet with the chalk translucent;
the roadway sprouts a thousand flowerets,
storm-paddies instantly reaped, replenished,
and again cut down:
the holding burden of a wistaria,
drape amid drape, the sodden
copia of all things flashing and drying:
first here after the storm these butterflies
fixed on each jinking run,
probing, priming, then leaping back,
a babble of silent tongues;
and the flint church also choiring
into dazzle...' [Broken Hierarchies]
There - feels better already, doesn't it?