Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Anthology for Hard Times? 1.

I'm likely to be engulfed in a NigeCorp workstorm for a week or so. On days when I'm not able to post anything substantial of my own, what I'm planning to do is to put up a succession of short poems, with little or no comment (feel free to add your own) - a kind of mini-anthology for hard times. Sweet are the uses of  adversity...
  Here, to start the ball rolling, is Geoffrey Hill's rich, dense evocation of 'Platonic England', written in the form of an Italian (not English!) sonnet:

THE LAUREL AXE

Autumn resumes the land, ruffles the woods   
with smoky wings, entangles them. Trees shine   
out from their leaves, rocks mildew to moss-green;   
the avenues are spread with brittle floods.

Platonic England, house of solitudes,   
rests in its laurels and its injured stone,   
replete with complex fortunes that are gone,   
beset by dynasties of moods and clouds.

It stands, as though at ease with its own world,   
the mannerly extortions, languid praise,   
all that devotion long since bought and sold,

the rooms of cedar and soft-thudding baize,   
tremulous boudoirs where the crystals kissed   
in cabinets of amethyst and frost.
 

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