Sunshine in Normandie

At last the rain seems to have stopped for a day or two. The sun is spilling over the edge of the field and orchard, everything is growing like there is no tomorrow. So woke up in a different space – golden and soothing.
Yesterday went swimming with Anick and my neck and head survived it so I’m feeling more confident in the improvement. So now to a more disciplined life of eating and exercising, stretching between writing and reading, small gardening tasks and…..well it’s a wonderful life.
I have nearly finished reading through Neil Astley’s Bloodaxe anthology ‘Being Human’. It’s taken a couple of weeks but I just wanted to read it like an ordinary book although I attended to its extraordinary passages too. What I like about this anthology is that most of the poems are new to me – lots of American poetry, translation, eastern, antipodean, so that I have kept meeting new poets and poems every day. It’s a funny way to read poems, one after the other, although I do actually read most of them twice. Next run through maybe I’ll read aloud the ones I really like – I think about making a recording of my favourite poems so I can lie down and listen to them.
I’ve just got a copy of some of David Jones’s poems on CD and am going to listen to that today. Kay and I both enthused by Penny’s poem about Vexilla Regis – the ancient hymn – and David Jones’s wonderful pencil and wash drawing which we all know from Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge. I found different versions of the hymn on line and one is particularly beautiful – I think by Purcell. I listened to it again and again but now it has slipped away somewhere into the dim regions of the computer and I will have to find it again.
I have found myself writing a lot about journeys – its sprung from Ha Noi – which is giving me dreams and entangled thoughts and emotions about war and suffering. Today I wrote about the journey from the ice of Skardu to Gilgit where the blossom was on the trees – it was a very important journey and I have tried to write it and tell it a number of times but this is the first time as a poem. I might post part of it into my poems section, not put anything in there for a long time but this is partly because nothing ever really feels finished enough at the moment. I am into pruning and shaping but the poem doesn’t stay still enough sometimes for me to sense the poems inside the words – it’s like the way people talk about the sculptor finding the truth of the image inside the wood or stone. Today I will add some more poems when I have worked on them a bit. I think I have found the end of Ha Noi; it’s been a strange journey this one. Lots of things that keep rising up in other poems seem to have found their place in this long narrative poem. I am enjoying writing it very much but it is much more difficult than I anticipated. At least now I have started to share bits of it which helps to get a distant perspective.
It’s so good to be back writing without pain – a lesson learned I hope, all advices noted!

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Sunshine in Normandie

  1. june

    Do you remember Just William’s little nemesis, Violet Elizabeth Bott?
    I tried to order “Exchanging Hats” from the publisher, pressed all the right buttons and it refused to “go”! The computer makes me want to “scream and scream until I’m sick”
    I didn’t know that David Jones also wrote poems. Thanks for that. I still treasure my Kettle’s Yard catalogue-nowhere quite like it.
    Sun has arrived here too. What a difference-everyone so cheerful and gracious.

  2. If only thcweaming until you’re thick had any effect on the implacability of technology, June!
    My work disappears – I stare hopelessly at the screen – where are you, words of mine? What existence did you ever have? Ah, l’ennuie de vivre, le chagrin de l’ecrivain, hein, cheres amies?

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