Friday, 15 February 2013

My love of words

When I was young I used to read poetry and I laboriously copied out my favourite pieces. First in longhand, then on a typewriter. By the time computers came along, I'd stopped doing it, but I still have the file with all those fabulous words on flimsy pieces of paper. Most of the poems still have the power to move me. Kathleen Raine was a favourite, and still is.

There is stone in me that knows stone,
Substance of rock that remembers the unending unending
simplicity of rest
While scorching suns and ice ages
Pass over rock-face swiftly as days.
In the longest time of all come the rock's changes,
Slowest of all rhythms, the pulsations
That raise from the planet's core the mountain ranges
And weather them down to sand on the sea-floor.

Remains in me record of rock's duration.
My ephemoral substance was still in the veins of the earth from the beginning,
Patient for its release, not questioning
When, when will come the flowering, the flowing,
The pulsing, the awakening, the taking wing,
The long longed-for night of the bridegroom's coming.

There is stone in me that knows stone,
Whose sole state is stasis
While the slow cycle of the stars whirls a world of rock
Through the light-years where in nightmare I fall crying
"Must I travel  fathomless distance for ever and ever?"
All that is in me of rock, replies
"For ever, if it must be: be, and be still; endure."

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