Thursday, January 7, 2010

May your embers still glow in the morning

scottish landscape

There's a lot of poetry on my favourite blogs at the moment. Elspeth Thompson's blog features "Twenty blessings" in her New Years post. The last line in particular:

May your embers still glow in the morning

resonates having spent the Christmas period with a coal stove as the 'central' heating - central because the stove stands in the middle of Dan's living room. Dan lit the fire every morning, a task much quicker and warmer if the embers still glowed. I was a chicken and stayed in bed till it thawed out a little.

And Kate Davies at needled had Wallace Stevens’ "The Snow Man", which I enjoyed a lot. I think I must always have had a mind of winter, I've been trying to go north for as long as I can remember. I'm not even sure why. It's very fortunate I have a Dan who can take me as far north as you could want to go without getting in a boat. Going to Durness during the big snow was so exciting and beautiful, it felt like some magic other world to me. Beach, ice, snow covered dunes, cliffs, frozen lochs and snow covered mountains as a backdrop - it was almost too much all in one place. With any luck, if our resolutions come to pass, we will be spending a lot more time there soon enough.

'm going to keep with the poetry theme that's around me now. Dan gave me this Ted Hughes poem to read while we were sat next to the fire one evening, because it reminds him of his house.

This house has been far out at sea all night,
The woods crashing through darkness, the booming hills,
Winds stampeding the fields under the window
Floundering black astride and blinding wet

Till day rose; then under an orange sky
The hills had new places, and wind wielded
Blade-light, luminous black and emerald,
Flexing like the lens of a mad eye.

At noon I scaled along the house-side as far as
The coal-house door. Once I looked up -
Through the brunt wind that dented the balls of my eyes
The tent of the hills drummed and strained its guyrope,

The fields quivering, the skyline a grimace,
At any second to bang and vanish with a flap;
The wind flung a magpie away and a black-
Back gull bent like an iron bar slowly. The house

Rang like some fine green goblet in the note
That any second would shatter it. Now deep
In chairs, in front of the great fire, we grip
Our hearts and cannot entertain book, thought,

Or each other. We watch the fire blazing,
And feel the roots of the house move, but sit on,
Seeing the window tremble to come in,
Hearing the stones cry out under the horizons.

frozen loch


  1. I've been thinking a lot about poetry recently too... winter does that, I think. I love it. The Ted Hughes poem is beautiful - I'd not read it before, so thank you for posting it!

  2. Thanks! I just popped over to your blog and saw your poem too! I'm quite fond of winter light in London Town too, especially when it's reflected on the white facades in some boroughs.


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