A Spring Interlude; ‘Out In The Elements’

In the little space between Mothering Sunday, which was also of course Refreshment Sunday!! (what a relief!) and Passion Sunday, I thought we might have some refreshment and change here as well before resuming the sonnets, so I am posting a new poem which is an experiment in using Spenserian Stanzas. It’s about a walk on a wild wet windy early spring day but as you will see its also about the four elements within and around us and also, perhaps a little meditation on those hints in Paul that in Christ’s redemption and renewal of humanity will also be the redmption, in and through us, of all nature, that ‘the creation waits with eager longing of a hidden glory in us to be revealed’. Anyway I hope you enjoy it.

Once again I am indebted to Margot Krebs Neale for the beautiful images which accompany these poems. As usual you can hear it by clicking on the title or on the ‘play’ sign

Out in the Elements

I crunch the gravel on my ravelled walks
And clabber with my boots in the wet clay
For I myself am clay that breathes and talks
Articulated earth, I move and pray
Alive at once to walk and be the way.
The root beneath, the branch above the tree
These hedges bright with blossom, white with May,
Everything concentrates, awaits in me
the coming of the One who sets creation free

Earth opens now to sudden drumming rains,
The raised and falling waters of the sea
Whose tidal pull and play is in my veins
Spilling and spreading, filling, flowing free
Whose ebb and flow is still at work in me
And in the wombing pulse of play and work
When heart beats pushed in waves of empathy
Till waters broke and bore me from the dark
And found this foundered shore and took me from the ark

As rain recedes I pause to fill my pipe
And kindle fire that flickers into light
And lights the leaf all curled and cured and ripe
Within a burr-starred bowl. How fierce and bright
It glows against the cold. And I delight
In taste and fragrance, watching  whisps of grey
And graceful smoke in their brief flight,
As sun breaks from the clouds and lights my way
I feel the fire  that makes the light that makes the day

Now air is all astir in breaks and blasts,
The last grey rags of cloud are blown aside
The hedgerows hush and rustle in the gusts
As clean winds whistle round me. Far and wide
Bent grasses and frail flowers lean aside
I breathe the world in with this brimming breeze
That tugs at me and eddies at my side
Quickens and flickers through the tangled trees
And breathes me back to life and brings me to my knees

Akin to every creature I  will learn
From each and all the meaning of my birth
I love the dust to which I will return
The subtle substance of my mother earth,
From water born by fire fathered forth,
An index and epitome of nature,
I sum and summon all the world is  worth,
And breathing now His elemental air
I find the One  within, without, and everywhere.

I find the One within, without, and everywhere


Filed under imagination, Poems

8 responses to “A Spring Interlude; ‘Out In The Elements’

  1. Phil Davies

    Malcolm, loved it. Not normally into poems (nothing against them though) but this one evoked feelings – like being there. Thanks.

  2. Margot Krebs Neale

    You gave me little time for this one and it is so full of images…They rise out of every line. Water and birth literally sprang out of my first reading but returning to it, they are so many more!

    • malcolmguite

      Yes, Margot, sorry it was such short notice, it was a sudden impulse to post it up, I now realise i had that strong impulse almost exactly on the spring equinox! I would be delighted if you made some more images and we could post them up here! I am also quite excited by the possibilities of this particular form so i maybe writing one or two other longer ones like this, but ill let you have those more in advance!

  3. Beautiful. I loved the nature imagery and the inclusion of the four elements (no surprises there!)

  4. Just beautiful, Malcolm. Indeed, “The last grey rags of cloud are blown aside” I could say more, but why? I’m so glad you are writing these lovely poems. Thank you.

  5. Reblogged this on Sally Ann Dyer's blog and commented:
    I’ve had a busy week and no time to write, but glad to receive this post sent by a friend and it’s a great poem with beautiful creative insights, well worth sharing. Wish I’d written it – but I’m not that good and I don’t smoke a pipe! Happy Spring everyone xx

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