I am delighted to announce that the first public reading in Cambridge of ‘After Prayer,‘ my new sonnet sequence written in response to George Herbert’s poem Prayer, will take place in Trinity College Chapel, Herbert’s own chapel in his Cambridge days. It is an honour to read in such a significant and resonant place, and especially so as the performance will include music from members of Trinity College Choir, singing Vaughan Williams settings of some of Herbert’s poems. This will be a unique, and memorable occasion, and will take place at 8pm on the 24th of February, free of charge. There will be an opportunity, for conversation, a glass of wine, and book signing afterwards. Do come along if you are in or near Cambridge.
By way of a taster for the event, here is my sonnet on Herbert’s phrase ‘The Soul in Paraphrase’. In this case I decided to write a poem which imitates the structure of Herbert’s original sonnet by creating a list of phrases, which in different ways, paraphrase, and admit defeat in paraphrasing, the poem’s subject.
As always you can hear me read the poem by clicking on the title or the ‘play’ button.
A fledgling hidden in an ancient tree,
Singing unseen and darkling to the stars,
The fount and spring of meaning, just upstream
Of every utterance, unsullied, free,
A prisoner who grips and bends her bars,
The one who begs to differ, dares to dream,
A child astray, still calling to your heart,
A pattern, personal as all the swirls
In fingerprints on hands that hands have held,
Wholeness that knows itself within each part,
A flag whose emblem every breath unfurls,
A chasm bridged, and an old heartache healed,
A new day at the end of all your days,
A mystery you’ll never paraphrase.