Tag Archives: green man

The Singing Bowl: Glances

Grantchester Meadows

Grantchester Meadows

Here is another poem from The Singing Bowl, in advance of its publication in October. I mentioned in my last post that The Singing Bowl begins with a section called Local Habitations, celebrating epiphanies in particular places. This is followed by a section called ‘The Four Loves’ which is a set of poems exploring and evoking love and friendship. This poem, Glances, which opens that second section, is in some ways a bridge between the two. It is a celebration of love and friendship, but like the poems in the first section, it is also about an epiphany in a particular place. ‘The Green Man’ in this poem is a pub in Grantchester, and the meadow, is of course Grantchester meadows, already so celebrated in song and poetry. The epiphany was a sudden awareness of everything as gift and especially of receiving a familiar landscape as a new and unfamiliar gift because you see it through someone else’s eyes.

As always you can hear the poem by clicking on the title or the ‘play’ button

Glances

For Maggie and Cathy

Down from the Green Man, where the meadow starts,

And through the meadow to the running stream

We saunter into summer side by side,

The three of us, and watch as three swans glide

Like some heraldic emblem in a dream

That only opens up to open hearts.

Walking between you everything I see

Is doubled and redoubled through your eyes

And through the words and silences we share,

And everything is gift! I stop and stare.

Everything dances, everything! Surprise

Glances between you both, glances to me,

And glances from the child in me who stands

Unseen between us almost holding hands.

like some heraldic emblem in a dream

like some heraldic emblem in a dream

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The Singing Bowl: Southwell Leaves

pgreenman

The Green Man at Southwell

To celebrate the fact that we now have a publication date (October 25th) and a Launch Date (November 6th) for my new volume of poetry The Singing Bowl, I am going to feature some of the poems in it, on this blog in some of my posts leading up to the publication. It is a more wide-ranging colection than Sounding the Seasons, and its opening section ‘Local Habitations’ is a series of poems celebrating moments of epiphany in specific and particular places. Today’s poem, Southwell Leaves was inspired by the extraordinary mediaeval ‘green man’ and foliage carvings in Southwell Minster. It is also in some ways a companion piece to my song The Green Man. In that song I celebrate fruitfulness, fecundity and resurrection, with just an implicit hint of the hidden Christ in the Green Man imagery, but in this poem I go more deeply into that Christ-presence and focus on o the cross, on the letting go, the seed that is willing to have its husk flailed away and be dropped into dark winter ground, that there might be resurrection for us all.

As usual you can hear me read the poem by clicking on the title or the ‘play’ button

Southwell Leaves

Amidst the tympanum

His stone hair startles from

A face in the foliage.

Not just the bearded barleycorn

But a whole field springing,

The vine and all its tendrils,

Unfold from the face,

Trip from the tongue

That speaks the Word

Amidst the tympanum.

 

But by the rood-screen here,

His face is set like flint,

The Word unheard,

He gives his back to the smiters

His cheeks to them that pluck out the hair,

His spring is come to shame and spitting,

Under the blows the cut stones splinter

The Green Man comes to winter,

To the harness and the harrow

As flails fall to split the bearded husk

And seeds fall to the furrow,

Amidst the tympanum,

Hard by the rood-screen here.

southwell leaves

Southwell Leaves

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