I was very distressed to read that The Oxford Junior Dictionary had been ‘culling’ words concerning nature’, words like catkin, acorn, cowslip, otter meadow, in order to make room for words like broadband, chatroom, and celebrity. Reading the list of deletions in alphabetical order, as they are presented in the image above, which I first saw taken from Simon Kings wildlife page, I felt there was a poem waiting to be uttered just in the sheer listing, and lost sounds, in these lovely names, so I set them, as they were, and in their order, in this lament.
I have since discovered the source of the list in the image above in an excellent article by Robert McFarlane, who is doing so much to restore the richness and texture of our language and to celebrate our wild places.
As always you can hear it by clicking on the title or the ‘play’ button
For various reasons I have been contemplating mortality, love, and loss of late and here is a poem which sprung out of that. Not that the poem is strictly autobiographical, I am not, as far as I know, about to leave this world, but I think it is good sometimes to imagine one’s last day, as prompted by happenstance, if only to cherish the more what Larkin called ‘the million-petalled flower of being here’.
I decided on this occasion to work with another metre, a different drum as it were. I usually write in iambs, often iambic pentameter, but on this occasion I opted for dactyls which gives the metre a strong spring and push, emphasising the incantatory effect of the repeated ‘never’s. Indeed I confess this poem was written as much for its music as for it’s meaning.
The picture below, whilst not quite ‘a resinous glade’ is one of the lovely woodland paths around Girton in which I delight to walk and sometimes compose.
As usual you can hear the poem by clicking on the title or the play button