Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been making the most of what London has to offer. There’s so much to see and do in this incredible city; music, art, dance, poetry, all just a bus ride away.
A visit to the Southbank Centre, and my first time inside the Royal Festival Hall for an evening with the brilliant punk poet John Cooper Clarke and friends, sparked my desire to read poetry again.
I read a fair amount of Seamus Heaney when I was a bookseller and a recent documentary about his life and work was a wonderful reminder of just what an incredible wordsmith he was.
His work is best summed up in the statement which accompanied his 1995 Nobel Prize for Literature: Awarded for “works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past.”
Sloe Gin (1984)
The clear weather of juniper
darkened into winter.
She fed gin to sloes
and sealed the glass container.
When I unscrewed it
I smelled the disturbed
tart stillness of a bush
rising through the pantry.
When I poured it
it had a cutting edge
I drink to you
in smoke-mirled, blue-black,
polished sloes, bitter
Whilst rummaging around the new Foyles for poetry, I also picked up a copy of Gilead by Marilynne Robinson published in 2004 and a bestseller at the time. Gilead is a long letter from Reverend John Ames to his youngest son as he reflects on his life in its closing stages. I’m not sure if I’ll have the capacity to read Gilead through this month so it’s sat on my bedside table awaiting a quieter time. Have you read it and if so what did you think about it?
Laura is reading The Fairy Tales of Herman Hesse which has made me wonder about exploring fairy tales at some point again soon. It has been a long time since I read any fairy tales and I don’t know if you can just dip your toe in and try a few, there is so much to explore. Maybe I’ll check out that department next time I’m in a bookshop.
Pop over to Laura’s beautiful blog, Circle of Pine Trees, to see what others are reading and join in: