Where Does a Poem Come From?

24 Nov

 It might made me think: she enjoyed the poems but ‘wanted to know more - the context for the thoughts’ behind them.   So how did my poetry collection Perfect Day come to be?  Well, to begin with there is a very deliberately chosen sequence to it: the poems do not appear in the order they were written.  That was over a two year period, with a few – considerably changed – derived from much further back in the past.  The first one I wrote was ‘Botanic Gardens’, a first draft of which came after a visit to the Botanic Gardens in Cambridge on a November day of startlingly clear light.  Twenty years ago such a day would have seen a savage frost.  I had been watching, with some sadness, two couples walking in the sunshine, the women as bright as sparrows, the men cowed and plodding.  

My poems come from memory for the most part and it helps that I have kept diaries for many years, recording places I’ve been, things I’ve seen, people.  A couple of lines in a notebook is often a starting point for a poem, sometimes is the opening line of it.  It might be the memory of a journey, or a place or sometimes an experience.  I am very drawn towards the past, to nostalgia and to the effect of passing time.  The prevailing mood of the verse in Perfect Day is one of looking back in time; often, I realise from rereading the collection, one that is a good memory tinged with a foretaste of darker things.  The poem Perfect Day was about just that, a wedding on a glorious Spring day when the possibility of future darkness is faint, but present.  Reading through the poems again I recognise an underlying sadness: operations sometimes do not end well; friends pass away; weather breaks; and the future is unknown.  But there is something else to be read in this collection: the resilience and courage of people; the importance of resistance; the beauty of landscape; the events that make us what we are; and the magic of place.

* The email will not be published on the website.