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October 21, 2011
It's a sad fact that collaborations can divide rather than multiply and there was every chance that this unlikely merger of the wonderful Waterboys and the incomparable Yeats would come up with neither and less. But it's a triumph. Every time Kate Kim sings the word 'Politics' every ounce of what Yeats meant by 'Oh that I were young again and held her in my arms' hits the spot. And Innisfree as a blues? Genius. And the rhythms of Come away , come away at the top of the album make you want to believe in all that Celtic twilight whimsy Yeats brought to its apotheosis before moving on to become the greatest Romantic of the Twentieth century, and a Modernist the equal of Eliot. Before the World Was Made sung once by Mike Scott and then Katie Kins and then together kind of makes Yeats' point. And the playing's vintage Waterboys. It's the Waterboys AND Yeats and AND something more than the sum of these parts. I haven't stopped playing it for two weeks and unless my wife threatens to leave me on that account I can't see that changing any time soon. A supreme vindication of cheek and of not letting anyone's reputation stop you from trying to approach what they did in the cheeky way they did in the first place. Romantic Ireland's not dead and gone or with the Yeats Heritage industry: it's here smelling of Yeatsian Roses.
October 16, 2011
somewhere mellow between
the end of the overblown blackberries
the start of the harvested leaves
on clinical sills
hint at bleached sun
in the hedges
thistle winds to come
to eyes trained on histrionic heights
of Welsh adolescence,
this stubborn serenity,
these mediaeval colours
a great grey blanket billowing unbroken from the North Pole
wild chords of geese in its folds;
the flinty, dependable noun
behind mists of adjectives
Just noticed that I missed out October in my Poem of the Month this year. So I'll sneak it in here and hope I get away with it. It's very much an end of October poem anyway, especially this year when it's been like the Costa del Sol half the time. This poem hung in our local Sedgeford pub for years and got read in another local pub (Ringstead's Gin Trap) this year. I'm putting together a calendar of Norfolk poems: this one will be very hard to shift off the October page.