October 21, 2011

An Appointment With Mr Yeats

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

Sedgeford October

somewhere mellow between

the end of the overblown blackberries


the start of the harvested leaves

fused flies

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


endlessly reassuring:

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.