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Sunday, 5 June 2011

Moon River

Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota


Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,
Asleep on the black trunk,
blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
The cowbells follow one another
Into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year's horses
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life. 


I don't deliberately search out poems: I have a pristine copy of Ted Hughes' collected works bought 10 years ago. However, I love hearing poetry; another's voice reveals a poem's facets  my internal voice misses.
 
Last night I tuned into "Poetry Please", a regular half hourly programme dedicated to poems chosen mainly by listeners. I was listening, while washing up. The poems were floating around the kitchen like soap bubbles, popping in my face creating mild surprise. Some were very familiar, Donne's "The Sunne Rising", others new to me. One caught me by the throat; its title the hook.

I'd never heard of James Wright, nor this little gem. It was the lines 

"In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year's horses
Blaze up into golden stones."


that intrigued me. 

It's there in my mind's eye, this field ablaze with sunlight and precious stones. And then it's replaced by horses, mares and stallions nuzzling, running, tails raised. And again just the echoing phrase "Blaze up into golden stones". The sound hangs there tempting you to imagine. 

And it's gone, leaving a disappointment because no matter how I try, I can't get back to that first hearing and the startling effect the words had on me. I have a memory of something so much more and seeing those lines reminds me of that.  


Something similar happened this morning. Listening to Desert Island Discs; the guest chose as one of his seven records, "Moon River". Not sung by Andy Williams or one of the other old crooners but by Audrey Hepburn from the film "Breakfast at Tiffany's". She hasn't a great signing voice but boy could she sing that song. It was magical, a revelation. 

What a great way to end a Saturday, and begin a Sunday. 

3 comments:

Steve said...

Poetry is the lifeblood of life and emotion. Over the years I have amasses quite a collection. I used to dip into it regularly but seem to have lost touch with it over recent years. Your post makes me feel like returning to some old favourites... and maybe discovering some new ones.

Steve said...

P.S. Ted Hughes' "Wind" - one of his early ones - is a beauty. Do check it out if you can.

Selina Kingston said...

You're right! Hearing poetry is a completely different experience to reading it. And as for Audrey Hepburn, she was just magical !