A Winter’s Tale

Snow

by Walter de la Mare

snowy treeNo breath of wind,
No gleam of sun –
Still the white snow
Whirls softly down
Twig and bough
And blade and thorn
All in an icy
Quiet, forlorn.
Whispering, rustling,
Through the air
On still and stone,
Roof, – everywhere,
It heaps its powdery
Crystal flakes,
Of every tree
A mountain makes;
‘Til pale and faint
At shut of day
Stoops from the West
One wint’ry ray,
And, feathered in fire
Where ghosts the moon,
A robin shrills
His lonely tune.

This poem seems quite fitting, given the time of year and the fact there is a flurry of flakes outside my window right now on this cold winter’s day… The poetry of snow is indeed magical.

Over the past week or so I’ve been listening on and off to a CD of poetry which I found amongst a collection of freebies you sometimes get from newspapers. I had never listened to it before but, given my newly rekindled interest in all things poetic, I decided to give it a go.

Stalwarts of the trade, including Wilfred Owen, WH Auden, TS Elliot, Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath and Seamus Heaney were all recorded and, listening to them speaking from beyond the grave so to speak, was both poignant and inspiring. I had to agree with the narrator that poetry can perhaps be best appreciated when read aloud and can take on a new meaning, or indeed, convey its meaning more easily this way.snow dunes

I particularly liked Plath’s readings of Parliament Hill and The Applicant – both very different but both, read in her clipped tone, beautiful in their own way – even with the barbed words of the second.

One thing mentioned by the narrator (who was a little scathing of ‘would-be poets’ as she called them, ie. people, I assume, who write poetry but aren’t ‘professionally published’), was that listening to poetry inspires one to write better poetry. I agree. It goes hand-in-hand with the idea that reading widely makes you a better writer of prose. With poetry however, I always thought there was a much finer line which could be crossed between writing your own, original, work and emulating another poet whose work you admire. Poems are, by decree, generally much shorter than prose, and similarities in style are therefore much more easily noticed…

Each ‘would-be poet’ will have their own unique voice however, and I believe this is what will always, eventually, come through. In terms of my own poetry, if I were to take it a little more seriously, I would work at each one a lot more. As it is, I tend to pen a poem and then leave it as it is. This is something I think I’ll change in the future.Tailor of Gloucester

Anyway, as Christmas is but a few days away, I’ve decided to share one of my favourite festive tales with you and it is…. The Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter.

It tells the tale of a penniless old tailor commissioned to create a beautiful Christmas Day wedding coat for the Lord Mayor, and what happens when he becomes too ill to finish it and runs out of cherry-coloured twist…

It is the old ones which are sometimes the best, I think, and this story has it all – the scrooge of a cat who betrays the tailor but comes good in the end; the helpful, but unseen little mice, who scurry around after-hours to make everything right, and so embody the spirit of Christmas giving; and of course, the magic of Christmas Eve – when all are tucked up in bed and only the animals venture out in the snow…

When Christmas Day comes, all is as it should be, and the bells ring out to herald in a truly special day – a day in which everyone is touched by the warmth this festive holiday brings.Santa

Merry Christmas!

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1 Comment

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One response to “A Winter’s Tale

  1. Merry Christmas to you too!

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