Guest poem sent in by Jeremy Marshall
(Poem #1372) Autumn Day
The raging colour of this cold Friday Eats up our patience like a fire, Consumes our willingness to endure, Here the crumpled maple, a gold fabric, The beech by beams empurpled, the holy sycamore, Berries red-hot, the rose's core-- The sun emboldens to burn in porphyry and amber. Pick up the remnants of our resignation Where we left them, and bring our loving passion, Before the mist from the dark sea at our feet Where mushrooms cling like limpets in the grass, Quenching our fierceness, leaves us in a worse case.
This is one of my favourite short poems from an English writer who seems not yet to have made it into the Minstrels' gallery. It is from her collection "The Nine Bright Shiners" (1943). It exemplifies two things that I most appreciate in poetry: musical resonance of words and rich visual imagery. I am a lover of autumn, which has now reached my part of the world, and this poem catches for me some of the essence of autumn: stunningly beautiful, but with a chill of mortality that saps the strength from the heart if you linger out of doors to admire it too long. (I love the image of the "dark sea" of evening mist rolling low across the fields.) Anne Ridler worked for T.S. Eliot from 1935 to 1940 at the London publishers Faber and Faber, and he encouraged her in writing poetry. She later edited works by Thomas Traherne, Lawrence Durrell, Walter de la Mare, Charles Williams, and others. Her collected poetry was published by Carcanet in 1995. She also wrote criticism and verse plays, and translated several major opera libretti. When I had begun to try my hand at poetry, she kindly took the trouble to make some constructive comments on my early efforts. She died in October 2001 at the age of 89. Jeremy Marshall There is a photo and brief obituary at [broken link] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/arts/1602716.stm and a bibliography at http://www.4-wall.com/authors/authors_r/ridler_anne.htm