Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Summer Footnotes

And who says I can't do short entries? (In the interest of variety and spice and all that - and preventing tedium of course....) 

So here's a few short summer observations I'm sharing. Observation of course, being the inherent vocation of the poet/writer. The number one rule of writing. The first lesson in every writing class. The first page in every writing manual. It's a writer's 9 to 5 criteria (our only 9-to-5 anything for that matter!) Observation provides the seeds of inspiration. And if we water them and look after them, maybe they'll grow into something more. Whereas some are just meant to be random and fleeting,  'love ya and leave ya' type. But either way, they're good for the craft.

Anyway, a few signs that summer has arrived or, is definitely on its way (according to me) are:

-big blue cloudless sky  (cerulean blue wide vista, an undeniable banner of summer, hurray!)

-yellow roses in bloom (talking synaesthesia, June is the 'yellow' month of course - honey, sunlight, buttercups, pollen... and sherbet lemons)

-lawnmowers on the go daily (the soundtrack of summer, and freshly mown grass its smell, even though the end result could be baldy lawns...)

-cat on a hot tin roof (sighted yesterday evening: a young tabby lolling around soaking up the heat on a neighbour's aluminium shed roof)

-swallows darting around acrobatically, like electric bolts. (So that's why they're the en vogue symbol for free-spiritedness? Suits. Note-to-self: swallow tattoo on future to-do list.)

-chilled chardonnay al fresco (lazily watching the day recede into a pink and orange sunblushed sky, and then a midnight-blue, moonshine bright dark, accompanied by a glass of dissolved bubbles) 

-red geraniums (their curly heads in bloom by the front door, terracotta pot a deliberate reminder of continental culture)

-bees (the bees are back, buzzing and a bumbling in gardens; in admiration of their hard work and nectar-collecting sole focus)

-Watching 'A Good Year', the film adaptation of Peter Mayle's sunny Provence novel (my summer staple, Provence the ultimate distillation of summer)

What's your summer footnotes? Share please!

And in the spirit of summer - its numerous and glorious blooms, and its busy heralders, bees, here's a poem by Carol Ann Duffy, a sort of ode to bees and blooms, written for the Guardian  Review in response to the 2010 campaign to reduce carbon emissions. Recent studies of course, have shown just how vital bees are to our entire eco-system, so next time you're tempted to scream and shoo and swat them away, remember Duffy's words at the end here. 

Carol Ann Duffy by the way, is one of my favourite poets, especially for her language. I covet her lilting and sharply precise style, I really do! She is the one of the greatest poets writing today, and definitely one of the most accessible. 

No matter where you are, this poem will place you in a flower-filled garden, pronto. 
Let's hope our summer 'sighs in roses' and that we are 'smitten' by its fragrance. Enjoy.

~ Siobhán

'Virgil’s Bees' - Carol Ann Duffy

Bless air's gift of sweetness, honey
from the bees, inspired by clover,
marigold, eucalyptus, thyme,
the hundred perfumes of the wind.

Bless the beekeeper
who chooses for her hives
a site near water, violet beds, no yew,
no echo. Let the light lilt, leak, green
or gold, pigment for queens,
and joy be inexplicable but there
in harmony of willowherb and stream,
of summer heat and breeze,
each bee's body
at its brilliant flower, lover-stunned,
strumming on fragrance, smitten.

For this,
let gardens grow, where beelines end,
sighing in roses, saffron blooms, buddleia;
where bees pray on their knees, sing, praise
in pear trees, plum trees; bees
are the batteries of orchards, gardens, guard them.

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