Flood alert (5)

Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire

I hold with those who favor fire

[Robert Frost: Fire and ice]

clare 19


A kind of enchantment


Anything to make a spark; the heat of frictions, say

a fire-drill stich to spin in its cup of wood,

a small drift of smoke, the glow and the catch

of teased wisps, dry-leaf skeletons. Or

the splinter of struck flint that falls on kindling,

that’s blown to a tender leaf of flame.

How you have to crouch and concentrate,

how still you need to stay, everthing focussed

like a burning-glass, how still you make yourself

by the slow brown river, huge with silt,

turbid with the twist of snags and boils. And

you know the hand is everything,

its finger pads, the plump muscle of its palm,

the way the wrist bones flex, that leverage.

You don’t consider this at all, thinking only

of fire,  of its heat, its light, how fragile it is,

how it must be nursed, and after, fed,

how it must be checked and pruned

lest it overgrow itself and bolt. You breathe

its incense, rub your eyes. The river goes  its way.

clare 20


If I were called in
To construct a religion
I should make use of water.

Going to church
Would entail a fording
To dry, different clothes


[Philip Larkin The Whitsun Weddings]


And there you have it. Five short posts to get you in the mood to celebrate Clare Shaw’s new collection Flood. Which we’ll be looking at on Sunday, and saying: Wow!!


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