Saturday, March 10, 2018

Poetry on Shropshire

A Shropshire Child.

While things have calmed down a bit and feet are being warmed by fires I have been writing poetry about Shropshire where almost all of my schooling took place.

Initially inspired by a fresh look at Alfred Housman's iconic work 'A Shropshire lad', I decided that it was time to write seriously about this fascinating county where, to be fair, I spent far more time than Housman did ( he was in fact reared in Worcestershire and rarely set foot in Shropshire).

Only 16 of the 63 Housman poems in 'A Shropshire lad' actually reference Shropshire and only 15 specific Shropshire locations are referenced in total - that's less than the amount in one of my Shropshire poems!

The problem and dare I say, disappointment for me and possibly many other readers is that, rather than being a series of odes to Shropshire, the collection is rather introspective and melancholy and has very little to say about the County itself.

My self appointed challenge then, is to write 63 poems (I was born in 1963) all of which reference or are inspired by my relationship with Shropshire, its landscape, life and history.

Here then, is a first taste of that effort. Humour tends to be my area but I am thoroughly enjoying writing something a little more weighty. I haven't decided how I might publish this material yet but let me know if you are interested or would like to pass any comment.

The high blue air

Give me days in the high blue air
Where the tide of care recedes,
Where my feet stand firm on solid ground
And my heart no longer bleeds.

Let me lie on a counterpane
Of scented mountain green,
To follow the lark's ascending flight
And see the things unseen.

Catch me when I fall to earth
In the honeyed heather soft,
Where the swifts and martins multiply
Like arrows hurled aloft.

Where whistling swallows dart and dive
At the mayfly's fractured light,
Let me lie and sink in deep
Till the fall of velvet night.

Give me days in the high blue air
When the hovering hawk is near,
High in Shropshire's verdant hills
For I know my heart lies here.

Copyright; Mark Bardsley






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