Helen Tookey, whose poem ‘At Burscough, Lancashire’ from her book Telling the Fractures we featured a few weeks ago, writes to recommend ‘Hen Felin’ by poet Grevel Lindop, from the collection Playing With Fire (Carcanet Press, 2006) Helen has written a substantial and fascinating exploration of the poem which we’ll publish tomorrow:
There is a white house sunk in the long grass
and a spring rises, no one knows from where
and there is nothing, nothing and again nothing.
The nothings talk together in the house.
The beach breathes when the tide hisses along it,
each pebble bald as a moon; and the moon rises,
and the rocks melt and wrinkle the bright sea.
Part of me has been living here for years
among the nothings and the silences
which are not nothing and are never silent.
And stranded under the long grass and the weeds
a wooden boat, her timbers sprung by time
the white wood mildewed, SWALLOW on the bow:
a white moon drowning in a green sea.
The knitwork tapestry of furballed goosegrass,
pink spikes of willowherb have run her through
but still the unstaunched spring whispers and sings
and will not let her rest and turn to earth
but long past hope still sets the empty heart
echoing to the perpetual music of water.