Wednesday, March 4, 2015

West Yorkshire Through a Coach Window in Late Autumn - Chris Hart

Mackerel sun squares
fast passing
brinded banded clouds
blue and white
light checkering
checkerboard hedges
edged green
grass fields,
fallow or full,
fall in bloom,
womb of earth,
last birth before

I sigh
and think of you.

This poem, as the title might suggest, was written as I took a coach (since we're talking and writing in England, may as well say that instead of bus, right?) from Leeds to London last November.  I still consider it a fragment, and will revisit it at some point, I think.  I'm not sure about the last two lines, and I think I may want to add another stanza which reflects the bus, because I'm not sure I quite captured the moving nature of the landscape when viewed at motorway speeds.  As it stands, I tried to create a very fast moving poem, by using similar sounding words to begin and end every line.  White light, checkering checkerboards, etc.  I think it mostly worked, and the landscape did briefly look like a second spring to me, as the last late fields were ready for harvesting.  It was very beautiful, and reminded me pretty strongly of my own Connecticut homeland, which was comforting to me, as at the time I wrote this poem, I had been away for over 16 months.

I'm not sure if this poem is a success, but I can never be the one to judge that.  That's for you, reader, so I hope that the poem can stand on its own merit in absence of my explanation.


  1. I like this poem very much, and I wondered if you had Hopkins' Pied Beauty in mind when you wrote it? I seemed to catch echoes in fallow or full, and the repeat of checkered. Or is it just that it's hard to write about a larger view of the English lanscape wtihout mentioning its patchwork-quilt quality?

    I have only recently signed up to A Poem a Day and have very much enjoyed all your choices so far, and your accompanying comments.

    1. Thanks very much for signing up! I'm always glad to bring poetry to people daily.

      I have been a fan of Hopkins for quite some time, so even if it was not fresh in my mind when I wrote this, it would certainly have influenced me. I think it's impossible to discuss the English landscape without thinking about that patchwork-quilt quality, as you say. It reminded me quite a bit of my home New England landscape.