A gift from poet Peter Armstrong.......

 

Peter reading at Colpitts Poetry

 

Wolds Songs
for William Martin on his Eightieth birthday
 
 
Milky clarts of chalk;
a saints' bone table-land.
 
Or here the Ur potter
smashed his early pieces
and spread them evenly across the fields.
 
From the mizzle into the mizzle
you take one step and then the next
 
with God's as hard as the flints of the field
Love's as soft as the fallow.
 
******
 
Dapple of plantation shadow.
Lapwing, curlew, lark.
 
Let's take these  streamless valleys, comrade,
as image of the collective work:
 
the fluid gesture of thought
and its long-felt mark:
 
the underhand commission
poet daresn't shirk
 
******
 
Jack Hare's in the young wheat
Jack Hare's in the hawthorn.
He's side-stepped our mythologies,
kicked his heels, and gone
 
******
 
 
When aah was young and frownin
a hankad after God
but when a grew this grey and daft
a found that aah preford
the world before me eyes
 
But let's not meddle with the likes
who nivvor see the godess;
It's just that when w' look for hor
she's showing back tiv us
the world before wor eyes.
 
The world is ahll there is, lads,
let's tek that one for settled;           
but look how it still stretches oot
ti purrus in this fettle.                  
 
So here's t the apostle
we knew more than he knew
and here's t the gang of poets
whose labour is to show
the world before wor eyes
 
******
 
Magpie in the cherry-blossom,
deer in the bracken:
spring, Bunting told us,
is perpetual resurrection.
 
Later comes the barley.
Later still the harvest.
Later yet the winter child
on a young  girl's breast
 
But we'll tread the black path
for friends gone to the river
and trace the love-knot on the green
for ever and for ever