I did try to keep to the spirit of the thing. I tried writing a poem on a sledgehammer, a plastic jug and a football. Nothing. Certainly nothing I could possibly post. And so the cheat, not at all in the spirit, I regret to say, for it captures nothing of the fun of Dominic's challenge, but for better or for worse, here it be:- About a year ago I posted here a poem, with the title A Love Poem. It was in fact a second version of one originally called The Photograph. Since then I have come to prefer the original. I therefore am posting that original, printed, not on the actual magazine photograph, I think - although it well may be - but one in the public domain which can be found here.
Click on the photograph to read the whole poem - or below, now reprinted in response to comments that the above is difficult to read. Apologies for that.
A Sunday Supplement, a photograph.
Cuckmere Haven. Not that we’d
have recognized it, not without the caption.
The cliffs, distinctive, might have given it away.
Taken from above. The Cuckmere
all but banished from the scene -
and much else missing from that day...
pebbles, white upon the beach; and you,
exquisite, dressed to kill, a splash of green;
the sea kale (was it?) by the stream: all tucked
away between the hills and nowhere to be seen.
And so I wondered: what if we
could see as from above, the hills
and valleys carved in us by human love?
What would be there to see?
What would there not?
That day the sun-drenched chalk and beach,
and shady woods had each unleashed
a fierce burn of increasing beauty.
Offshore, the tides and Cuckmere clashed,
Canoes capsized, and men we’d lately
followed from the bridge were stayed,
all balance lost, bare inches from the sea.
It too was like a photograph, our day,
so silent and so still,
with gulls hung poised, like birds of prey,
on tiny cirrus threads. The breakers froze,
refused to break. Creation seemed to us to take
a year to spend that day.
The sun poured champagne on the sea
as tides and Cuckmere whirled together.
One maelstrom. One tranquility.
My love, I saw this photograph
and heard, I thought, our favourite song
being sung in a foreign language.
Too many injuries
occurring at school sports days -
among the adults