Poetry, like music, is an excellent vehicle for communicating feelings. I can tell you, in so many words during a conversation, how I experienced a sense of joy one sunny afternoon while hanging out the washing. But if I want to open up my sense of that occasion, it helps me to describe my experience in a more structured form. And then, if the poem works, that moment becomes timeless.
In the sun-teased space beset by fellside breezes the trees a swaying circle grown from my aunt’s bequest: tall cedars break the wind; for colour purple elder and blue spruce; I hang out different blessings on waiting washing lines. I call them blessings now because of an epiphany when I was full of grumps at being importuned to do this now and then do that; begrudging, but I did because the clothes do have to dry; and yes, the air outside is free. So there I stood, clothes- peg in hand, as flashing swallows darted under nimbus clouds and bright blue sky — while life went on, as still it does within forgiving houses up and down the ancient valley — coaxing out a smile.