Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Keepsake book

Long before I had any pretentions about getting published I kept a book of quotes that amused and inspired me and - in searching out some moving prose to celebrate a life - I opened this book for the first time in many years.

This is how I rediscovered the wonderful lilting Norman MacCaig (1910 - 1996)....

Sounds of the Day

When a clatter came,
it was horses crossing the ford.
When the air creaked, it was a lapwing
a lapwing seeing us off the premises
of its private marsh. A snuffling puff
ten yards from the boat was the tide blocking and
unblocking a hole in the rock.

When the door
scraped shut, it was the end
of all the sounds there are.

You left me
beside the quietest fire in the world.

I thought I was hurt in my pride only,
forgetting that
when you plunge your hand in freezing water,
you feel
a bangle of ice round your wrist
before the whole hand goes numb.