Looking back – Curator’s Pick

During the month of May 2016 we will be looking back at Poets’ Corner’s first year, together with our Guest Poetry Curators. They will share their own poetry, experiences as curator and favourite poems from the platform with you.

Guest Poetry Curator Pete Stones chooses ‘From a Moorland Walk’ as his favourite poem by Poet of the Month August 2015 Clive S Johnson. Pete explains:

‘In this poem Clive creates an escape. It is not a fantasy escape, but an escape into the part of the real world we rarely take the time to see or enjoy. The beautiful natural imagery is tempered by a commitment to form and meter, which is a fine examples of Clive’s skill as a poet, but structurally drives forward the narrative of the work itself. I feel this work exemplifies Clive’s ability as a narrative poet, his keen eye for the details of the everyday, and his ability to work to structure.’

From a Moorland Walk

Veiled drifts of Winter’s ashen breath
Hang cold upon the woodland spread
Below us now, beneath the valley head.
Dipped to shade, of sallow day’s own death,
A gash of rock and earth now draws us down,
Cleaving through the heather’s tufted gown.

Numbed by moorland heights, our cheeks
Become aglow, where branch and bough
Lend shelter to a path that leads us low.
Denied the very freedom it always seeks,
Our passing feet disturb the captive air,
Suggest that ears must prick in den and lair.

Yet naught we see amidst the woodland litter,
No bead of eye, nor loft of pointed ear,
Only silent witness that we alone walk here.
Eternal, Nature briefly holds us close to her,
Mere mortals we, faint flickered light,
Yet endless in a love that binds us tight.

At last, upon a dimly dusk-lit lane, hand white
In hand we tread beneath an ink-stained sky;
Minds to warmth, but hearts upon a place to lie.
Now beacon bright within the bible black of night,
An inn, with wily guise, suggests we hasten near,
Invites us in, to share its ancient cheer.

Lazily, like sprites upon enchanted tasks,
A first few flakes of snow are left without,
Saved fatal entry to this our warm redoubt.
The landlord murmurs welcome; our need he asks;
Board then set before the hearth ablaze with logs,
Where sprawls his fastly sleeping dogs.

Our supper gone, entwining hands do bring
Fresh rosy face about such gleaming eyes;
Overarched by your brow’s enquiring rise.
Soon, both heart’s desire, a simple thing:
Winter held without, sheets’ warmth within,
And love’s two halves now joined as one again.

Clive S Johnson

What is your favourite poem by Clive?

Follow Clive on Twitter @Clive_SJohnson