by Grevel Lindop
This is the gem you cut, Thomas Anson,
from emerald forest and sheer water
lightflooded on a still spring day like diamond,
a white house rounded like a cabochon
curved to its shadowed setting, and a garden
that melts to woods and fields, a truce
with wilderness. Arcadia has no time
but its own season, spring –
when all things are possible.
And this was your Arcadia: a phrase
From some Greek poet, Theocritus perhaps
with his ‘full threshing-floor’ and ‘canopy
of green leaves’; Virgil’s line about ‘cold springs,
woodlands and soft meadows’ –
words like a seed-crystal dropped
into the saturate solution
that was your mind, blend of philosophy,
ideal politics and peace.
Good farming, a republic
of shepherds and their friends,
temples half-hidden in the forest groves,
Reason in awe of Nature’s majesty –
a tranquil Zodiac overarching farms
lamplit at evening, lullaby’d by sheep
and watched all night by the observant stars.
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I was born in Liverpool and educated at Oxford, where I read English. When Carcanet began publishing pamphlets, my first booklet of poems, Against the Sea, was among the earliest things they published. I have had a long and happy relationship with Carcanet Press and its magazine, PN Review, ever since.
I moved to Manchester (where I still live) to lecture at the University, ending (30 years later) as Professor of Romantic and Early Victorian Studies. I left the University finally in 2001 to work as a freelance writer. Since then I’ve published not only poetry but also biography and travel, and have written in a range of magazines on poetry, biography, Romantic literature, fiction, exhibitions and theatre. I’ve also made a number of documentaries for Radio 4.
I believe that for the practice of poetry or any other art, or even for living a reasonably sane life, it is vital to have contact with the ‘deep imagination’ – the place where our individual insight and creativity connect with universal archetypes and spiritual dimensions. – Grevel www.grevel.co.uk