I’m currently working on the final draft of my second poetry book, “The Things We Thought Were Beautiful”. Like “Up in the Air”, I’ve divided this one up into sections, the first of which is called “Another World”. The poems in this section focus on the natural world and our desire to see more deeply into it.
One of my favourite poems is Wordsworth’s “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey”, in which he talks of what the eye and ear ‘half create, and what perceive.’ I’ve always loved that line. It’s as if there really is a transcendent value in nature that we can grasp, or “perceive”.
But when Wordsworth talks about us “creating” it, is that in the sense of making it real – or just us making it up? And how do we know which bits are our own creation, and which bits are real? The true reality behind reality – if there is such a thing – can only ever be understood, or felt, in glimpses. Poetry is one of the best ways of having those glimpses.
To read more about why I love Wordsworth, check out this post.
I wrote this poem to read at the service of a friend’s wedding. Weddings are a unique joy, the perfect time to remember that doors are always opening, that every moment offers a new beginning. But weddings fly by too fast. So I wanted to capture that sense of freshness and love, not only for the newlyweds themselves but for everyone who had come to witness and celebrate their marriage.
And as they came out into the gladbright day
the light sprang up in their eyes
for all the crowd to see
that they were sunmade –
and the day danced
danced through the eyes of the lovers
danced because there is never
anything except beginning
and never is it known more
than on this day –
and we all would follow
swept up like the spangled leaves
of glorious trees,
savouring their sunshine
and they came out singing
and they came out dancing
and they came out thinking
that they’d never been like this before –
and we would all be
blown gaily through the gorgeous day
as if time were nothing but air –
unless we were now
for just this one moment
and think each of ourselves
all here now
in our hearts
and real as love.
The poem I wrote for my wife on my own wedding day, Muse, is available in my first poetry collection, Up in the Air. You can buy a copy here: