Sunday 22 April 2018

Poem of the week

Anthony Cronin

The friends and supporters of Elizabeth Daryush often claimed she was neglected. Since they included Roy Fuller, Donald Davie and the influential poet-critic Ivor Wynters and the latter two wrote about her at some length, Wynters calling her "one of the few distinguished poets of the century", the claim is somewhat dubious. She was the daughter of Robert Bridges, a dominant figure in English poetry in his day, and shared his consuming interest in metrics and prosody. Subjects which in my view are perfectly proper ones for a poet to be interested in, but not to write about, since they invariably bore not just readers but other poets as well. Seven of the ten books she published were called simply Verses with a date attached. The ironies associated with wealth is a theme of hers. Her Collected Poems were published by Carcanet just before her death in 1977 when she was in her 90th year.

STILL-LIFE

Through the open French window the warm sun

lights up the polished breakfast-table, laid

round a bowl of crimson roses, for one --

a service of Worcester porcelain, arrayed

near it a melon, peaches, figs, small hot

rolls in a napkin, fairy rack of toast,

butter in ice, high silver coffee-pot,

and, heaped on a salver, the morning's post.

She comes over the lawn, the young heiress,

from her early walk in garden-wood

feeling that life's a table set to bless

her delicate desires with all that's good,

That even the unopened future lies

like a love-letter, full of sweet surprise.

Irish Independent

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