‘Barley’ (in memory of Dannie Abse) by Gillian Clarke

dannie abse

A poem from Gillian Clarke in memory of Dannie Abse


for Dannie Abse

September, and all the way home in the train
I watch the gold unfolding fields of corn
the colour of Morfudd’s hair, the land lit

with whisky ambers, ripeness bruised
with traces of a duller metal
where the wind ran, or a hare, or lovers have lain.

At the passing train, grief lifts from the land
on the wings of crows, and shadowless under the sun
the field where *Dafydd marries his girl again.

As long as language lives and the wind’s hand
fingers the harp-strings of a golden field,
someone half-dreaming in a train will listen

for remembered music of a line of verse,
and hear the barley whispering your words.


*Dafydd ap Gwylim, Medieval Welsh love poet.


Posted on October 4, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on ‘Barley’ (in memory of Dannie Abse) by Gillian Clarke.

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