Poem of the North 2.1

I whittled and filleted
these words as far
south as these lands
take us. Made them
mine where Kernow
stretches out to Breizh
and another kind of North

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Canto 2 of Poem of the North begins with a beautiful poem, Plenitude, by the Northern Poetry Library’s poet-in-residence, Linda France. Linda has blogged about the poem on the NPL website at  https://poemofthenorth.co.uk/on-plenitude/ She also blogs in her own right at https://poeticabotanica.wordpress.com.

As I read, and re-read,  her poem, patterns in the rich and resonant vocabulary began to suggest themselves that started, of course, from the form that Linda had given the words, but began to detach and rearrange in different ways, and I became absorbed in cataloguing and reassembling the lexicon of the poem.

At first it was the pairs of opposites (begun, finished; deep, wide; damned, saved) that asserted themselves, before sifting into more ambiguous pairings (divide, forge; record, cascade). As these pairs were listed, collocations across them began to assert themselves, and the pattern of triptych lines I settled on emerged.

I am on holiday in Cornwall for the first time, and some of the themes of Linda’s poem echo with those of mine that closed Canto 1, and which continue to exercise me in this place, this English county, this Celtic nation, that – whetever it is – feels beyond what I think of as ‘the south’.


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