C Richard Miles (1961)
As I plodded paths through Hackney, packed with
People deeply drowning in their humdrum London
Lifestyle, plugs of gum, untongued, and bunged on
Pavements gave my way some sullen colour.
Glum grey, gum lay gummed on kerbstones, near where
I heard tones of traffic rumbling, grumbling
Drivers moaning loads about the roadworks,
Church bells telling tales of souls they tolled for.
In the drabness, patches of bold blue soon
Grabbed me, thriving irises amongst ice-
Hardened gardens, first signs of the springtime
Climbing out of doubts that frost might weaken.
Though not Van Gogh's bunch, this clump, where vandals
Had graffitied fences dense with slogans,
Shattered drudgery and budged the dullness
That I moped, with hopes of better weather.
These dwarf flags that forced up, by coarse flagstones,
Flagged the passing of this winter's strictness;
Spear-slashed harshness that the hardest hearted
Passer-by could hardly fail to notice.
Though this year we had the meanest season
For some time, as sleet and snow oppressed us,
Pressed beneath cool earth, these bulbs had nurtured
Life to bring to birth to pierce my bleakness.
Comments about this poem (Irises by C Richard Miles )
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