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21 Jan 2023

Robin
Houghton

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New Moon

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Feb 5th

& we were shot
down with rain

Jan 6th

After David Hockney’s

The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020

(No. 346, May 22nd)

                                                each drop long & direct as a streak

                                                of milk from an udder or stroke

                                                of a pen    making points all around

                                                needling our heads    & the pond

                                                exploded with rings     each line

                                                hit its target then the next then the

                                                next         we smiled at the noise

                                                drenched in applause    & wet

                                                punctured our clothing & clouds

                                                relieved themselves     returning

                                                water to water     now picture it

                                                backwards:       concentric circles

                                                crammed in a pond     each centre

                                                the centre of an upwards shaft

                                                or a stalagmite      a maypole maybe

                                                a finger-post showing us where

                                                to direct our gaze &     give praise

                                                or blame & blame & blame if we dare

Behind the poem...

The inspiration for this poem was created on an iPad by iconic British artist David Hockney: part of a series of 116 images under the umbrella title, The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020. I went along to the exhibition of these images at the Royal Academy, where the vivid colours and many versions of the same subjects – familiar trees and views, a farmhouse, a treehouse – had an overwhelming effect on me that I found hard to rationalise. Image 110 (numbered 346) of rain hitting a pond’s surface stood out for me. It reminded me of Dante’s concentric circles in water at the beginning of Paradiso 14. I wanted to bring into my poem the inevitability of nature; create a sense of community, of shared experience; make this an ambiguous take on spirituality.

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