Unfortunately I did not look like this delightful lady when I woke one morning this week! It was a very dark and rainy October morning here in Cornwall,not romantic just miserable! Summer has really gone , What can you do on a day like this but read poetry! Well any excuse!
I reached down Laurie Lee's Selected Poems, a book I love but have not dipped into for a while and realized I should not have neglected it.
Day Of These Days
Such a morning it is when love
leans through geranium windows
and calls with a cockerels tongue.
When red haired girls scamper like roses
over rain green grass,
and the sun drips honey.
When hedgerows grow venerable,
berries dry black as blood,
and holes suck in their bees.
Such a moring it is when mice
run whispering from the church,
dragging dropped ears of harvest.
When the partridge draws back his spring
and shoots like a buzzing arrow
over grained and mahogany fields.
When no table is bare
and no breast dry,
and the tramp feeds off ribs of rabbit.
Such a day it is when time
piles up the hills like pumpkins,
and the streams run golden.
When all men smell good,
and the cheeks of girls
are as baked bread to the mouth.
As bread and beanflowers
the touch of their lips,
and their white teeth sweeter than cucumbers.
Laurie as a young man.Women seem to have adored him!
Laurie Lee was born in Stroud but spent his early life in Slad a small Gloucstershire village. His most famous book "Cider With Rosie" lyrically tells the the tale of his boyhood. This is the cottage he grew up in with his family. In the story Laurie paints a tender portrait of his upbringing in comparetive poverty but rich in love and experience.
His mother would fill the house with jars of wild flowers in spring and summer,there was music and laughter as well as hardship.
He went to London at nineteen ,walking all the way and secured a job on a building site.He made extra money playing his fiddle and when he had enough put away set off for Spain. He fell in love with the country and worked his way across to Andalusia busking. When the Civil War broke out he was forced to leave but returned via the Pyrenees to fight against Franco.
Above all I think Laurie Lee was a great lover of life,someone who had a generous capacity for lyrical precision and sensousness.You can almost touch and smell his writing!This picture shows him in later life having a pint in his native Slad at the local pub.
Slad Church where Laurie Lee is buried.
He was a fascinating man and this biography by Valerie Grove gives an insight into to his complicated character.
His poem turned my dull morning around !