This Bright Day

This morning Susanna and I thought we’d take a quiet walk along the River Cam to Fen Ditton and sit by the river at The Plough reading in the sun. As yesterday I took some poetry by A. R. Ammons with me (this time his Collected Poems 1951-1971) and, because the day was such a bright one, it was perhaps no surprise that I found myself staying a long while with a poem called This Bright Day. As I sat with the text, looking now and then up and down river at passing rowers, swans, cormorants and ducks whilst, nearby, the last of the summer bunting fluttered in the warm breeze like Tibetan prayer flags, my phone twitched in my pocket. It was a call from the partner of a very elderly member of the congregation telling me that he had just been told she was now very close to death from pneumonia and asking whether I come to see them later on that day. I said I could and would and realised that Ammon’s poem had suddenly taken on a whole new poignancy for me on this bright day now touched by grief.

This Bright Day
A. R. Ammons

Earth, earth!
day, this bright day
again—once more
showers of dry spruce gold,
the poppy flopped broad open and delicate
from its pod—once more,
all this again: I've had many
days here with these stones and leaves:
like the sky, I've taken on a color
and am still:
the grief of leaves,
summer worms, huge blackant
queens bulging
from weatherboarding, all that
will pass
away from me that I will pass into,
none of the grief
cuts less now than ever—only I
have learned the
sky, the day sky, the blue
obliteration of radiance:
the night sky,
pregnant, lively,
tumultuous, vast—the grief
again in a higher scale
of leaves and poppies:
space, space—
and a grief of things.

All the photos were taken with a Fuji X100F
Just click on a photo to enlarge