monday verse: socrate


Snow’s on the fellside, look! How deep;
our wood’s staggering under its weight.
The burns will be tonguetied
while frost lasts.

But we’ll thaw out. Logs, logs for the hearth;
and don’t spare my good whisky. No water, please.
Forget the weather. Elm and ash

will stop signalling
when this gale drops.
Why reckon? Why forecast? Pocket
whatever today brings…

from Socrate by Basil Bunting

We’ve had snow this week, so this gorgeous poem seems very appropriate, especially as logs play a major part in our heatings arrangements. I won’t comment on the whisky!

I found the poem, one that I had never read before, in the anthology The Seasons, published by Faber and Faber, which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. 

3 thoughts on “monday verse: socrate

  1. That’s a great picture – it’s so hard to capture the falling flakes. And the poem – I’ve never read it so since I don’t drink whisky, I’m taking a cup of good cocoa and curling up to read some more 🙂

  2. I was so taken with this that I’ve ordered a copy of Briggflatts, which is a long autobiographical poem by the same author. He sounds fascinating – a Quaker from Northumbria who was imprisoned for refusing to fight in WWI.

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