To celebrate the coming of spring, our Friday Poem this week is from Sheenagh Pugh’s Selected Poems and is entitled ‘Spring ’72’. This poem is the first Sheenagh ever had published, in one of the 1972 issues of Poetry Wales.
Published in 1990, Sheenagh Pugh’s Selected Poems is the best of her early work: a generous and wide-ranging selection from her first four collections, together with two dozen previously unpublished pieces. Notable inclusions are the prize-winning ‘M.S.A’ and ‘Intercity Lullaby’, and the much-anthologised ‘Sometimes.’ Throughout, a lively and enquiring mind is brought to bear on how we live and die, and how we might live more equitably. Sheenagh Pugh approaches her subject unpredictably, through Norse saga and snooker, apartheid and falling tortoises, in a poetry of invention and conviction.
Now open flowers on the shirts of boys;
now mica glistens, asphalt’s morning dew,
from pavements up. Now all the girls look pregnant,
and small red sports cars blossom on the streets.
Now all birds are not sparrows; now all women
unwrap their shapes from winter. Now the man
who thought it might be fun to walk to work
find all sight aches, all touch troubles his blood.
Now all the state of opening, upspring, bud’s
soft burst, a green grenade, scrapes at his grief;
now all the many dead dress him in black
for what they had and what he cannot keep.