We’d like to wish you a very happy Easter, and in celebration our Friday Poem today is ‘Chinese Lacquer Egg’ by Deryn Rees-Jones.
‘Chinese Lacquer Egg’ first featured in TS Eliot Prize-shortlisted Burying the Wren, and more recently in What It’s Like to Be Alive: Selected Poems. ‘Something is beginning’, it starts: there is a change, in outlook as well as nature. With intense lyricism the poet calls on the Roethkean ‘small things’ of the universe – birds, flowers, eggs – mysterious, and magical as well as ordinary.
What It’s Like to Be Alive features poems from Burying the Wren and four other collections, showcasing the arc of development in her writing over twenty-five years as she visits and revisits the concerns that are the mainstay of her writing: memory, love, desire, and heartbreak in all its manifestations.
A Chinese Lacquer Egg
Something is beginning. We feel it in the raw edges
of our dreams, our bodies hostage to light, to weather.
It is filling us with the weight of summer
which floats like helium through our wintered bones.
We wonder at it all, surprised by warmth, a sudden downpour –
the ruffled line of birdsong, a forgotten bulb
forcing its way through sodden earth towards the sun.
Or this Chinese lacquer egg, which appeared one morning
in my outstretched palm. Beyond the sound
of aeroplane or train, as we drift asleep, hands cupped
to the pillow, it shares its oval mysteries. Listen!
Between breath and silence it is showing itself.
In these shortened nights it is not unlike rapture,
an unworded prayer its indelible hum.
What It’s Like to Be Alive is available from the Seren website: £12.99
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