National Poetry Day falls just as Autumn begins to really nestle down between all of our sheets, bringing with it the temptation to stay wrapped in the duvet on harsh mornings until the house smells suitably like gallant radiators. We are lucky the Forward Arts Foundation anticipated that, trudging into the deeper end of every year, the UK would need to gather together to warm their hands and hearts around crackling, orange spells, when they founded the celebration back in 1994.
Following the turn of the weather, the theme of National Poetry Day this year is Change. When Comma asked our most recently published poet, Yorkshire-based Gaia Holmes, what her favourite poem is and why (possibly the cruellest question to ask any poet ever, apologises Gaia), she obviously couldn’t answer. So, she narrowed it down instead to some of her favourite seasonal poems.
‘As Autumn’s here bringing its frost and chill, I’m going to name a few poems flickering and glowing with warmth or light…’
- Fiddling the Gas by Angela Readman
“It seems we waited
for the plumber all our lives, my mother and I inched
through sleeping bag Decembers, peered into hatches
at dead boilers, the light blown out of their eyes…
Together, we knelt to see
steel turn out winter, the meter rolling back time.”
Read the full poem at https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-f8f6-angela-readman-fiddling-the-gas-1
Gaia loves the unexpected warmth that emerges from an estranged relationship through the simple act of fiddling a meter.
- The Caravan by Clare Pollard
“It kindled and started to lick, and you laughed
in your muddy boots, there in the wild –
or as close as we can now get to the wild – …
the moon a huge cauldron of light,
the chill wind blasting away our mortgage,
emails, bills, TV, our broken washing machine.
Smoke and stars meant my thoughts loosened…”
For it’s romantic glow. Read the full poem at https://www.poetryarchive.org/poem/caravan
- Refrigerator, 1957 by Thomas Lux
“This is not
a place to go in hope or hunger.
But, just to the right of the middle
of the middle door shelf, on fire, a lit-from-within red,
heart red, sexual red, wet neon red,
shining red in their liquid, exotic,
in such company: a jar
of maraschino cherries…
They were beautiful
and, if I never ate one,
it was because I knew it might be missed
or because I knew it would not be replaced
and because you do not eat
that which rips your heart with joy.”
Read the full poem at https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/refrigerator-1957/
National Poetry Day runs to unite the country in the enjoyment, discovery and sharing of poems. As we start to pull the blankets of October around us and watch the nights set in from behind glowing windows, it’s important to read and share the verses that light sparklers inside us, enabling us to communicate through the dark.
Share your sparks with us this National Poetry Day at @commapress on Twitter and Instagram. You’ll find staff favourites posted on our pages, and if you need some help discovering new poems, Gaia’s latest collection Where The Road Runs Out is burning bright and available to order at https://commapress.co.uk/books/where-the-road-runs-out
‘More like incantation or witchcraft – Gaia’s poems are spells, taking the most ordinary and mundane of things, and working some metamorphosis on them, so they shine like stars – tiny but brilliant.’ – Sara Maitland
Read ‘Before All This’ from the collection on Bookaninsta
Read three of Gaia’s poems, ‘Feckless’, ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ and ‘Playing Alive’ at And Other Poems