GEOFF STEVENS MEMORIAL POETRY PRIZE 2018 IS NOW OPEN
Susan Taylor used to be a shepherd on her family farm in Lincolnshire, inspiring a keen interest in the natural world and ecology.
The Weather House was originally inspired by a little rustic weather house on her parents’ mantelpiece.
She has seven published collections and holds a Masters Degree in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University.
For many years, she has
co-developed and toured poetry shows and her voice has been described as musical and mesmeric.
Simon Williams started writing at university, where he was mentored by Roger McGough and Pete Morgan.
He has seven published books, reads regularly at festivals and events and was elected Bard of Exeter in 2013.
In the same year, he founded the large format poetry magazine, The Broadsheet, now in its fifth year.
With Susan Taylor, he has developed and performed in over 30 poetry-based shows, reading and singing a capella.
138 x 216mm
£6.00 + P&P UK
'Simon Williams and Susan Taylor have joined forces to produce an elegant collection of poems based on meteorological observation, spiced with occasional touches of love and tenderness. Some of their more startling images will change the way readers perceive the world, as in Mist on the Dart, where ‘the river vaporises as if it’s making tea’ and ‘covers like a Balaclava, not a cap’. The Weather House is both fresh and charming – and ripe for performance.'
'This collection takes the weather as its basis, each poem a meditation on the elements, a tactile musing rich in language and life. The poems contrast each other and take the reader on a journey beyond the imaginings of any meteorologist, in places diverse and exciting, poetic and very human. My forecast is that you will love this book.' Robert Garnham
Susan Taylor and Simon Williams
The Weather House
The Weather House
Mother’s tiny house had a sandpaper roof
with eaves like a cuckoo clock’s,
painted the colour of Dairy Milk chocolate.
The little cuboid chimney
reeled out a snippet of string
in place of white smoke.
An inch-high couple were glued each side
of a plank the width of a lolly stick
and stood on guard at twin front doors.
The dame wore an ever-so-cleverly woven apron,
which changed with the weather
from pink to blue.
The gent wore painted whiskers, waistcoat
and stove pipe hat, like the original toff.
How did they know when the sun came out?
How did they know when it rained?
Their little round heads were made of wood,
hearts wooden, too, and fingers fixed onto hips.
Two midgets from old Bohemia,
I checked every day before school,
to see whether Master or Mistress was out.
They knew about clouds and plain sailing,
as well as storms –
such was their magic.
I wanted to know what each got up to
when hidden alone in the dark
If you see them,
ask what it is they are doing
about the weather.
I Finally Inherit My Mother’s Love of Thunder
Thunder makes a huge voice of a word,
as it moves the whole sky around in its mouth,
bringing July to birth in a smoky ocean of cloud.
Thunder is abandoning the valley,
as I clamber clumsily out of bed, to probe
its monstrous largesse, the best way I can.
Thunder, not really vanished, leaves
a soft hold on my breath and a thick warm trace
in my tenuous garden, dry, and crying for rain.
Thunder, come back, be loud right now,
for I want to explore what you’ve done to open
a birthright, unchannelled before in my heart.
He wakes to the ebullience of birds,
takes me through his meadows cut of dew
to golden calves, new offspring of his herd.
Head rung with the circle of acreage,
he tends bull and cows in marsh-light.
White as winter, summer gathers.
A halo burns around a rising sun.
I see him in the thrall of morning;
we share blind magic
in a brand new cuckoo's voice.
A tree with the top mast broken
yaws from low spirals of mist.
I come each time from further to come back here,
led by the whispering light of Jack-a-Lantern.
On the Sun Coming Out for the First Time in May
I knew it was you
being discreet behind cloud,
like a swimmer changing on a beach.
I knew it was the overalls
that swim around our planet
in a launderette washer,
but it’s still good to glimpse
your sparkle from the back of the drum
… and since I’ve now set up
this convoluted metaphor,
it’s good to feel the warmth
of your heater and to know
my skin will soon be dry.
Shame it’s taken you so long
to spin and tumble into sight,
but I guess we have ourselves to blame.
Hands in pockets, we need
a few more 50ps for windmills
and solar panels to keep
things turning and come clean.
an ancient monument in the Peak District
Our skins of blue cagoule
swell like boils,
as the wind fingers
the seams and squeezes
easily under the ties.
The henge flattens its grass
like fur against the rain.
Numbed by centuries to the
stinging flagellation, it still
sticks its tongue at the clouds.
The latest in a long line
we walk its ditch, circle
try to picture it
as a clearing in a forest,
now the peat beneath us.
The cows, with sodden flies,
crop the Arbor’s coat,
free-ranged over its age.
They stand in the juicy mud,
where they’ve worn it bald.
There have always been cows here,
but the Arbor was old
when the first were calves.
Mist on the Dart
The river vaporises
as if it’s making tea.
As we walk down
we test how it has filled.
It fits between the hedges
not our shoulders
covers like a Balaclava
not a cap
swirls like someone big
has danced Young Collins through it.
At the bottom of the lane
greens and browns are greyed, graded.
We take each other’s hand
for fear of Friesians, river trolls.