'Skylarks in January'
One of the first signs of the coming spring at Fahy, outside Westport, is the arrival of skylarks from their wintering grounds on the coast.
I fancy that our drama of spring in March is only really intelligible to warm-blooded creatures, in their craving for better weather. St Patrick banished cold-blooded snakes on 17th March because they don't share this feeling.
This poem was written to mark Queen Elizabeth's visit to Ireland in May 2011.
'Sonnets to a Tudor Poet'
These sonnets were written as a spin-off from a longer project, a verse-narrative of the life of Edmund Spenser, which appeared under my own imprint in 2011 (Stonechat Editions).
My friend Julia Peters recited this poem to me in German one evening as we sat over drinks on Potsdamer Platz in Berlin. I took it as a challenge to translate the poem.
'Dorothy at Goslar'
William and Dorothy Wordsworth spent the winter of 1798-99 at Goslar in Germany. Some of William's most remarkable work, including the 'Lucy' poems and the first sections of The Prelude, date from that time.
Tellaro is a fishing village on the NW coast, just a few miles south of Lerici, where Shelley used to live. D. H. Lawrence spent time here also, at Fiascherino nearby. Lawrence tells this story about the church at Tellaro: one night the villagers were woken by the sound of the church bells being rung; they fled the village in time to get away from invading Turks. It turned out that the bellrope was hanging into the sea from the bell tower, and it was an octopus that got hold of it and drew it to sound the bells. There's a plaque in honour of the octopus on the church.
'The Bay of Angels'
The city of Nice, in the south of France, is on La baie des anges. Jessica and I spent the month of January there about five years ago.