TREES IN SHEEP COUNTRY
Poems by Anna Adams
Trees In Sheep Country is Ann Adams’ most substantial volume to date and contains the main body of the poems written at Horton-in-Ribblesdale, her home for thirty years. Three poems from this collection have been broadcast on Poetry Now (BBC Radio 3) and one in a BBC 2 television Closedown programme. Her last Peterloo collection, A Reply to Intercepted Mail (1979), now sadly unavailable, was ‘a verse letter to W.H. Auden’ and excited great critical interest.
Anna Adams has lived in London and South Manchester and now divides her time between Horton-in-Ribblesdale and Newcastle upon Tyne. She also writes essays which have appeared in The Guardian, The Countryman, Scottish Field, PN Review and elsewhere.
‘It is surprising that Anna Adams’s poetry is not better known, for her technique is masterly and her subjects fascinating … Immediacy and intelligence are Adams’s chief virtues … and her keen sense of humour should make her popular among many readers.’
A Potted Geranium regards the Spring Wind
Trapped by one foot, I can lean towards the light,
tilting solar panels to catch the rays.
My round, sun-craving leaves press to the glass
like prisoners’ faces, peering out at the free
and dangerous world, where far hills undergo
green flushes of the April change
and, Icarus-like, the lapwings shriek and fall
out of the racing clouds.
Inside, it’s still and safe. Out there
the horizontal washing must have lost
its geotropic senses. Sheets all hang
out sideways, kicking, and the nearby grass
struggles in nightmare panic, seems to run
though rooted. Pliant damson twigs
are trying to shake off some obstinate
and clinging blobs of whiteness. Cherry buds
exude strange ectoplasms, bloodied leaves
and an organic snow. This too
cannot be shaken off, though branches thrash
more strenuously than rook-wings, labouring
to swim against the high spring-tides of air.
The garden’s guardian, the rowan-tree,
conducts a silent orchestra that plays
passionate music that I strain to hear.
My ringed leaves are all ears, yet I am def.
Is it a celebration or lament?
I know no cause for either. I am kept
from marriages arranged by humblebees
and funerals with raven-priests,
and all the frantic dance of unfurled leaves
and petals on low-bowing stems
that reverence the passage of some king
invisible to me.
All through the restless night
the moon is polished for this festival
and gusty skies shake stars onto the earth.
How can I pass through the encasing glass,
escape from stagnant paradise
and join the changing crowd that lives and dies
under the runaway chariot-wheels of the gale?
TREES IN SHEEP COUNTRY
Price £7.95 per copy post free (£5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover design: ‘Falling Leaves’ by Jean Francois Millet.
In the collection of The Corcoran Gallery of Art, William A. Clark Collection
Publication: AUTUMN 1986 (64 pages laminated paperback)