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20 January 2021updated 08 Sep 2021 2:55pm

The NS Poem: Iris Murdoch’s Love

A poem by the late Peter Abbs. 

By Peter Abbs

Today the wild hawthorn breaks bridal white 
and a thick mist is drifting down. 
Why do I think “bridal”?  

Or feel terror as mist erases the familiar. 
To hell with nature poetry!  
Half-agreed – 

but this is not “heritage” or postcard elegy. 
In the calligraphy of landscape 
we’re encrypted. 

Here “mist” is a metaphor, “bridal” a key. 
I’m thinking of that philosopher 
whose mind 

in the dense blur of dementia still stuttered: 
Susten poujin drom love poujin? 
Poujin susten? 

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Listen! Even now at meaning’s edge, one word 
breaking out, sub-song of being, 
blossom-breath.  

Peter Abbs was the author of ten collections of poetry, including “Voyaging Out (Salt)”, and the emeritus professor of creative writing at the University of Sussex. He died in December 2020.

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This article appears in the 20 Jan 2021 issue of the New Statesman, Biden's Burden