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Featured Anthology: Oxford Poets 2007 – Kieron Winn

October 25, 2007
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Today’s poem comes from Kieron Winn, a freelance teacher and poet. He says of ‘Mountain Water’, “the final rhyme would have been a full one for Wordsworth” (and a nod to Tony Harrison‘s brilliant poem ‘Them and [uz]‘, I am informed). Winn’s poetry is rooted in the dramatic landscapes of the Lake District and alludes to both Wordsworth and Coleridge, not so much in style but in them as subjects: their location and their relationship to one another. His superb evocation of landscape, from the smallest, “of beach streams/ Where individual flying grains are seen” (‘The Unforgetting’), to the grand, “To a prehuman valley in the mountains/ Networked by veins of thin and plashable streams”, creates a sense of our surroundings having their own palpable and strong life force.

Sitting in an office in the middle of a city, surrounded by the hum of computers, the whirring of printers and the roaring of passing cars, I read Winn’s poem and am transported to the rugged landscape of the Lake District and the image of crystal clear water tumbling down a mountain. Some may say I’m romantic… I say, just enjoy it. Then head to the nearest mountain.

Mountain Water

Lucid stream,
Travelling light,
Itself and open,
Black and white,
Cold on the palm,
Chilly burn,
By mossy rock
And thriving fern,
Salt and poison
Clouds remade,
Ancient freshness,
Undecayed,
Fluid muscle,
Inner chatter,
Flowing, constant
Mountain water.

(This poem is reproduced with permission from Oxford Poets 2007: An Anthology, edited by David Constantine and Bernard O’Donoghue, published by Carcanet Press.)

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