'A Day Such As This' by Tom Harding is Write Out Loud Poem of the Week

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The new Write Out Loud Poem of the Week is ‘A Day Such As This’ by Tom Harding, a poem that appears to be about a wet day in the garden. Tom’s poems are invariably accompanied by his drawings. In his responses to Write Out Loud’s questions he said: “I like simple things. I've always liked the idea that poetry exists in parallel to news media, offering equivalent perspective and truths.” Tom is based in Northampton, and picks out John Clare as a poetic hero: “He was a local poet … and a visionary.”

 

 

How long has poetry been an important part of your life and can you remember why it became so?

I remember studying Seamus Heaney when I was at school. However, at the time I never took to him. Still, some of the poems crept through and a few years later I found myself revisiting him off my own bat. Poems like ‘Night Drive’ and ‘Guttural Muse’ stay with you. Now that I think about it, I’ve been trying to recreate the atmosphere of those two poems for the last 15 years. I also recall my brother sending me Charles Bukowski’s The Roominghouse Madrigals when I was in my earlier 20s. Bukowski at that age is like dynamite.

 

What kind of poetry do you write?  What motivates you?

I like simple things. I've always liked the idea that poetry exists in parallel to news media, offering equivalent perspective and truths. I use it like a self-help book. For it to be successful I think it needs to be quickly felt. I have limited means of expression so luckily I'm comfortable with timeless themes e.g. weather, mood, night, moon, afternoons, wine, women etc.

 

If you could only have one poet’s work to read which one would you choose?

This is difficult but I'll name a few that are never too far from the bedside table; Charles Simic, Ted Kooser,  Leonard Cohen, Ron Padgett, Ginsberg, CP Cavafy, Frank O'Hara. I recently discovered Alex Dimitrov. To choose one I’ll go with John Clare, he was a local poet, an extra large one and a visionary.

 

Do you perform your work and if so, where are your favourite places to perform?

No, but this is something I'm looking to change soon - although the thought of it terrifies me.

 

If you found yourself cast away on a desert island, what luxury would you pick?

I think I'd like my watercolour set or perhaps a case of carbonated water - I’m presuming over time I’d be able to ferment alcohol from coconuts. Actually,  I’d need music … let’s go with my Bob Dylan albums.

 

 

A DAY SUCH AS THIS

by Tom Harding

 

All day long it rained,

the sky pouring down

making a martyr of the garden

and everywhere you looked

someone was shrugging

their shoulders or

bowing their heads,

even the giant alliums

stood like sorrowful saints

with nothing to offer

except the occasional nod

as if to say

I know, I know.

 

 

 

 

◄ Yes, there's no apostrophe - Walsall's new poetry night

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Comments

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Wed 5th Jul 2017 11:54

Fabulous little work, a gem, with exponential waves of meaning depending on the reader, or nothing but the obvious. Either way, a delight. And well worth special notice.

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Tom Harding

Thu 8th Jun 2017 10:20

thanks Julian much appreciated

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Julian (Admin)

Wed 7th Jun 2017 09:58

Beautiful poem, and I agree with Harry about those last six lines. Nape of the neck stuff. Thank you.

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suki spangles

Tue 6th Jun 2017 04:22

Hi Tom,

Really enjoyed the (dry!) wit here. Lovely poem.
Congratulations on winning POTW.

Suki

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Tom Harding

Mon 5th Jun 2017 17:56

Hi all thank you for the kind comments, they're very encouraging!

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Harry O'Neill

Mon 5th Jun 2017 11:37

I`d given up remarking on P.O.W (the occasional silence can be misinterpreted)

But those last six lines in this are what poetry is all about.

Well done Tom!

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Graham Sherwood

Mon 5th Jun 2017 09:48

This is simply lovely. I actually felt a drip go down my back reading this. Love the idea of a martyred garden! then they just spring back to life magically.

A good choice for POTW, well done Tom.

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raypool

Sun 4th Jun 2017 16:29

HI Tom, I've just commented on your poem of the week and I would just like to say I always look forward to your sensitive contributions which carry the stamp of subtlety and an appreciation of the fine things in life. Excellent, and congratulations.

Ray

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Colin Hill

Sun 4th Jun 2017 10:18

well done Tom, you build a visual picture so well. I love the image of the giant alliums like sorrowful saints coming just after the people shrugging or bowing their heads. It's the devil in the detail that makes a poem work and the linking together with so few words.

when I first read this I was reminded of a goldfinch I had seen the previous day feeding on the seeds of a tall field sorrel. The weight of the bird had forced the plant almost flat but when it flew off it sprang back up, the tallest plant amongst the lower growing buttercups and clover. It was just the tiniest glimpse of something special.

all the best
Colin.

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