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