Monday, November 11, 2013

Jeremy Clarke

Jeremy Clarke is a contemporary British poet whose words "and I am here in a place beyond desire or fear", from the poem "Praise", can be read just outside the entrance to St. Pancras Old Church, carved in stone by the sculptor Emily Young; many of his poems can also be found framed inside. He was described by the Daily Telegraph as "the pious poet of St Pancras". He told the Church Times, however, "I have a rather simplistic way of walking through the world as a Christian. I rarely attend formal church services. I will go into a church when it is empty..."

His poems often seek to capture a place and the people in it, rather than reflect upon spiritual practice, even though the titles of some of his work — such as the pamphlet Common Prayer — would seem to suggest otherwise. He lives in London and usually writes of urban scenes, however his poetry collection, Devon Hymns (2010), was inspired by a sojourn in farm country.

In the aforementioned interview he said, "If we walked through the world...paying...close attention, it would change everything, make us more worshipful, appreciative, more acknowledging of each other, and of God."

He is now Poet in Residence at Eton College. The following poem is from Devon Hymns.


The sun rides the downhill sky
and the day's routines rewind.
Cows return to fields from milking
and machine noise begins to die.

The day working its way back
to a half-light and a birdsong chorus—
the prologue and epilogue to every day.

The songburst will thin out
back to a single voice,
then all will be quiet and still
except the non-stop stream,
a pilot light of sound.

Posted with permission of the poet.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His new poetry collection, Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. Lewis, is available from Wipf & Stock as is his earlier award-winning collection, Poiema.