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Poem of the Week - ‘Determining the weather’ by Vicky Arthurs

Grandfather almighty,
Captain of the clouds,
Steer us through the storms
With your aneroid barometer.

Commandeer the compass point,
Swing the sickle moon!
Quell the swelling tempest,
Then summon up the sun!

Nor’easterly, sou’westerly,
Direct the fickle wind:
It does not know which way to blow
Without your brisk command.

Your knuckles give the ordinance,
Sound bone on sacred glass,
Bend elements to instrument,
Your word will come to pass.

Speak to me of millibars
And mystic incantations,
Fahrenheit and centigrade,
Alchemical dimensions.

Teach me how to take the helm,
Be skipper of the skies,
Plot a course from rain to change,
Or bid a sea fret rise!

"Get behind me, giddy girl,
Dismiss these fiendish notions!
No man commands the firmament,
No mortal moves the oceans!"

Vicky Arthurs' new collection Limehaven (Iron Press, 2015) tells the story of her grandparents; their lives together through two World Wars, their loving idyllic home, and their profound effect on the poet’s own life. The book is filled with touching poems from various perspectives, but it is those written from the child’s-eye-view that make up the middle of the collection that seem particularly powerful to me.

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