Miracle On St David's Day

All you need to know about this poem is that it is a true story. It happened in the '70s, and it took me years to find a way to write the poem.

‘They flash upon that inward eye
which is the bliss of solitude'
(from ‘The Daffodils' by William Wordsworth)

An afternoon yellow and open-mouthed
with daffodils. The sun treads the path
among cedars and enormous oaks.
It might be a country house, guests strolling,
the rumps of gardeners between nursery shrubs.

I am reading poetry to the insane.
An old woman, interrupting, offers
as many buckets of coal as I need.
A beautiful chestnut-haired boy listens
entirely absorbed. A schizophrenic

on a good day, they tell me later.
In a cage of first March sun a woman
sits not listening, not feeling.
In her neat clothes the woman is absent.
A big, mild man is tenderly led

to his chair. He has never spoken.
His labourer's hands on his knees, he rocks
gently to the rhythms of the poems.
I read to their presences, absences,
to the big, dumb labouring man as he rocks.

He is suddenly standing, silently,
huge and mild, but I feel afraid. Like slow
movement of spring water or the first bird
of the year in the breaking darkness,
the labourer's voice recites ‘The Daffodils'.

The nurses are frozen, alert; the patients
seem to listen. He is hoarse but word-perfect.
Outside the daffodils are still as wax,
a thousand, ten thousand, their syllables
unspoken, their creams and yellows still.

Forty years ago, in a Valleys school,
the class recited poetry by rote.
Since the dumbness of misery fell
he has remembered there was a music
of speech and that once he had something to say.

When he's done, before the applause, we observe
the flowers' silence. A thrush sings
and the daffodils are flame.

by Gillian Clarke

Comments (6)

Omg. You are sooo good. I've never head of another Grengs before. I'm Janelle grengs. =D I wonder if we are related...? Great poems though. I loved it. =]
The comment I just wrote was supposed to read: 'personal angst and dread'
The first ten or so lines of this work begin to express a sense of personal angst and fread that many can relate to. I have to say I was disappointed to see the rest of it take a downhill turn into something like bedtime scary stories that children tell each other at a slumber party. I just think that you have got some real intensity in you and I want to see more of it!
i did enjoy it a lot! On the whole I love horror style! best wishes Aram
Little scary...but very creative and enjoyable to read. I like it! :) adria
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