Saturday, 11 June 2016

"Seasons" - a poem by Charles Ackerman Berry (1908-1997)

April perchance I shall not see again,
Nor follow green-shod footsteps into May.
Or watch shy blossoms curtsying to rain,
Or thrill once more to Junetime's roundelay.

Yet I'll not mourn the migrant swallow's flight,
For nearer now the cosmic motions weave
New patternings to guide me through the night
Till constant morning breaks, and I believe

There is a further springtide, tranquil, blessed
That breathes upon all winters of the years,
That bears the balm of sorrows dispossessed,
And beams a light on all that life endears.

There shall I venture, marvelling as I go
At the four seasons, now an eternal One,
Pausing to warm my hands on summer snow,
Bending to shield a snowdrop from the sun.


From Wisdom from the Wilderness - a selection of philosophy and poetry, by Charles Ackerman Berry - (2000; Bohemia Publishing: Bristol).

My knowledge of this lovely poem (written from the depth of illness, as the author approached his death) comes via the poet's daughter who wrote me about her father's friendship with William Arkle in Bristol - around 1960.

Interested, I bought this self-published volume, and found several real lyric poems - of the early 20th century 'Georgian' genre (broadly similar in style to Walter de la Mare, WH Davies, Robert Frost - the spirit perhaps more like the older Longfellow) - in other words, CAB was born a generation or more too late, after Modernism has become dominant; consequently his poetry was hardly noticed.

Nonetheless real poetry is rare and real, and always will find those who want it - regardless of whether it was written out of its time.