Gillian Clarke: a poem



Spring Equinox, 2020


The night summer came to a world remade,

streets were carless, silence walked the roads.

A kite's red-gold, flamboyant,

floated flame on blue,

flexed wings and the fork of its tail

and turned on a breath.


Miles high over the fields,

over flights of rooks, crows, gulls,

over the cities, the clouds, the atmosphere,

in the vault of heaven the ozone layer cleared

of particulates, of nitrogen dioxide,

and we breathed again.


Listen! in this clean new quiet

all sound is birdsong,

a small wind in the trees,

the fall of a petal, an opening leaf,

the turn of a page,

your breath, mine.



Gillian Clarke was born in Cardiff in 1937 and lives in Ceredigion. Poet, playwright, editor, broadcaster, lecturer and translator from Welsh, she was Editor of The Anglo Welsh Review from 1974 to 1984. She was the National Poet of Wales from 2008 to 2016, was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2010 and the Wilfred Owen Award in 2012. She has published ten collections of poetry for adults, written radio and theatre plays and translated poetry and prose from Welsh. Her work is widely anthologised, and her poetry forms part of the school syllabus in Britain. Her version of the book-long 7th century Welsh poem, Y Gododdin, will be published by Faber in 2021. A new book of essays and a journal, Roots Home, will appear from Carcarnet in 2021 and she currently has a work-in-progress, a collection of poems, with the working title The Silence.