Carol Ann Duffy introduces poems of ageing
"As a celebration of wisdom and experience, and of their role in shaping poetry in this country, the poet laureate invited some of our most eminent poets to contribute original work on the theme of ageing"
Blue Hydrangeas, September
By Gillian Clarke
You bring them in, a trug of thundercloud,
neglected in long grass and the sulk
of a wet summer. Now a weight of wet silk
in my arms like her blue dress, a load
of night-inks shaken from their hair –
her hair a flame, a shadow against light
as long ago she leaned to kiss goodnight
when downstairs was a bright elsewhere
like a lost bush of blue hydrangeas.
You found them, lovely, silky, dangerous,
their lapis lazulis, their indigoes
tide-marked and freckled with the rose
of death, beautiful in decline.
I touch my mother's skin. Touch mine.