After Astrup

May Moon, undated, colour woodcut, 191 x 253 mm.

Nikolai Astrup, May Moon, undated

As if a woodcut could be made
of every life and slowly filled
with different emphases, shades,
could we in middle age still
alter the way the picture seems,
like a painter adding touches,
so that by colouring in dreams
we could do ourselves justice,
where the hills were once grey
let in green, a meadow, flowers,
turn an inked night into day
and faceless figures into lovers,
bring a background building on
from vague lines to sunlit home? 

_ _ _

My poem was written in response to the wonderful, homely paintings of Astrup and a hankering after such domesticity, which I have come to later in life!

I won the Poetry Society’s new poet of the year award in 1999, when I was 30, and went on to have four books from Bloodaxe Books with a fifth in the pipeline. I facilitate creative writing at Morley College, Middlesex University and now for the WEA too.


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