Sunflowers and Mountains
Fields of happy faces,
each turning to the sun:
flowers bid us welcome
and our holiday’s begun.
From sunflowers’ yellow loveliness
(and even more surprising),
I lift my eyes to deep blue mountains
lining the horizon.
I know I’m miles and miles away,
which tells me it must be
quite marvellous and magnificent,
that mountain range I see.
But now a line of poetry
returns to haunt and please,
as what was just a name before
is real: The Pyrenees!
I can’t reach out and touch them
or climb the mountains’ height,
but if they’re full of fleas that tease,
it won’t be me they bite!
poem © Celia Warren 2014
I’m back from a wonderful family holiday in the south of France where we stayed in a gite (a rented holiday home). We were in the middle of the countryside a few miles north of Carcassonne.
To my delight, in the far distance – well beyond Carcassonne – lay an amazing mountain range. If I looked south to the horizon all I could see were mountains – however far to the left my eye scanned, or however far to the right – more and more mountains. It was a mountain range whose name I knew, but I had never set eyes on it before – not even from a distance: these mountains were the Pyrenees. And each time they caught my gaze, through my head ran a line from Hilaire Belloc’s poem Tarantella … “And fleas that tease in the High Pyrenees …”
Have you read the poem? It’s one that I chose to include in my anthology A Time to Speak and A Time to Listen (Schofield and Sims) – in the Time to Dance section. If you have a copy, you’ll find it’s poem number 40. If you don’t have a copy, ask your school or library to order one.
Holidays are a time for making memories. In a couple of months’ time, on Thursday 2 October, it will be National Poetry Day when this year’s theme is Remember.
I’m very proud to have contributed some poetry writing workshop ideas to this year’s celebrations, on behalf of publisher Schofield and Sims. These will soon appear on the National Poetry Society website. Meanwhile, have a look at a host of inspiring ideas for writing poetry on the Forward Poetry Site. There’s a workshop for each letter of the word ‘REMEMBER’. You can find my workshop – again, written on behalf of Schofield and Sims – if you scroll down to the middle E of R.E.M.E.M.B.E.R (E for Epitaph).