Poem introduction

There's a poem by George Herbert, the metaphysical poet, that I've always really liked. It's called 'The Flower' and in the poem he uses the flower as a metaphor for his own spiritual death and recovery - the death of the flower in winter. And there are some wonderful lines in the poem: "And now in age I bud again,/After so many deaths I live and write;/I once more smell the dew and rain,/And relish versing:" And they seem extraordinary lines to me - because I like walking in the rain, because they seem so sensual for someone to have written in the 17th century. And because it was always a favourite poem, one day I was ironing - and all my life hated ironing - and suddenly I sort of smelt the scent coming off the cloth (of course very horrible cheap scents which are put into washing powder) but it was suddenly a wonderful feeling and it connected with a feeling for me that my life had got a lot better. And so I used the idea of the Herbert poem - this idea of a spiritual death and recovery - to write my own poem but using the metaphor of ironing.

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I really enjoyed listening to all the poems in the Archive. It's fantastic to hear poets reading their own work. It...

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