This poem was published in The Poetry Review, winter issue, 2020.

Cypress

by Helen Tookey

Until now, I have not been able to do them as I feel them; the emotions that come over me in the face of nature can be so intense that I lose consciousness, and the result is a fortnight during which I cannot do any work. However, before leaving here [St-Remy] I mean to have one more try at tackling the cypresses.
– Vincent van Gogh, tr. Ronald de Leeuw, letter to Albert Aurier, February 1890

It’s a black flame, a fire-tree
that gives no light, that burns
in a cold agony all night on the hill.

Tall thin winding tower
piercing the sky, mocking the calm
blue-grey spire of the church below

– some kind of a horrible miracle,
this black flame that won’t burn out,
that writhes in the cold space of itself

like the constant anxious washing of hands.
Why did you show me, why did you bring me
here to this place? Now the cypress burns

in my mind too, and the stars spin
like catherine wheels, vast and white
and pitiless, and none of it seen,

none of it dreamed down in the valley,
by the small blue town, sleeping.

The Poetry Society was founded in 1909 to promote “a more general recognition and appreciation of poetry”.  Since then, it has grown into one of Britain’s most dynamic arts organisations, representing British poetry both nationally and internationally.  Today it has more than 5,000 members worldwide and publishes The Poetry Review.

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Tomorrow @ValzhynaMort will deliver her incredible lecture on obsession, repetition, trauma & Belarusian traditional embroidery as part of @PoetrySociety Annual Lecture Series. It will also appear in spring issue of The Poetry Review. 7pm GMT. Book your free ticket below twitter.com/PoetrySociety/… Retweeted by The Poetry Society

One of my favourite poets, Richard Wilbur, was born on this day 100 years ago. Here is the heartbreaking poem for his wife Charlee, who died aged 85. Richard ‘put to sea’ another 11 years before passing aged 96 in 2017. Retweeted by The Poetry Society

The world is a beautiful place to be born into if you don’t mind happiness not always being so very much fun if you don’t mind a touch of hell now and then just when everything is fine - Ferlinghetti

test Twitter Media - The world is a beautiful place 
to be born into 
if you don’t mind happiness 
not always being 
so very much fun 
if you don’t mind a touch of hell
now and then
just when everything is fine

- Ferlinghetti https://t.co/vKPQkBtboc

Our poetry reference library...looking forward to running workshops again this Summer🤞 and inviting writers to use our Distillery space... #poetrypharmacy #bishopscastle #creativity #SpringIsComing Retweeted by The Poetry Society

Tuesday 2 March! Looking forward to @poetrysociety annual lecture series with the formidable Valzhyna Mort talking about patterns of repetition,in language, and in personal & national histories. Have your Qs ready for the Q&A poetrysociety.org.uk/event/annual-l… Retweeted by The Poetry Society

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“Face - Face - Face: a poet under the spell of loss” - Don’t miss Valzhyna Mort in the first of our series of 2021 lectures - this Tuesday 2 March! she’ll also be reading poems, and answering your questions! @ValzhynaMort in assoc with @writingatcentre poetrysociety.org.uk/event/annual-l…

test Twitter Media - “Face - Face - Face: a poet under the spell of loss” - Don’t miss Valzhyna Mort in the first of our series of 2021 lectures - this Tuesday 2 March! she’ll also be reading poems, and answering your questions! @ValzhynaMort in assoc with @writingatcentre https://t.co/ROzZPN2HK9 https://t.co/kTyEu8fgnA