Linda France’s eight full-length poetry collections include: The Toast of the Kit Cat Club (Bloodaxe 2005), a biography in verse of the 18th century traveller and writer Lady Mary Wortley Montagu; book of days, a solitary ‘year renga’, (Smokestack Books 2009); You are Her (Arc 2010) and Reading the Flowers (Arc 2016). Linda also edited the acclaimed anthology Sixty Women Poets (Bloodaxe 1993), a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation. She has published several pamphlets – the most recent, Month of Shadows (format.bg 2017) with collaborators in Bulgaria. Linda has held numerous Fellowships and Residencies, including at Newcastle University’s Botanic Garden, the Institute of Advanced Studies at Durham University and the Centre for British Research in the Levant in Amman. Her awards include First Prize in the 2013 National Poetry Competition.
When the world’s spinning too fast
and I feel as if I might wing off
at any moment, I take that moment
to say green alkanet, seeding the air
with its four disparate syllables.
Flowers of sky-fallen blue balance
on stubbly stems, pricked with flocking
birds’ eyes that blink at cow parsley
wedded on a summer roadside.
Virgilian, in exile from myself,
I sing Pentaglottis sempervirens;
may I too be five-tongued, everlasting,
honour my neighbours – field scabious,
fresh honesty – weigh the difference
between what should be fenced off,
what tugged out or mown down.
While a May wind’s insisting on speed
and blur, today this cool blueness
is enough to hold me still, stay
where I need to be – the ballast
of its green name, red roots,
the long, unceasing moment.
From Reading the Flowers, published with permission (Arc, 2016)