This poem was written on a day of incredible heat. The reference to the symphony at the end of the poem goes back to the Soviet era, when music was broadcast in public squares.
I keep thinking how we wait all year
and possibly longer (because not every summer
contains such days) for such days.
Because when summer is at its very height
its poise is the pause of the church bell suspended
rim-up after its stroke, mouth open.
At Allington Cross the whole landscape
was a bell mouth open, ah, the luminous
untrammeled now of it, rim-up and poised:
And paused at the crossroads in the liquefying
high-sky heat I understood the composer
who cycled round and round the square
so as not to miss a note of the broadcast symphony.
First published in the TLS, 26 May 2006, ? Helen Farish 2006, used by permission of the author.