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Lay for the Day
20th February

1902: the great landscape photographer Ansel Adams is born in San Francisco.
The landscapes described below were done in pastels, based on photographs or postcards.

Her Last Pictures

Three landscapes on the wall:
of summer, the rosebay willowherb waving
on a railway’s abandoned embankment,
a vanishing fence and various sky.

Of spring, the shrunken stream
under a triple-arched bridge;
under bare trees, of one tone with the stone,
some bulb patch, bright green, fledging.

In the centre, the year’s sap consumed
from bracken, rush and gorse,
and brown fells blent on the air’s royal blue
to an umber more burning than burnt,

where the first dust of snow lies, signify
that winter where the artist shortly went.


John Gibbens
from Makings ’89-’91

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar