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Lay for the Day
31st March

1732: the birthday of Franz Joseph Haydn. He was second of the twelve children of a wagon-maker and was born at Rohrao, near Bratislava, in what is now Slovakia. (It was Mozart who referred to him as “Papa Haydn”.)


You round the bend, the house appears –
a smoking chimney among trees,
one window which may be the one she’s at.

I click in a Haydn cassette,
climbing the gloomy rock-verged road
through fading woods to that revealing turn.

Ingenious, unfinical,
unbreakable, perennial –
dear Papa Haydn like a hedge of may

with powdered wig and earthy boots,
who asks little and gives so much.
His woodwinds chortle as I top the rise,

turning forty, doing fifty.
Soon the shortening days will leave
just the one warm beam to beckon me in.

John Gibbens
from Characters: One Life

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar