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Silence of Järvenpää (i.m. Sibelius)


more than enough time did he spend looking up at the sky

for the cranes flying from the potato fields of Söderfjärden

or looking for curlews in the marshes –

birds that everyone knows are shy as flutes –

or perhaps there weren’t enough days when the rain

fell in slow breves on the steep roof at Ainola

or perhaps Aino failed to keep out when most he needed her to

and troubled his mind by so clearly hoping

or the forest was too cool and spacious

or the birds of his youth would not come to the garden again

or perhaps the ghost of the little girl was too much present

when he sat down in the room with the sill of identical geraniums

or perhaps the pines leaned in too close

or perhaps the smoke from his cigarette curled the wrong way



© Katharine Towers

Picture 10994896, photograph by Rudolf Koppitz, circa 1920, image copyright Mary Evans / Imagno



Katharine Towers studied Modern Languages at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford, and in 2007 completed an MA in Poetry at Newcastle University. She currently works as assistant editor at the independent poetry publisher, Candlestick Press. She also teaches poetry, running Poetry Surgeries for the Poetry Society and workshops at festivals and for universities. Katharine has published two poetry collections, both with Picador. The Floating Man (2010) won the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize and was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award and the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. A poem from the collection appeared as a Poem on the Underground and has been set to music by the composer Laura Stevens. Her latest collection, The Remedies (2016), was shortlisted for this year’s TS Eliot Prize. Katharine is the current Poet in Residence at the Cloud Appreciation Society. She lives in the Peak District with her husband and two daughters and spends as much time as she can outdoors.