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Rural life and the village of Fawwwwwwwwwwwwwww.eddiecastellan.com

It's easy to dismiss nature poetry as something that's all been done before. At the same time you cannot live in a country place, as I have in southwest France for the last nine years, and wander around with your eyes shut.

So you write and record and try to put your own twist on a show that's been running for many centuries. Certainly you can't ignore it.

The sense of the seasons turning and the natural calendar is very strong here, especially in the spring when the sense of new life and the reawakening of the world is immensely powerful. You really do feel the sap rising; even within yourself . . .

I wrote Spring Canto to try and capture this time. Inevitably the vines come into most stages of the year here. I used canto in the title to mark the region's intimate link with the medieval troubadours and their richly poetic langue d'oc.

Snow burning was a simple moment at home in winter with bells, satsumas, a friend's cat that came to stay and, of course, guitars. You often have to shift musical instruments (various) in my house to make somewhere to sit. I know that snow doesn't burn; but imagine what it might be like if it did. I love "impossible" images like that.

Café was a quick character sketch in the village of Fa, its bar, some of the people who live here, and some of their slightly odd habits.

Suspicions of Cezanne came very quickly during a walk into the hills. It appeared as a bit of a throwaway at the end of an intense weekend of writing so I was deeply surprised when it was one of the first of my poems to be published.

Sunday after a storm; no prizes for guessing what this one's about. I adore storms and this one was a real belter that caused widespread damage, though curiously it doesn't really appear in the poem.

Colour spiders came very simply from looking around me during a piano recital in a small village church. The pianist was Mark Lockett (see links page), playing a piece by Ravel, one of my favourite composers, and the words just came.

It was much the same when I had the idea for Homecoming with RS. It annoys me when people think that modern poetry must be full of deep meanings for intellectuals. You just try to say what you want to say; pick the right words and put them in the right order. I often don't care if the resulting poem doesn't mean anything at all, so long as someone might enjoy reading it.

 
The foothills of the Pyrenees seen from le château de Puivert
Tapestry at Puivert, the great meeting place of the troubadours
The village of Fa in all its shambolic glory
Pictures: Steve and Rosie Knight
Cezanne: a taste of the Midi

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