Publication Date: 15 June 2023
Anthony Wilson’s sixth collection, The Wind and the Rain, meets mortality and loss with humour, feeling and intelligence. Wilson combines a deceptively light touch with hard-earned palpable depth; candid, inventive, and never self-pitying.
It’s autumn in La Chaux-de-Fonds.
The last day of August, the mists arriving early,
everyone in anoraks.
10.30 a.m. and already we’re drinking.
We won’t be together like this again,
not here, not anywhere.
It’s autumn in La Chaux-de-Fonds.
We climb up out of the town, past the stadium,
and into more mist. There’s a fire. Smoke in the trees.
Hard to tell where smoke ends, cloud begins.
On the path back to the cars we look across the gorge
into the next country. More cars go screaming
up and down the Pod into the small hours.
I’ve never had an ‘off’ switch around alcohol.
I can look at a sealed bottle for weeks
but once it’s open, game over.
When I was about fourteen, I’d sneak off
to the larder under the stairs and take gulps
of my father’s cider straight from the bottle.
I loved the sweetness, the gentle fizz.
It made me feel bolder, fuller.
A slight burning sensation in my nostrils.
The feeling of confidence that school said I needed.
The nearest I came to hanging onto it
when I stepped on stage.
A safely minor role at first, then speaking parts,
a middle-class woman, a scientist in an absurdist satire
about a man with a tiger in his bathroom.
I could make an audience gasp.
My shock at that. My need for it.
The silence after they went home,
toasting myself in the mirror.
Precise, cinematic, achingly tender poems for those of us who have loved and lost someone close. Like driving rain, this collection will take you to the raw place of grief and carry you to where joy breaks through.
Throughout The Wind and The Rain, Anthony Wilson walks the tightrope of simplicity. He peels off layers of language, paring it back to its core, searching for the means to express the intensity of grief. In his skilled hands, less becomes more. —Matthew Stewart
The Wind and the Rain by Anthony Wilson
Like this train
I travel into it
learning about loss
as I go.
Last night my father
conked out in his chair –
he has so much
to think about –
which is what I have just done
Pewsey, Westbury, Castle Cary
in a dream
a very grey dream.
You only need to visit Venice once
because it never leaves you.
my flat white was not flat
nor was it white.
To the Wife of a Famous Poet
When you accosted me
at the conference
and shouted my name
(though I stood one pace from your mouth)
into the air,
declaring it a
name for a poet,
what poisonous motivations
thickened in your veins,
that my name, which you brayed
with such glee,
which you branded useless,
could never match that
of your husband,
guardian of tradition and canon,
protector of excellence,
name I learnt as a schoolboy,
name of less uselessness than mine,
name of more than consequence,
a name one could drop,
as you did, before you cursed
declaring it useless?
Anthony Wilson is a poet, writing tutor and lecturer. He works in medical and teacher education at the University of Exeter.
The Wind and the Rain is his sixth collection of poetry. His memoir of cancer, Love for Now (Impress Books), was published in 2012. He is also the author of Deck Shoes (Impress Books, 2019), a collection of essays and criticism.
In 2015, he published the best-selling anthology Lifesaving Poems with Bloodaxe Books, based on his blog of the same name.