This is one of my all-time favourite poems.
Some days, although we cannot pray, a prayer
utters itself. So, a woman will lift
her head from the sieve of her hands and stare
at the minims sung by a tree, a sudden gift.
Some nights, although we are faithless, the truth
enters our hearts, that small familiar pain;
then a man will stand stock-still, hearing his youth
in the distant Latin chanting of a train.
Pray for us now. Grade 1 piano scales
console the lodger looking out across
a Midlands town. Then dusk, and someone calls
a child’s name as though they named their loss.
Darkness outside. Inside, the radio’s prayer –
Rockall. Malin. Dogger. Finisterre.
Carol Ann Duffy
The Times Saturday Review, 1992
If you miss hearing the shipping forecast read in the dulcet tones of a radio four voice – have a listen to this.
This was the only time that the shipping forecast was read on both radio and tv as part of the Arena Radio Night in 1993.
The forecast is read by Laurie MacMillan.
Broadcast Saturday 18 December 1993 on Radio 4/BBC2