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Anne Ridler

Image by Caroline Forbes

Expectans Expectavi

Anne Ridler

Expectans Expectavi

Anne Ridler

Poem introduction

This poem, 'Expectans Expectavi', which is the title of a psalm, "I waited patiently for the Lord", is about waiting, written at the end of the last war when the whole world, really, seemed to be holding its breath for the return of ordinary life, and all the soldiers from overseas, and I thought of it in the wintertime, at Christmas, with the carols and the children's faces, recalling the refugees of the time. The poem happened to be chosen to be posted up on the underground, so although I never saw it myself, several of my friends have been surprised by it in the middle of a crowd of people standing up in the tube train.

Expectans Expectavi

The candid freezing season again:
Candle and cracker, needles of fir and frost;
Carols that through the night air pass, piercing
The glassy husk of heart and heaven;
Children's faces white in the pane, bright in the tree-light.

And the waiting season again,
That begs a crust and suffers joy vicariously:
In bodily starvation now, in the spirit's exile always.
O might the hilarious reign of love begin, let in
Like carols from the cold
The lost who crowd the pane, numb outcasts into welcome.

from Collected Poems (Carcanet, 1997), copyright © Anne Ridler 1997


Anne Ridler

Anne Ridler Reading from her Poems

1Kirkwall 1942

2At Parting

3For A Child Expected

4Expectans Expectavi

5To Mark Time

6Piero Della Francesca

7Venetian Scene

8Backgrounds to Italian Paintings: Fifteenth Century

9Michelangelo in the Accademia (Florence)

10Deus Absconditus

11Villanelle for the Middle of the Way

12A Matter of Life and Death

13Choosing a Name

14The Gaze

15Nothing Is Lost

16Corneal Graft

17Mirror Image

18Free Fall

19Snakeshead Fritillaries


21The Halcyons