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

Recordings

Anne Ridler

Anne Ridler Downloads

1Kirkwall 1942

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2At Parting

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3For A Child Expected

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4Expectans Expectavi

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5To Mark Time

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6Piero Della Francesca

7Venetian Scene

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8Backgrounds to Italian Paintings: Fifteenth Century

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9Michelangelo in the Accademia (Florence)

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10Deus Absconditus

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11Villanelle for the Middle of the Way

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12A Matter of Life and Death

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13Choosing a Name

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14The Gaze

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15Nothing Is Lost

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16Corneal Graft

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17Mirror Image

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18Free Fall

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19Snakeshead Fritillaries

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20Azizur

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21The Halcyons

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