Post-Course Message

“I felt I simply had to write and say
How much your poems moved me. In every way
You far outstripped the other students there
But tutors must be silent, to be fair
To lesser minds, and their attempts to write,
But now I find I lie awake at night
Remembering that pebble by the sea
You held while thinking of mortality,
Your love affair that foundered on the rocks
And ‘lay in pieces like a broken pot’,
The lonely thoughts you had on city streets
Exiled from Nature’s balm, the trees and leaves.
Such breadth of vision, nothing is too grand
Or small for you to bravely try your hand
The ice cap, shoes, futility of war
The whale, world poverty, the apple core
   You lobbed
   into the bin
                               and missed.
The line breaks say it all.
The exhibition that inspired your muse
‘Art’s liquid poetry’ – I feel that too!
The automatic writing that you tried
Such rich obscurity!  You must not hide
Your talent – villanelle and haiku
Believe me, I have taught nobody like you.
The ‘twin souls’ that you wrote of must mean us
Forget the age gap - no more to discuss.
Give up your day job at the Revenue
For we must live intensely just we two
‘Come live with me and be my love’
(I think it’s Shakespeare that I’m thinking of)
A country house, a book of verse, and thee
Together we will make such poetry.”

In vain she searches on the internet
How come this email hasn’t come in yet?
He’s had the time to write by now. Instead
She turns her gaze once more to YouTube where
A younger him, with rather longer hair,
Reads his first volume, much praised at the time
(Oh happy ones to know him in his prime!)
To bookshop, village hall, or festival
Or audiences (rather small)
In Huddersfield the city of his birth.
Oblivious ones – how can they know his worth!

Meg Barton

If you have any comments on this poem, Meg Barton would be pleased to hear from you.