Have just seen Richard and Jane for the second time in a short visit to the island (which co-incided with my birthday). We met for coffee in the afternoon as we seem to drink lots of wine when we meet up. In fact one of our first meetings, which with three poets (and my mother) in the room, was so liquid that Richard broke a couple of ribs lurching about in his bedroom afterwards.
Both Richard and Jane fit into the Discovered Islands section of the Anthology of Guernsey, and both have agreed to let me use some of their poetry on the site. Jane’s career as a poet is burgeoning lately with an excellent international competition result, while Richard and I have been reading each other’s work off and on for years.
They are both very supportive of the project. Jane is sending me some work soon, but in the meantime here is a lovely poem of Richard’s.
FUNERAL AT TORTEVAL
The heart beats now a mourning drum
behind the coffin held aloft.
Head bowed, you step, back ramrod-straight,
blue light, through stained-glass, falling soft,
from the black car beyond the gate
into the congregation’s hum.
Grief carves a beauty in your face
or highlights what was there before,
unrecognised: you seem to shine,
to have become not less but more,
while others’ faces, at this shrine
to gracefulness, lack any grace.
The hedgerow birds, today, seem dumb
as one by one the black cars leave:
you by your crumpled father’s side,
comforting him, holding his sleeve,
so full of elegance, dry-eyed,
with redefined years still to come.
Copyright Richard Fleming 2008