Thursday, 1 September 2016

A poem by Vanessa Gebbie

To a Welsh tunneller killed in France in 1916, whose body still lies 40 ft below ground


Did you prefer your garden wild,
all edges softened, scented? Did grasses
seed for you
in the evening light, and
Spanish daisies dance
                                   down the old brick step?

Did shallots wait in untidy rows, with
chives and parsley frills and leeks, and
on your two apple trees, did russets grow?
Was all stone mellow,
none bright, and in the ivy
were dunnocks nesting year on year,
and robins too, wood pigeons in the ash?

And everywhere was light, everywhere
the kindest shadow,
and when it rained
at night
did you stand at your open window,
                       the sweet air on your skin,
and listen
to the small sounds,
                                as though

you could hear the whole world, greening?





This poem is previously published, in Vanessa's collection 'Memorandum, poems for the fallen' (Cultured Llama, 2016).




Vanessa Gebbie is author of seven books including the novel ‘The Coward’s Tale’ (Bloomsbury 2011), two collections of short fiction ‘Words from a Glass Bubble’ and ‘Storm Warning’ (Salt), and two poetry publications ‘The Half-life of Fathers’ (Pighog) and ‘Memorandum, poems for the fallen’ (Cultured Llama). Her work has won both the Troubadour International and the Sussex poetry prizes. Twelve poems from Memorandum will form part of an exhibition for Hurstpierpoint Festival in September 2016, and will be illustrated in stained glass, photography and sculpture. www.vanessagebbie.com

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