Flights of Fancy

If flights of fancy all came true,
would I be me or you be you?
Best trust not fancy’s fickle flame,
Nor yield to wishing’s fruitless game.
As far as I’m concerned, I know
I much prefer the status quo!
You are my joy, my pride, my light,
To you my fancy takes its flight.

For Judy’s 50th birthday,
4 May 1995

Into Italian sunshine

The snows of the Alps
Changed into Spring blossom
As we moved southwards
Into Italian sunshine.

Venice. April 1976

Lucy’s Letter

I have written a note to the fairies
And put it outside near the tree,
I hope that they see it and read it
And perhaps write a few words to me.

I have asked them to come to my party
Though I fear they may not like the noise,
I think they’ll be timid and frightened
By the shouts of the girls and the boys.

So I’ve put them some food in the garden
And some teacups on Mummy’s best tray;
In the moonlight they’ll have their own party
And dance till the dawning of day.

I’ll try to keep watch from my window,
Perhaps on the lawn I shall see
Titania, the Queen of the Fairies,
And perhaps she will wave up at me.

For Lucy March 1977

Phlox

This morning I could suddenly smell
The phlox in my grandfather’s garden.
You were lying there beside me, still
Hardly awake and the whole room was
Filled with flowers from before you were born.
We ran down the garden path, looking
For windfalls, my sister and I, and
The pink and white phlox grew over us,
Swarming with brown bees dusty with pollen.
You said “what are you thinking about?”
As I stared at the ceiling. “I can
Smell the phlox in my grandfather’s garden.”
I was thinking of my own deep joy
And the depth of my sister’s sadness.

16 February 1969

Girton (response by Lucy Norman)

And Springs and Springs
Have come and from the aged wood
New leaf and gentle blossom
Quite constant to appointment.
But you, the author,
Where do you reside
If not the apple-bough?

Its years and years since
Your lifeless body
Was carried through the driving rain
Ahead of black umbrellas
That perched like crows
To mourn our pointless way.

And yet we seek you still,
Your dark-haired daughters,
To hold us high
Above the agony
Of life.

By Lucy Norman March 2015

Girton

So old and winter-worn
The apple trees of Girton,
Each ivied trunk inhabited
By female spirits, resting
After battles but not sleeping.
Soft dews of summer days,
Anoint their tired limbs,
Refresh and re-invest
Heroic minds.
The struggle is not won
And from the aged wood
New flowers must spring.

Cambridge
28 July 1989