Golden Wedding

In fifty years
New names appear
But through them all
One theme runs clear:
As roles evolve
And lives unfold,
A tale of Love
Therein is told.

For Granny and Bumpah
October 1990

Over the Alps

I do not pray these days.
The faith is gone
Which underpinned such rites.
Yet do I still,
In quiet moments
Of the day and night,
Commend you to the gods,
Call down upon you
Joy and health and peace
And days of grace.
Now the water flows,
As healing sun
Melts through the winter snows.

Bess was lonely and ill, in Milan (2000)

Somewhere in France

After the picnic
By a cherry tree,
We climbed to the top
Of a chalky hill
And over the brow
To cornfields beyond.
There, in sun and wind
We walked and unwound,
Rarest of moments
Completely alone,
Save for a skylark
Ascending above.
I longed to bed you
In ripening corn
But held back, restrained
By foolish taboos
And by our children
Waiting back there
Under the tree.
The thought of it
Fed my mind and body
For hours afterwards.

26 July 1986
 

My new sister

My sister’s name is Lucy
And she’s only four months old,
She coos and gurgles all day long
And is quite as good as gold.

Now I’m her grown up brother,
I’m nearly two you see,
In all our games, in all we do,
Lucy will follow me!

November 1971

For Mother

When evening light the garden fills
And shadows fall across the lawn
Beneath the oak,
Down the long path
With trug of windfalls
And a bunch of mint,
I see you coming,
Smiling, to greet us.

March 1993

Red

Red box for letters,
Red lights for stopping,
Red spades for digging,
Red balls for throwing.

Red boots for puddles,
Red kites for flying,
Red clouds at sunset,
Red fruit for picking.

Red eyes from crying,
Red knees from falling,
Red bows for tying,
Red shoes for dancing.

Red cheeks from running,
Red face from fibbing,
Red flames for warming,
Red hearts for loving.

(And “Red wine for Daddy!” says Lucy!)

Baby

Believers in spells
We hardly speak of it,
And yet we know
Within your secret self
The baby grows
And daily lays his claim
To food and space, to air,
To life itself,
And to our life
Which until now we shared
In love and work
And peaceful happiness.

For these quiet years
When we like rivers flowed
Each into each,
Our separate streams to bind,
My thanks and love,
My joy and faithfulness.

And for this change
When we from two shall grow
Into a third,
And found its infant life
On work and faith,
Be you my heart
And daily comforter,
As I’ll your strength
And constant husband be.

30 July 1969