My Mother's Beau

'Passionate and loving verse from the

heart of a quiet intellectual - my father'

A few years ago on my mother's passing I came into possession of an old quarto notebook covered in dark blue leatherette. Cover to cover it was filled with poems and verse scribed in my late father's handwriting.

A cursory glance suggested the poems to have a romantic inference. And indeed, on closer inspection, it became obvious that this book was a heart's repository for a man totally smitten by the love of his life - my mother.

My parents met in 1933, were soon engaged, and it seems this was the trigger for my father's romantic output. They were subsequently married in 1938, thence going on to enjoy 47 blissful years together.

As I knew him, my father was a quiet, reclusive, thinking individual, a true intellectual possessing a very superior knowledge of history and the arts. In his late teens he would have been an intense, serious, very good-looking young man, and already gifted in the art of self expression.

This book comprises eighty-five poems written between 1934 and 1945. And it's clear that the feeling and passion to be found in many of these offerings could only have come from a captive heart.

These are my two favourite poems:

We kissed - Cotswolds - 1936

 

Between the many winding streams

Of Cherwell, Avon, Stour and Thames

There’s many a lane and many a glade

Where well a man might kiss his maid.

 

In Oxford, in a college hall

We kissed, whilst from the ancient wall

The rev’rend learned ones looked down

Nor cared we if they chanced to frown.

 

Beside the Windrush, flowing fast

We kissed as each small wave went past

And kissed in lanes mid wild flowers

In scented gardens, quiet bowers

In villages whose beauty made

Me long and long to kiss my maid.

 

At morn and even it was bliss

To feel the sweetness of our kiss,

And when the sun at noon rode high

We kissed the sunlit hours by.

 

There is no place where soft the lords

Hide shy-eyed beauty in their folds

In which we did not as we went

Kiss gaily and in sweet content.

 

For ‘tween the many winding streams

Of Cherwell, Avon, Stour and Thames,

In every lane and every glade

 

Where well a man might kiss his maid

I kissed you, dearest, and each kiss

Was very, very, perfect bliss.

 

 

I heard you sing - Autumn 1937

 

You sang, and as you sang, I heard

Singing in leafy bowers a bird

With feathers gay and throbbing breast.

I heard the spring breeze whispering low

Through budding branches in the night

When every distant star is bright

And every bird is rocked to rest.

I heard the lone lakewater lap

I heard the murmuring sea at noon

The bubbling brook beneath the moon,

The ripe corn blown

The waterfall

The raindrops on the pine-tree tall,

And then from heaven’s utmost height

In far dim vastness lost to sight

I heard an angel sing a song

Whose sweetness filled the earth with light

And every creature stood and listened

Every dew-dripped flower glistened.

And within myself I said

“Dear heart the throng

Of all earth’s fairest,

Best and rarest

Now is echoing to your song.”

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