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INSPIRATION FROM A VISITATION OF MY MUSE

Written by: Barry Tebb | Biography
 Memories bursting like tears or waves

On some lonely Adriatic shore

Beating again and again

Threshings of green sea foam

Flecked like the marble Leonardo

Chipped for his ‘Moses’.
And my tears came as suddenly In that dream, criss-crossed With memory and desire.
Grandad Nicky had worked Down the pits for a pittance To bring up his six children But nothing left over for more Than a few nuts and an orange For six Christmas stockings So hopefully hung, weighted by pennies, Stretched across the black mantle.
So Lawrence-like and yet not, grandad A strict Methodist who read only a vast Bible Hunched in his fireside chair insisting On chapel three times on Sundays.
Only in retirement did joy and wisdom Enter him, abandoning chapel he took To the Friends or Quakers as they called them then And somehow at seventy the inner light Consumed him.
Gruff but kind was my impression: He would take me for walks Along abandoned railways to the shutdown Pipeworks where my three uncles Worked their early manhood through.
It would have delighted Auden and perhaps That was the bridge between us Though we were of different generations And by the time I began to write he had died.
All are gone except some few who may live still But in their dotage.
After my mother’s funeral None wanted contact: I had been judged in my absence And found wanting.
Durham was not my county, Hardly my country, memories from childhood Of Hunwick Village with its single cobbled street Of squat stone cottages and paved yards With earth closets and stacks of sawn logs Perfuming the air with their sap In a way only French poets could say And that is why we have no word but clich? ‘Reflect’ or ‘make come alive’ or other earthbound Anglicanisms; yet it is there in Valery Larbaud ‘J’ai senti pour la premiere fois toute la douceur de vivre’- I experienced for the first time all the joy of living.
I quote of their plenitude to mock the absurdity Of English poets who have no time for Francophiles Better the ‘O altitudo’ of earlier generations – Wallace Stevens’ "French and English Are one language indivisible.
" That scent of sawdust, the milkcart the pony pulled Each morning over the cobbles, the earthenware jug I carried to be filled, ladle by shining ladle, From the great churns and there were birds singing In the still blue over the fields beyond the village But because I was city-bred I could not name them.
I write to please myself: ‘Only other poets read poems’



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