Sunday, 11 December 2016

Poet of the Severn and Somme

In north Gloucester with a scant hour to fill, I headed a few miles norther still to Twigworth. 

My destination was St Matthew's Church and it was locked ... but for once, this didn't matter as what I had come to see was in the churchyard. 

A grave within earshot of the noisy A38 isn't really what you would wish for Ivor Gurney. If ever a poet deserved peace in their final resting place, he does.

At least he has a beautiful view, looking in the opposite direction, over the Severn Vale to Innsworth ...
... and from a nearby tree, a robin was singing its heart out.  

Compared with some of the other graves, Ivor's was positively Spartan. 

All I'd brought for him was a copy of his collected poems, thinking we could read one or two together. But there was a couple assiduously tending the silk flowers on a nearby grave, so I sat down on a rather damp bench and read a few to myself until they left. 

Finally, with five minutes to spare before I had to leave, Ivor and I had the place to ourselves. 
Yesterday Lost

What things I have missed today, I know very well,
But the seeing of them each new time is miracle.
Nothing between Bredon and Dursley has
Any day yesterday's precise unpraisѐd grace.
The changed light, or curve changed mistily,
Coppice, now bold cut, yesterday's mystery.
A sense of mornings, once seen, forever gone, 
Its own for ever: alive, dead, and in my possession.

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