Message from the Dead (April 15th 2005) Marilyn Longstaff

A birthday card from Dad
was in the clearance pile, some rural scene
bought from the V & A.

I must have kept it for its rarity.
Mum did cards, except for Valentines
when I bought Dad’s for her.

At first, I hadn’t recognised
the name – thought it said Fred
(Dad’s writing was appalling) –

until I got it into daylight.
Felt sad that he had died so long ago
even his writing had become a blur,

from Dad with all good wishes
on your birthday, and the message
in another colour, Prov. 3. (5-8)

Now more than 30 years have passed
he’s sending me a text,
as I’m grieving in my small and quiet way
for Julia Darling, who I knew a little:

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart:
and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him,
and he shall direct thy paths.
Be not wise in thine own eyes;
fear the Lord and depart from evil.
It shall be health to thy navel,
and marrow to thy bones.

I first saw Julia (and Ellen) at a poetry Virgins performance in Newcastle and I heard her on Woman’s Hour. Then I met her when she ran workshops (inspirational) at Bishop Auckland. Subsequently, we ran into each other a bit and I got a northern promise award when she got the big prize (so we read at the same events).
I wrote this poem for Julia and it’s in my book ‘Raiment’. Marilyn Longstaff

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One Response to Message from the Dead (April 15th 2005) Marilyn Longstaff

  1. Annie Moir says:

    It’s such a lovely poem – good to read it after hearing it read out loud.

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