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