Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Hortense and Bridget

Initially it was the names
They aroused my interest
Names have always fascinated
Emily Pankhurst, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso
Leonora Carrington, Samuel Pepys, Eleanor Roosevelt,
Benjamin Disraeli, Horatio Nelson, Rudolf Nureyev,
Elizabeth Fry.

Margaret Thatcher, Gordon Brown
Sorry, they just don't cut it for me.

But back to my point
Hortense and Bridget
Two good names to conjure.
Some names make their demands;
One needs to live up to them;
Reach their potential, prove oneself.

And so it was through a love of poetry
Hortense and I met.
Not in person; not even speaking on the 'phone
Online; emails.

I've always like women;
Women's company; their easy humour;
Their ability to 'discover' one another, dig deep
in the shortest time.
H and I did this.
Hortense, I learned, was many things but
writing was our link.
Bridget, her partner, a painter.
See, there you go.

One day we - Stephen and I
had the invite.
Ceret, a small arty, cobbly town
South of France, where they lived.
I knew the trip would not disappoint.
Hortense and Bridget/Bridget and Hortense
An instant, easy connection
Kisses on both cheeks, bisous, laughter
Talk, talk, talk, food and wine and chocolate.

They lived up to their names, they are living up to their names
And I'm pretty sure they will continue doing so.
Sometimes, not always of course,
it just works
It's all in a name.

September 2015/MM

Thursday, 3 September 2015


Ballad of Anglesey

This is an island written in stone
Of hunters, warriors, poets and song
They came through the forests of northern Wales
Thousands of years way before Christ
Following deer by day and by night;

Across the tracks and across the trails
Here come the hunters to Anglesey
Gathering roots, gathering berries
Collecting mussels from the Swellies
Making weapons of wood, flint and bone
Settlements form – it’s the Age of Stone.

They cleared the woods and planted crops
Wool, skins and meat came from livestock
Burial chambers they built from that stone
They started to worship the sun as it shone.
They made their tools from iron, copper and bronze
And built their forts on headlands and hills.

The culture of Celts swept in on the tide
Warriors fierce tribe by tribe;
There were priests, lawmakers, druids in robes
Worshipping figures and hero-gods
Battling against the English invaders
Battling against those from Rome
Wars were won and some were lost
Fighting to make this island their home.

The Vikings came, then Edward the First
But Owain Glyndwr felt the land to be cursed
Then a man from Penmynydd took the English throne
An uneasy settling was felt in Welsh bones;

They were farming, smuggling, mining the earth
When action came with a Civil War
And the year was now 1644.
But no backwater here as poetry thrives
Men of letters, Welsh scholars are a sign of the times.

The Industrial Revolution transformed the isle
With new roads, railways and mines
Now this beautiful island with two bridges,
Beaches, hills, sand dunes and farms
Castles, rocks, gorse and heather
A sky so big you can touch the stars
Venus, Jupiter and Mars. 

Yes, this is a place written in stone
And here I am but a grain of dust
But love this land, love this island
I do, I will, I must.


Meg Marsden copyright/August 2015