Leaving Whitstable

In memory of my old friend, the late Canon Gerald Hudson

You’re older this time, driving more erratic,
eyes more bloodshot. We talk and read
and talk again. Not everything is said.
We’ve shared our pilgrimage for years;
When it’s good-bye, how will we know?

Your memories are of Larkin and of Keyes,
your peers at Oxford. I press onward,
seize the challenge, trying in my turn
to speak the silence, sing the dark –
notice, and it’s gone … How capture that?

Inside the train I write to wring
my spirits out, pin them on the sky to dry.
The teasing sun with one last shaft of fire
retires behind the draperies of cloud.
Leaving Whitstable, I mourn.


©Virginia Rounding, 1993

First published in Aireings 28, November 1994