Writing poetry seriously since first publication in Arts Council magazine 1960. Planning posthumous publication, but lots to do beforehand. Prizes and minor competitions won, anthology inclusions, some even attracting fees. Passionate about words and accuracy. Much work personal or political. Some juvenilia still OK, but need polishing.
If the buildings…….. Come closer, I have to tell you about the blood. I walked six days for work and my feet bled. That was the least of it. Come close, I have to tell and I have no one else. No wife, no child, no father or mother now. No state, no honour Just the buildings. Only the buildings are left to me. Come closer, I have to tell you about the sorrow. I learnt not to love too long, and my memory bled. That was the least of it. Come close, I have no country I have only myself. No honour, no history, No love from those I loved not too long Just the buildings, only the buildings are left to me. Come closer, I have to tell you about exile, I fled the assassin’s hand, and my scars bled. That was the least of it. No words, no mother tongue Come close, I cannot tell you all. No justice, no gentleness, the irony only The irony that she called me a true gentleman Just that, and the buildings, are left to me. Come closer, you cannot see me I lost all and never wanted. There was no more bleeding That was the most of it. No pity, no more sun, no more keen frosts Go now. The buildings remain. This poem is about Martin Nadaud (1815-1898), a famous mason from La Creuse, France. An autodidact, he was exiled for his radical views, and taught himself and others English during his exile in the UK. When he returned to France he became a politician and député in La Creuse, but had lost all contact with his family in the interim. George Sand called him ‘a true gentleman’. He is largely forgotten today. His motto was ‘Quand le bâtiment va, tout va’ ‘If the buildings are fine, everything’s fine’. (Loose translation). The history of the Maçons de La Creuse is fascinating. They walked the hundred of miles to Paris every Spring, returning in December. They built most of the Parisian public buildings of the 19th century, and most of the cobbled boulevards. La Creuse was and still is one of the poorest areas in France.
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- 2017 (1)
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