"Wading neck deep in a swamp, your revolver is neither use nor ornament until you have had time to clean it" Mary H. Kingsley (1897)


The Lament Of Loss

The two chairs still sit together on their verandah:
his and hers;
the grandparents I never met.

Following a decade of health problems, all had assumed that he would be the first to go.
But it was my grandmother who quietly surrendered:
the unexpected loss of a son, too much to bear.

Life’s meaning was lost.
My grandfather turned his face to the wall.
In a matter of days he followed her.


Dido’s Lament

“Thy hand, Belinda, darkness shades me,
On thy bosom let me rest,
More I would, but Death invades me;
Death is now a welcome guest.

When I am laid, am laid in earth, May my wrongs create
No trouble, no trouble in thy breast;
Remember me, remember me, but ah! forget my fate.
Remember me, but ah! forget my fate.”

From Dido and Aeneas
Music: Henry Purcell

Libretto: Nahum Tate

Picture of the verandah in our family’s home, which my grandfather built, and where my father lived as a child and young man.