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Latest Poem
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            [ID] => 18394
            [post_author] => 23
            [post_date] => 2017-10-10 14:30:04
            [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-10 14:30:04
            [post_content] => “That is the trouble: we are in two worlds, and it is probably hardly possible for you in yours to picture mine.” – John Jarmain.

You arrived this morning, packed into a bent envelope, once folded to
         attention.
The blue lines crawl about the margins, looking for ways out

and today I feel the desert is your lover more than I – you know
her face and trace her curves in words all sultry, snake-like.

51st Highland Division. First Scotland, then Egypt via Cape Town.
I remember your roads now like your name, blown into every corner

of this house, grit from a sandstorm. You speak to me
of desert fighting, sand-flies, routine training camps. I see you:

pale face, crescent eyes, scribbling the seconds, caught
in cursory moonlight. The birds are wheeling between your commas

and the dust, asphodels invade in tufts of frivol, frothing.
John Lambie plays some old song where marching is forgotten,

sands shift and slide away. Besides the battles, the ocean gapes
wide, like a wound between us. Sometimes I wonder if

our faces sink too far behind the dunes for you, the godless wanderer –
yet still, your letters faithfully wing their way

to foreign shores, lying there, bedraggled, bruised upon my lap.
Your daughter is well, I tell you, and so am I.

It is a pale day, weak from time, and treacherous.
The sands keep rising and still, so much to say.
            [post_title] => With love from Beryl
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            [post_name] => with-love-from-beryl
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            [post_modified] => 2017-10-10 14:30:04
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                    [wpcf-date-published] => 2017
                    [wpcf-summary-description] => This poem is the 1st prize winner in the Timothy Corsellis Prize 2017 on Young Poets Network (YPN), judged by Wendy Cope, Fran Brearton, Llewela Selfridge, and Judith Palmer.

Judge Fran Brearton said of this poem:
"The opening lines of this – the body of the letter trapped and seeking its way out along the margins – is powerful and arresting. The details in this poem (I particularly like the ‘cursory moonlight’ which – advertently or not, suggests the cursive script) put landscape into text, text into landscape. The letters have a life of their own; they are the birds wheeling as well as the bruised soldiers."

Freya reflects on her poem: 
"In my response to John Jarmain’s life, my intention was to convey a sense of another battle, a personal one, of fighting to maintain contact with loved ones whilst far from home. Reading extracts from Jarmain’s letters and researching his life caused me to realise how immediate such writing was: poetry, pain of separation, and small elements of everyday existence are conveyed here in a way that brings the man vividly to life, so even his love of bird watching, his description of desert flowers and the drudgery of battle training can be preserved. Some of Jarmain’s lines however, prompted me to also wonder about his second wife, Beryl’s, response. The ‘two worlds’ he spoke of would have affected her too, and I hope that by invoking her perspective I have made my poem more emotive.

Jarmain’s war was a highly mobile one: travelling was interspersed with uncertain periods, mere days away from fighting, when Jarmain would write through desert nights. It seemed likely to me that Beryl might have preferred to picture him this way, rather than immersed in horror, as both would have known the atrocity war involved without dwelling on it. Beryl rarely spoke of it after his death.

Yet above all, I wanted to allow Beryl to reflect upon Jarmain’s experiences, so that his tale is celebrated whilst the essence of the person remains. I strove to tell the human side, in the style of a letter itself, inspired by original communications and concerns, of one man’s story of intimacy throughout conflict.  Jarmain once wrote to Beryl, ‘we have said everything now’. In light of his early death just before D-Day, I thought it likely that Beryl might have disagreed that they’d been given enough time: thus I ended my poem on this wistful note."
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                    [wpcf-poem-award] => 1st prize winner, Timothy Corsellis Prize 2017
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                    [ID] => 18393
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                    [title] => Freya Carter
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                    [content] => Freya is the 1st prize winner in the Timothy Corsellis Prize 2017 on Young Poets Network.
                )

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