My spring stay at Clifford Barton Cottages turned out a bit differently to what I’d planned because my Dad died just before I went. It was sad but not unexpected; he was ninety-two and had been ill for a while, and he had said many times during his last months that he was ready to go. He was a keen walker and always happiest out of doors so a week of beautiful spring weather in a place he would have loved was exactly what I needed at that point, and I couldn’t have found myself in a better spot.
I made very little work apart from a couple of shadow drawings, but I slept a lot and sat in the sun and shared meals and walks with the people I love so it was generally a good preparation for whatever comes next. As far as my work goes I am lost at the moment, but that’s okay. In the meantime I shall take photos and notice things.
by Thomas Hardy
When the Present has latched its postern behind my tremulous stay,
And the May month flaps its glad green leaves like wings,
Delicate-filmed as new-spun silk, will the neighbours say,
“He was a man who used to notice such things”?
If it be in the dusk when, like an eyelid’s soundless blink,
The dewfall-hawk comes crossing the shades to alight
Upon the wind-warped upland thorn, a gazer may think,
“To him this must have been a familiar sight.”
If I pass during some nocturnal blackness, mothy and warm,
When the hedgehog travels furtively over the lawn,
One may say, “He strove that such innocent creatures should come to no harm,
But he could do little for them; and now he is gone.”
If, when hearing that I have been stilled at last, they stand at the door,
Watching the full-starred heavens that winter sees,
Will this thought rise on those who will meet my face no more,
“He was one who had an eye for such mysteries”?
And will any say when my bell of quittance is heard in the gloom,
And a crossing breeze cuts a pause in its outrollings,
Till they rise again, as they were a new bell’s boom,
“He hears it not now, but used to notice such things”?
. . . . .
In memory of Dermot John Carolan,
born 3 February 1926, died 16 May 2018
Images and main text © Angela Williams 2018