- 67 years old
- Date of birth: Apr 28, 1947
- Date of passing: Jan 10, 2015
|Let the memory of Judy be with us forever|
"Dear, dear Judy,
Such wonderful, far-off memories; but my thoughts and prayers are now with your husband and your lovely family who must somehow learn to live without you alongside them. Your deep faith was always such an inspiration to me. Thank you for what you said to me, thank you for what you gave me, and thank you for being such an important person in my life. I loved you so much.
Truly, deeply and forever missed.
"1. I should have been there". (A Lament)
Judy, forgive me, for what sort of friend
Would choose to desert you right at the end ?
Like a fool far away, I could only instead
Picture you, all alone, in your hospital bed.
And as cruel Death approached you, nearer and nearer,
Your sweet life to me became dearer and dearer.
- I should have been there at the end.
I should have been there at the end,
And through long lonely hours, surrounded by flowers,
Perhaps reminisced how we'd first met and kissed,
I'd have striven to be your own palliative nurse
And soothe away pain when it chanced to get worse.
- Oh, I should have been there at the end.
I should have been there at the end,
I should have looked into those lovely green eyes,
Whispered softly my love and said our goodbyes;
But now you're not here it's so hard to move on,
I just try to pretend that you're not really gone,
- I should have been there at the end.
Oh Judy, the thing is, I still think of you
Whenever I hear those old songs that we knew;
In my bed, in the darkness, very often I'll see
The girl who brought sunshine and laughter to me,
On the beach, in the sea, I still picture the scene,
You brought Heaven to me - at only sixteen,
Such a magic Beginning that I can't pretend
It was right not to see you once more at the End.
So yes, Judy - I should have been there at the end.
2. "Castle Cove, 1962 - memories of a barbecue" (pictured above).
See how the sad and lifeless sand
Awaits the levelling sea,
And lonely footprints - memories
Of how we used to be;
How waves that pounded are no more,
But seem too tired to lap the shore.
Yet once there was fire amidst the dark,
And crackling flames and a burning heart ;
Your skin much softer than the sand
We lay entwined, or hand in hand,
With young soft lips we kissed and kissed
And sealed that first romantic tryst,
While eyes shone more than the stars above
We loved as only lovers love.
Yes, here in teenage long ago
A bonfire burned and my heart glowed,
And wonderfully, magically, deep inside
A love was born as the embers died.
3. "Two in a pew in '62" (Happy Memories of Westham Methodist Church)
It's off we all lurch in the Hillman to church,
In the front it's all peaceful and quiet,
Yet it's hard to change gear when back at the rear
It sounds like the start of a riot !
Arms and legs they are flailing and Jen's all a-wailing
There are five of us all squeezed in tight !
But its fun all the same, whoever's to blame,
And soon Westham church is in sight.
On occasion we two, all hidden from view,
Sit upstairs and there all alone
Our love is so strong that it doesn't seem wrong
To hold hands and feel we are one.
The church is still there but the pews now are chairs,
So much in our lives has been riven,
Your family's dispersed, but this is the worst -
You too are not here, but in Heaven.
And as I go to sleep I'm still apt to weep
And reach out for your soft gentle hand,
But the girl I adored is now with the Lord,
Singing still - in a far distant Land.
4. "I still see you".
(Judy's father was a highly respected master baker and Sunday teas were wonderful occasions.)
I still see you sitting with me at your Sunday tea-time table,
Striving to behave myself as far as I am able,
In come two plates of home baked cakes, each one a delicacy,
Then we must choose just whose is whose - it's that cream slice for me !
Another customary dish appears much later on that night
When in upon another plate, another great delight,
Smooth white dripping carefully spread on rectangles of thin-cut bread
Is offered round to eager hands before it's time for bed.
Later, in your garage dark we are alone again,
We laugh and whisper words of love (we're on another plane),
At length we hear your dad call out, 'Judy… Judy, it's late!'
And with a sigh we kiss goodbye - the end of one more date.
I recollect such happiness as I rode home at night,
Pure romance seemed to follow me, sometimes in soft moonlight,
Along the dark deserted roads on my old bike I sped,
So very fast, the miles soon passed, till I was home in bed.
I guard those precious memories yet, of suppers, hugs and cakes,
But now a heart which once beat strong with such deep sorrow aches,
For here, years later, in my home, I wait for you on Skype,
Your frozen face stares out at me still urging me to type,
My fingers hover stupidly above the waiting keys,
Your image starts to blur from tears, yet no-one cares or sees.
Awareness dawns and then the pain, I realize I wait in vain,
The penny drops, and my heart stops,
- we'll never talk again.
5. "Sitting on the railings, 1963".
( Judy loved the sea, the briny harbour and being on the beach, and the following image of her has always stayed in my mind like a photograph.)
There are fine old Georgian railings that are painted white and blue
Stretching right along the promenade till almost out of view,
Such a ribbon of protection
Also forms a strong connection
With the happy times I walked along that promenade with you.
For I see you in my mind's eye, its a fine mid-summer's day,
Sitting there upon those railings though it's not for long you stay,
As our smiling eyes first meet
So you slip down from your seat
Hands and lips melt soft together and we go upon our way.
Tight blue jeans, soft pink jumper, headscarf blowing in the breeze,
Still I see you, o so clearly, picture you with such clear ease.
But there my dream ends, whereupon,
Cruelly cut off, you are gone,
Such tantalizing flashbacks, why aren't there more of you than these ?
6. "The Last Swim, 1964."
We lie on Greenhill's warm smooth stones
Shivering, cold and wet,
Whispering love in such soft tones
I never shall forget.
Small shimmering droplets of the sea
Stay gleaming on your skin,
Like diamonds glistening just for me
They light my heart within.
Arm touching arm, we lie so close,
Beneath a perfect sky,
The Zephyr wind upon us blows,
The day drifts slowly by.
Our eyelids close in soft repose,
Relaxed we rest as one,
The voices fade and then the waves,
We slumber in the sun.
To sea-side beauty now I'm blind,
For here's the place where we reclined,
The stones lie round about forlorn,
And I can only sit and mourn.
The solitude of each sad stone
I sense, as I sit here alone.
7. "The School Train, 1963"
(In the 1960s about 150 secondary pupils went by steam train daily from Weymouth to the grammar schools in Dorchester - Hardye's for the boys and the Green School for the girls. Judy was one of very few girls on the boys' train...)
O the cold and frosty air
That often greets me standing there,
Eight o'clock and feeling numb,
All alone on Platform 1 ,
Then in my freezing carriage seat
I sit and wait for welcome heat!
Looking, scanning, waiting, waiting.
At last, far off, I glimpse your hair
'Midst people milling here and there
Then flashes too of 'Green School'-green
Amongst the grey and gabardine.
A woodland nymph among the elves
Who laugh and joke among themselves,
A sea of boys, all shapes and sizes,
All envious of what my prize is !
You give a smile of recognition
And rid all fears of competition.
We are all smiles, we are all love,
We're everything worth dreaming of,
Transported all I see is you,
All other faces fade from view;
Romantic moments on a train
Oh to have them back again!
In Bincombe Hill the lights go out
The work no doubt of Birch, the lout!
But in the darkness how remiss,
We seize the moment - steal a kiss -
Before the daylight comes again
And spoils our loving little game.
To Dorchester we quickly steam,
Then from the station yard we teem,
Walk hand in hand to where we part
(and when you leave you take my heart),
I linger by the traffic lights
And watch until you're gone from sight.
Then knowing I am really late,
I run so fast, in through the gate,
They've all gone in ! - as I appear
My classmates see me, start to cheer,
In through the window then I climb
Good job I'm fit and in my prime !
8. "The Chalice "
(written with true joy on finally rediscovering Judy in the summer of 2014, but immediately I began to worry in case I should lose her again - was this a premonition?)
I have found again my crystal chalice.
It contains all the colour of my hopes,
All the sweetness of my dreams,
All the passion of a past and present love,
A truly wondrous, heady potion,
So, a toast to you - of pure devotion !
Let the sunshine of your love
Dazzle bright through every facet
So the diamonds it produces
Ever fill and light my heart.
O dread despair and desolation,
Should one day this chalice shatter,
Then an awful desperation
Herald my annihilation,
Seeing all that really matters
Broken fragments all around,
Scattered pieces without meaning
Lying lifeless on the ground,
No more colour, love nor sweetness,
Only darkness, cold and bleakness.
9. "Last Christmas" (as Judy lay dying, December 2014).
Dear Judy, did Christmas some comfort bring,
Did you feel yourself there at His birth?
Did you hear all the angels exultant sing
In the holiest place on Earth?
Did Eternity's hosts gather round you,
Did they bring you relief at the end?
Did you pray to the Lord with devotion,
Did His Peace and His Love both transcend?
Were celestial banners unfurling
As your consciousness started to wane?
Did the spirit of Christmas console you
And allow you to smile once again?
Did the trumpets all sound in your honour,
Did the splendour of Heaven shine bright?
Did the Lord welcome you Home for ever
To bathe in His radiant light?
Did you find yourself there right beside Him,
Did He see the pure Goodness in you?
Did you tenderly smile at each other
As your life He replenished anew?
10. "Angel Nightingale"
Somewhere lovely above the skies
A novice angel soars and flies,
The power of God propels her wings,
With other angels she sings and sings,
Her heart bursts forth with heavenly joy
And nothing can such love destroy,
As on Earth she sang in praise
Now in Heaven she'll sing always,
No more sorrow, tears or sighs,
Pure beauty shines in those angel eyes.
11. "My Secret Archive"
I am the custodian, frail and old, of final words that can't be told,
Of rare and private conversation, now bequeathed to conservation,
Of memories of us together, vaulted deep within for ever.
And every one of my collection - golden pieces, each reflection.
For you who puzzle from afar what these masterpieces are,
They're pictures hung along dark walls, which none shall see as evening falls."
Have a suggestion for us?