Fred was a poet in every sense of the word. We all wrote poetry back then; it was a requirement of the course, but he saw poetry in everything and he had a wicked sense of humour. I went abroad after graduating but kept in touch by post. Fred wasn't much of a letter writer so he sent me his poems.
Very sadly Fred died suddenly in 1999. I only found out when his widow wrote to decline the invitation to my wedding. I deeply regret that he didn't live to see me get married. I know that his old-fashioned Christian heart disapproved of me moving in with P before we were husband and wife, and I wish he had seen me put that right.
I didn't keep all the poems he sent me but I have several and I thought they deserved publication, if only on my blog.
This one is called 'The Poetry Orchard'. It is typically humble, humorous, but containing beautiful imagery. All the punctuation is Fred's.
The trees in the poetry orchards
have roots that go deep
(very, very deep)
into soil that has to be fertilised
with the rich compost of life.
In the topmost branches of the trees
like mulit-coloured birds
and cackle lustily.
In due season
the blossoms are cross-pollinated
by the poetry of others
(and not forgetting prose!)
the ripened poetry falls
into the fingers of the poet
and is sold in the market-place
or given to lovers!
ought to be locked up
And made to stop wasting time
Cultivating poetry orchards
Which are not...
And never will be...