Family newsletter fails

I have failed miserably to get my cousins to let me know what they and their offspring, if they have any, let me know what they are up to. I was hoping to put a newsletter together, but sadly mostly encountered silence. So seems like my audience for this blog consists of my mother, my geneaologist cousins Hamish MacLaren and serial game show participant cousin Anthony Pritchard (who was eliminated tonight after a sterling performance on Episode 1 of Series 2 of BBC2’s Antique Master). There might also be one or two others lurking about hoping I might stumble upon some long lost title, but they don’t seemed to have expressed interest yet, or even feigned it.

Other news includes a very moving letter published in The Telegraph by my sister Serena Alexander. She was responding to Andrew Robathan, the Minister for Defence Personnel, saying a decision had been taken deliberately to avoid public scenes of emotion during repatriation of servicemen’s remains. As mentioned in earlier post, her son Sam had been killed while serving in Afghanistan and in her letter she compares the warmth and respect she felt at the public ceremony in Wootton Bassett, versus the more private  proceedings at RAF Lyneham; the later, she explains, being undertaken with dignity but with little consideration for the feelings of the family and friends.

My mother, Angela Kirby, will be taking part in a special Poetry Library Festival of Britain event on 7th July at the Southbank Centre as part of celebration of the 60th anniversary of the 1951 Festival of Britain. She’ll be speaking with Tim Dooley about the the Festival and original 1951 Poetry London poetry magazine, which included a poem by her older sister (included below). To find out more and book a place, go to the event page here.

The Ballad of Apple Jane – Iris Birtwistle

This piteous apparition
A-chatter in the lane
Was once the village lovely
That they called Apple Jane.
Her pumpkin cheeks were riper
Than any fruit tree’s pride,
And many a dreamy youth
Looked to a mellow bride.

Her mind now roams unfettered,
It soars among the birds;
And only doe-eyed children
Can translate broken words.
She gathers slender tendrils
To lattice falling hair;
As colder bind the seasons
Numbed limbs dance unaware.

The Summer finds her muffled
In folds of scarecrow coat,
Through Winter she runs rawfoot
With web-wisps at her throat.
She scours the stream for pennies
Among the waters cold,
And counts the mallow petals
As misers check their gold.

She is the patient mid-wife
At every wild thing’s birth;
Her kingdoms are unnumbered,
Her larder is the earth.
She scorns a hovel-shelter
And sleeps against the sky.
She neither fears the living
Nor is afraid to die.

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