Poetry Corner

There are a number of poets in the family, including my mother and her sister Iris who preferred to be know as Lilla by friends and family, and IMB by everyone else. My cousin Simon MacLaren also writes verse and my sister Serena wrote a poem which she read at her son Sam’s funeral. I also found out that my great great great aunt Alice Claire McDonell (of Keppoch) was the Bardess to the Clan Donald. Her sister Frances was later to become Sister Marie Celestine, and she wrote a very moving poem saying goodbye to her family and home when leaving to become a noviciate at Auteuil in Paris. Alice and Frances’ father also wrote poems and I hope to add some to the blog soon.

I’ve create a poetry category for all the poems I’ve found and added along the way, but I’ve included a list of selected highlights below:

Angela Kirby
I’ve added quite a few of my mother’s poems to this blog (see here). I’m also starting to add chapters from her A Toffee Pig for Christmas memoirs of her Lancashire childhood. The two poems below are probably not her best work, as they were written to order, but they are two of my favourites nonetheless.

A poem for Justin and Bridget on their wedding day
Written and read by Angela at my wedding to Bridget in 2004.

A poem for Sam and Claire on their wedding day
Written and read by Angela at my nephew Sam’s wedding to Claire in 2010. He was killed six month’s later out on patrol in Afghanistan.

Iris Birtwistle
When Leaf and Note Are Gone

A sample of poems written by my aunt Lilla from her When Leaf and Note are Gone collection published by my mother. There’s a review of the book in The Tablet in this post, together with her autobiographies in The Guardian and The Independent.

Serena Alexander
The naughtiest angel in heaven
Written by sister Serena and red by her at the funeral of her son Sam.

Simon MacLaren
Thought of the week

Written by cousin Simon in response to phone hacking by News of The World.

Alice Claire MacDonell
Alice Clair MacDonell is my great great great aunt and was the Bardess of Clan MacDonald. I’ve included a selection of her poems below:

The Weaving of the Tartan
The tartan was for Alice “symbolic of the many threads which go to make up Scotland and which bind Scots, whether at home or scattered around the globe, to their homeland and to other Scots

Culloden Moor
This poem was written at the end of the 19th Century and responds to the bleakness of the moor, after seeing it in the rain in autumn. Her great great grandfather Alexander was the Keppoch chief who fell at the side of Bonnie Prince Charlie at the battle of Culloden.

To Clan Donald
This poem is from Alice’s book the “Lays of the Heather”. It’s dedicated to formation Clan Donald society in 1889, the first since the Jacobite up rising in ’45.

Frances MacDonell (Sister Marie Celestine)
Farewell to Keppoch House
Written by my great great great aunt Frances John Baptist McDonell to say goodbye to her family and home when leaving to become a noviciate at Auteuil in Paris.

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