LEE

a day like any other started but
became one when you died to take away
those fifty years of more than friendship need
to see the other laugh and talk and scale
a Welsh and hail-thrashed mountain where we'd watched
the Brocken throw our pale black shadows on
a cloud quite insubstantial I suppose
a warning of a kind death is no end
your soul is somewhere and your skill's safe in
so many poems first in lower case
unique sincere and wry to last as proof
of tenderness a quiet discovery
we'll miss with tears and gratitude no more
to say just now

     Harry Guest




An Excursion and a Visit
i.m. Lee Harwood
 
a cellphone photograph
(blurred) of Chanctonbury Ring
up from Buncton chapel, 2007
 
trees mark the site, partly flattened
by gales twenty years back, resuming a shape,
 
a semblance of high wind,
clouds massing, the profile of a hilltop
 
*
 
a mechanical duck peddled a tricycle
across a floor in Hove,
 
the sea down the road
a limit horizon (described as a wall
                                 by Paul Evans
 
a ruined pier
rusted metal flutings
 
                                    the Regency had time
for such amusements

     Laurie Duggan




Me Too
   i.m. Lee Harwood, 1939 - 2015

Oh Lee             where to begin?
There is so much silence
and       strangely       so much noise
out there in the world
tonight in these emptier August hours
as I sit at this desk and try to write
inadequate words
now disorder's taken you
through the darkened mirror...

In the silence I think of a book
of poems I've recently sold
and how on inspecting its pages
I realised I needed to erase
my pencil-markings in the margins
     (Condition: Used, Like New).

One of the verses I'd marked
whenever I'd first read that book
(and which for that moment's
forgotten reason spoke to me
with a melancholy truth
that time will not erase)
ended with the phrase:
'Let's drink... smiling at grief.
'

I thought of you then, Lee
the living you, smiling -
that thing you did as much as with your eyes
as with your lips -
and tried to smile at my own grief
as I worked my way back through the book      
from last page to beginning
erasing each pencilled memory.
 
It made me realise how much I'd miss
those marvellous letters of yours
typed on that old manual machine
the typos precisely corrected by hand
your tell-tale lettering
gracing the envelope's leaf -
delicate curls       and glyphs
that couldn't be anyone else's -
and which used to make me smile
as I bent to gather them from the threshold
the way I smile at any great joy
in the world       silence or sunset      
or the waking gift of morning.

But I'm getting away with myself in my grief,
at which I know I should be smiling.
I was going to say how, as I worked my way back
through that book from omega to alpha,
that I was thinking of you, Lee,
thinking   so hard
  
it was both shock and certainty
to find there at the beginning    
beside a poem called 'Ten Steps to the Sea'
the poet's simple phrase      'Me too'
and my note in the margin       see Harwood

which       forgotten then       remembered now
refers, I take it, to your lines
'Gorgeous - yet another Brighton poem'
in which you walk       again       down to the sea...
come on, you know the words:

'Gorgeous bodies, young and old.
Me too. Just gorgeous. Just feeling good
and happy and so at ease in the world.'

Well, me too, Lee       strangely,
feeling good and happy and alive
and so damned sad at once.
       How can that be,
so happy and alive and so damned sad?

You're the only one I know
who could answer that acceptably -
smiling       accepting of
it       yes, 'that's right' -
though you're no longer here to give answer

though, maybe, in some ways you are.
Maybe like you in yours

and that other poet in his
poem
stepping out towards the water's edge
I'll take my walk down to the estuary
this warm and drizzly August afternoon
and feel 'the air so soft and warm'
against my skin.     Let's go now, Lee        
you       and me too.

     Andy Brown




NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE
i.m. Lee Harwood

It depends on the angle
the point of view
and how you learn to look

what you can see     the moon
still up mid-morning     the gull
circling the house     eye on

the bread on the bird table
brilliant blue morning     house
to myself     hot buttered toast

in the garden     black coffee
in my favourite mug     New York
skyline with the twin towers

still there    The idea is to
let the poet tell in his own voice
He did     He does     He did

Whichever way you look at it
he's dead     and gone
and not enough people noticed

     Rupert M Loydell