Here is, if you ever needed it, evidence that Roy has been writing poetry for at least the last 60 years. That is the length of my relationship with him too and I can see in this collection of poems, many of the chapters and even paragraphs of these minutes and days.
This is now the second time that I have interpreted and recompiled his work; the first three iterations of his website were almost entirely dictated in his instruction to me as the web designer. All I had to do was create a structure, a container into which we could tip his efficiently crafted verses. Making a website for a poet should be easy; after all we just need simplicity in presentation. The task gets more difficult each time; poets agonise over the similar issues of structure, sense and meaning. This site has a mixture of old and new poems
I was touched when, one morning Roy asked me to email a poem to my son Xander. He owned that he had got up that very morning and put the final touches to a couple of verses that he’d written some time ago but, like many of his kind, left lying for lack of a suitable polish. This poem he dedicated to his Great Grandson Max, my first Grandchild and Xander’s Son, born in 2013. Max is 60 years younger than Alison, Roy’s daughter, born in Cameroon and, sadly died in London more than 10 years ago.
Roy is surrounded by life and death and to make some sense of his latest anthology, “In this garden”, I have chosen a few of the more than forty poems and arranged them here in an order that makes sense to me, a sort of chronology. I also juxtapose his poem for Alison alongside that for Max just to demonstrate, if you ever needed it, Roy’s continuing delight and fascination in life.
In 2017 in his 91st year, Roy moved away from bustling Brentford to Bishop’s Castle in the Welsh Marches and found a thriving, intelligent and stimulating community into which he has plunged himself with youthful verve. And in case you were wondering, he is still writing, crafting, polishing.
Mike Ashwell (March 2018)