Friday, May 02, 2014

A Ballad for Joe and Heidi

I have changed the title to “A” ballad rather than “The” because I realise this poem is far from definitive, others may write their own ballads of the same subjects, also I may try again. Clearly also, the first stanza owes something to LP Hartley’s:

“The past is another country; they do things differently there.”

I would like to thank RR (formerly known as LDP) and LK  for their encouragement and support for the idea behind this ballad, which is I hope a beginning of something more…

Sitges is a town famous for its Bohemian atmosphere and long beach on the Costa Dorada 


Finally here is a link to Joe’s book of sonnets Handbook for Explorers with photographs by Lucy Kempton. It is a deluxe colour edition. A beautiful book visually and   aurally    A second more affordable edition for the pocket or bag may soon appear…





A Ballad of Heidi and Joe


First we must draw a country of the mind,

its maps and contours, pictures; then agree

to go there. If it’s anywhere we’ll find

the explorer’s life, it’s in another country,

a country with a Sitges and an August sea

and with a Tunbridge Wells where they’re content

walking both together on the pavement.


Who swam the furthest, talked the most, was thinner,

understood people best is hard to know;

who could divine an animal’s agenda,

some would say Heidi, some that it was Joe.

It is a fact: until just a while ago,

not as some couples,  one leader, one behind,

they walked both together on the pavement,


crossed over to the sand and breathed sea air.

Their sufferings and illnesses seemed past;

the future like a strong and rusty stair

led upwards to a landscape set to last;

they did not know its light was fading fast;

the past in front of them, their present was behind,

walking both together on the pavement.


Whole stories hide here; pictures stun with colour;

trees ebb like tides at night, by day a-buzz

with multiples of wing and throat. A cooler

and glasses, Ipad, he waits to greet us

with maps and plans, and later on he’ll tweet us

with routes that he and Heidi have in mind

walking both together on the pavement,


as if we too with root and flower could stay

unmindful of the assassin, changeless summer,

within the panorama of this day;

not noticing the sky’s not getting dimmer,

nor fireflies by right begin to glimmer.

Our shadows lengthen, leave them both behind,

walking both together on the pavement.