Dear Bryan Wynter



This is only a note
To say how sorry I am
You died. You will realise
What a position it puts
Me in. I couldn’t really
Have died for you if so
I were inclined. The carn
Foxglove here on the wall
Outside your first house
Leans with me standing
In the Zennor wind.

Anyhow how are things?
Are you still somewhere
With your long legs
And twitching smile under
Your blue hat walking
Across a place? Or am
I greedy to make you up
Again out of memory?
Are you there at all?
I would like to think
You were all right
And not worried about
Monica and the children
And not unhappy or bored


Speaking to you and not
Knowing if you are there
Is not too difficult.
My words are used to that.
Do you want anything?
Where shall I send something?
Rice-wine, meanders, paintings
By your contemporaries?
Or shall I send a kind
Of news of no time
Leaning against the wall
Outside your old house.

The house and the whole moor
Is flying in the mist.


I am up. I’ve washed
The front of my face
And here I stand looking
Out over the top
Half of my bedroom window.
There almost as far
As I can see I see
St Buryan’s church tower.
An inch to the left, behind
That dark rise of woods,
Is where you used to lurk.


This is only a note
To say I am aware
You are not here. I find
It difficult to go
Beside Housman’s star
Lit fences without you.
And nobody will laugh
At my jokes like you.


Bryan, I would be obliged
If you would scout things out
For me. Although I am not
Just ready to start out.
I am trying to be better,
Which will make you smile
Under your blue hat.

I know I make a symbol
Of the foxglove on the wall.
It is because it knows you.

from New Collected Poems (Faber, 2004), copyright © W S Graham 2004, used by permission of The Estate of W S Graham. Recording from the private recordings of Ronnie Duncan, used with his permission and that of the Estate.

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