'Manhire' is originally a Cornish name, and I knew the Cornish poet Charles Causley quite well, and when he died I wrote this little poem in his memory. He lived on a street called Cyprus Well in Launceston.

Death of a Poet


Between the Tamar and the tarmac,
Beneath a tangled sky
I saw the Cornish poet
Walking by.

He went where wind and water
Will not be overthrown
Where light and water meet
Boscastle stone.

It was a day in deep November
When the cold came.
The cold sky squandered
Inside his brain.

Who knocks at Cyprus Well?
Who knocks again, again?
‘I think it is the visitor
We must not name.’

Oh men who fish are fishing
And men of tin are gone
Yet men will walk on Bodmin
And hear his song.

The great world makes its changes
And yet remains the same;
And poets’ verses will unwind
The tangle in the brain.

from Lifted (Carcanet , 2007), © Bill Manhire 2007, used by permission of the author and Carcanet Press Ltd.

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