Student lodgings, two young men,
the week’s routine, the essays, pubs,
the dance on frequent Saturdays,
all underscored by an understanding
that Tuesday was writing night.
They talked of it only rarely,
but the boy from Cardigan wrote stories
(English degree, so that made sense)
while the Birmingham lad had a pen pal
(French and .. it seemed .. she).
A year after graduating they met
and talked. Was Cardigan published?
Well, a couple of anecdotal things
in the South Wales Echo and ..
one proper story in a real-life
sort-of literary magazine. He had hopes.
Brummie was leaving for France next day.
France .. and .. ? Yup, the pen pal.
She. Lisette. They were marrying.
Let’s flash back now to the lodgings
and, since they didn’t talk of it,
let’s put a camera, infra red,
on those two minds and bedrooms.
Cardigan scribbling out those stories
with something close to reverence
and Brummie, gazing, often,
at her photos, in the months
and years apart, the pubs and days
and Saturday dances, writing in French
and English, nourishing the flame,
the ardour for his loved Lisette.
Robert Nisbet is a Welsh writer who once read for an American President, when ex-President and poet Jimmy Carter was guest of honour at the opening of the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea in 1994. Nisbet is a Pushcart Prize nominee for 2020.