I t is National Poetry Month. This piece of flash fiction honouring the imaginary poet Walter Hammersley, and referencing Lawrence Durrell, was written some time ago. I hope you enjoy my confection. At the end, I am adding Durrell’s lovely poem, This Unimportant Morning. That should make the post all the more worthy.
Some Reflections on the Passing of the Poet, Walter Hammersley
“Bulbs of light hung from every tree branch.
Bulbs of dark waited in the shackled wings.
Above, like some pending avalanche,
A bevy of beautiful, deadly things.”
I read the pithy poem a couple of times. Silently. Then aloud. “That’s it?” I asked.
“Yes,” Deirdre nodded, “That’s it.”
“It’s kind of short. I thought you said Walter was working on it for months?”
“Yes, he…he locked himself away in his office every morning at nine and didn’t emerge until three in the afternoon. Except, you know, ablutions, snacks, and such. And sometimes…just to spend a few moments with me, touches…loving moments.”
“I was expecting…more. He knew the deadline. And really, he has written so many fine books of poetry. I never imagined he would just…freeze up…”
Deirdre smiled. “Walter was never at a loss for words, Henry. He always seemed to know where he wanted to go with his homage to Durrell. That is how he started his day, reading that delightful poem of Larry’s…This Unimportant Morning…he told you, didn’t he, that that was where he got the book’s title from…Her Blue and Sun Washing…?”
“We had discussed it,” I told her. “I confess,” I added, “I thought the whole project just a trifle obscure. I told him so more than once but he was adamant that Durrell was due for a resurrection…and I acknowledged that Durrell was a fascinating guy…but he didn’t produce a raft of poetry…”
“More tea,” she offered.
“Of course,” I said, always pleased to be in her company.
She repaired to the kitchen.
I walked over to the patio’s stone balustrade. Staring out at the marvelous Aegean, I considered what we had lost.
Walter Hammersley had lost his muse.
Deirdre has lost her lover.
And the world has lost a poetic bulb of light.