From a roof boss in Christ Church- pencil drawing
On 14th May, 2017 I published a poem about her on this site.
A poem about The Snowdrop Campaign which was launched
after the Dunblane Shootings in 1996. Sophie was one of the
victims. A snowdrop was named after her and the group
campaigned to have private ownership of hand guns banned.
March in Perthshire and The White Witch still ruled.
Pure snowdrops had just emerged in gardens
and gardeners bent low, to hear them say,
We’re harbingers: Spring is on its way.
And so it was in the town of Dunblane,
when Dr Stevens lifted up white heads
that hung down, she saw a new creation,
but The Prince of Glory did not come in.
The gates were unlocked; the infants at school
and, in three minutes, sixteen were mown down
and Sophie North dragged to Pluto’s world.
Would a thaw come to this sad, frozen town?
A bitter smell tinctured its empty streets:
a sharp cordite/ galanthus suffusion.
The cultivar was given that child’s name,
yet people swore that Spring would never come,
but caritas, like a papery corm,
did take root and broke through iron soil.
Inside frail petals, some perceived a cross;
slowly hope spread, like seeds by unseen ants.
And Sophie’s father tucked her in once more,
under a white duvet. Hybrid vigour
brought renewal; many were moved to say:
the gods are deathless; all is in their power.
The precious seed that fell into the ground
fertilised the Earth; something new was born:
Galanthamine, to heal all tortured minds.
A girl named Wisdom, mild as the milkflower,
stands before those who’d bear arms and pleads so
all children can walk on carpets of stars.
(Photo by Meneerke Bloem. Wikipedia, 2008)
Its leaves don’t move me,
but when I think the phoenix
chose to dwell in it,
fore-telling the Emperor’s
advent, then I bow
before its magnificence.
Many a zither
gains fine resonance from it;
it makes good boxes
and produces gunpowder,
its bark a fast dye.
Regeneration from its roots
links it to the bird legend.
The baby’s first steps
were reputedly seven.
A lotus blossomed,
marking the length of each stride.
On the last, he spoke:
There will be no more comings!
All over the world
(The Big Foot Era
was inaugurated by
Empress Wu Zetian.)
Messiahs, kings and despots
thereafter trampled the Earth.
(Wikimedia Commons. Image: Tido, 1993. Lumbini Stupa)
(Photo: Benjamin Graves, Sasebo, Japan:
beauty, coy evening face :
a flower passed to
a shining Prince, on a fan,
by a frail, shy girl
in a shabby, cluttered yard,
in the full moonlight.
White as a glimpsed, pale forehead,
your fragrance attracted moths.
You opened yourself
to the evening dew; not
quite de-flowered, but jinxed.
Genji wiped salt tears on his
perfumed sleeve – to no avail.
(Metropolitan Museum of Art; Chapter 49: Tale of Genji)
She who was known as
The Wistaria lady
had just one daughter.
Would she succeed where she’d failed?
She would not find out;
all too soon, she passed away.
The motherless girl
had no strong support at court:
the frost-fringed chrysanthemums
a chilly comment
on her sad predicament.
Kaoru was chosen.
The Emperor summoned him
and asked him to pluck a bloom.
(Photo: View of An Sgurr, 2008 by Mike Garratt. Creative Commons)
He came from Erin: leaned on his bachail
and celebrated Holy Mysteries,
overlooking Poll nam Partan. His monks,
his muinntir, chanted psalms on Easter’s eve,
baa-ing with sheep, yet he had no shepherd –
no Anam Cara when the slaughter came.
The Queen of Moidart was not of his fold.
She roasted him in his refectory,
unwilling to respect the Lamb of God.
She took the lives of fifty brothers too,
to re-assert her power and grazing rights.
Strange lights flickered over the monks’ corpses
and lured her Pictish women up the slopes
to Sgurr of Eigg. At Loch nam Ban Mora,
luminescence lingered, tantalising
her warriors, who waded out and drowned.
Columba, you did not want to be-friend
one destined for red martyrdom and yet
The Northern Lights received him to glory;
his abbatial staff hooked in the lost
of many a future generation.
(Scroll image:Museum Fine Arts, Boston_ Wm Sturgis Bigelow Collection)
Back in the city,
the salt burners’ pungent whiff
lingered on his clothes.
Before any discordance,
he hoped to return.
Would the koto stay in tune?
He wept to leave her,
as he’d wept on arrival.
When Murasaki was told,
about the lady,
she shrugged porcelain shoulders.
He took the reproof,
so gently given, yet wrote
two further love messages.