A couple of weeks ago, I spent a very pleasant few hours in the company of Nikki Lewis-Smith, the daughter of the poet and writer Anne Lewis-Smith who was Elizabeth’s neighbour in Peppard Common for many years. They continued to correspond until Elizabeth’s death, having in common, among other things a deep love of poetry. Mrs Lewis-Smith has kindly given permission for her poem to Elizabeth to be posted on the site.
Letter To Elizabeth
In this envelope
is folded the deep shade
of chestnut trees
and the lighter dancing dark
of young birches.
Perhaps as you open it
the smell of fresh scythed grass
or the dry pepper of sunned lupins
will remind you of summer
Water reflections to delight
your eyes are here,
bright crescents from fast running streams
moving river rings from a trout
sharp glitters of an August sea.
Sound to, wind in tall barley,
geese overhead, straw loosening from
the fork, the rattle, jingle and
solid heavy hooves of shire horses
Be careful how you empty the last corner
for as I folded down this sheet
the quick shadow of a diving swift
fled across the paper……………….
Copyright Anne Lewis-Smith 1996
I find this a poignant and moving epitaph, embodying the sights and sounds of the natural world that Elizabeth loved and was inspired by. To her, places are more than stage settings, they are inspirational manifestations of God. Elizabeth’s writing opens doors for us, doors onto another world. But unlike her other contemporary writers such as C. Day Lewis’s with Narnia or Tolkien’s Middle Earth, they exist. We don’t have to slip on a magic ring, or find an enchanted wardrobe, we can go there, today, now, it only takes a shift in our perception to get us there.