A poem by Deborah Gaudin
Chasing the ghost of Elizabeth Goudge
Pembrokeshire Autumn 2007

I thought I’d lost sight of you in the wet
empty town,
but your hair was white mist,
the scribbling waves echoed your pen
in their perfect, quiet constancy.

Extending a hand as your relict stepped
from within
the grey chambered spiral of her home,
stepping over the carpet to take your place
in the window overlooking the bay.

Sheltering in doorways I heard your gentle
themes in
the busker’s flute, the click of dogs claws
on the wet shiny pavements steep street,
accompanying the harp of rain.

I found your prose leaning against poets
at the back
of the small stone book shop, a shy guest
rubbing spines with their dusty eloquence,
a clean taste in the mouth.

The hidden hills were full of others work,
no words of yours.
But your bones were as strong and homely
as the ancient village which overlooked
the distant grey slab of sea.


  1. Thank you so much for your beautiful poem. I know I will return to it to be reminded that there are still others who feel a deep connection with Elizabeth Goudge.
    As a child I was given a copy of The Valley of Song. Over the years that copy has gone everywhere with me. It still holds pride of place on a shelf next to my bed with copies of most of her other works. The beauty, courage and peace I feel just from their presence is priceless. I’ve always wished I could visit a place Elizabeth had been, and your poem poignantly expresses what it would really be like to try to find her spirit.

    • Thank you Pamela, I love and write poetry, so it was doubly precious to have your feedback. It seems a long time ago that we stayed in Pembrokeshire and we went to visit Jessie Munroe’s niece who had stayed at Rose Cottage in her school holidays. lovely part of the world.

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