This month in our Cornish poetry series, we have Melanie William’s touching poem about her aunt Joan.
Gingham not silk, linen not sable
Plain stitch and cross stitch
Displace embroidery. All honest, simple practical
A frank face, impish smile, open heart,
Recall the early, stronger, taller Joan.
In childhood group, large-eyed
She looks on piercingly
A nimble, natural beauty, abjuring vanity.
In youth, through ‘undiscovered’ Cornwall
Joan spins by bicycle
And swims in home-spun suit
Her winning warmth a match for the icy sea.
A true, straight soul, bound to no time
But easy with all, Joan might have been a Pilgrim maidy
As a maid from Pool
Spirited to the States, her soldier soul-mate Ray
His smile as ready as each day were new
Shared fresh economies and a heart as true.
Returning to Cornwall
Joan, quick-stepping fairy
Kept a haven of neatness,
A corner of innocence
With her quick-walking beau.
Joan (nee Hosking) and Ray Hietpas are commemorated at the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth. Items including Ray’s immaculate GI army jacket are on display. More information can be found by visiting the museum’s website here.
If you enjoyed ‘Joan’, you can read and listen to more of our Cornish themed poems here.