I’m not sure I’ve ever met my father’s cousin Ann, although maybe she’ll say she was at my christening, or remembers me having a tantrum aged about 2, or something. But my brother visits her now and again, at her home in Glasgow. He was there recently, and chatted to her about my books, and she told him I was not the only writer in the family…
She then sent me these newspaper cuttings. The paper is very fragile – they are probably well over 100 years old. My great-grandfather, it seems, was a poet.
His name was John Coward, and I remember my grandmother talking about him. I knew him as an artist – I have two watercolours by him, and I know of several more of his paintings dotted around the family.
The poetry is perhaps a little flowery and Victorian for current tastes, but it is wonderful to read them and have this little glimpse into my ancestor’s heart.
Though stern old Fate our paths doth sever,
Still thou art dearer now than ever;
And thy bright glance,
In all its sweet angelic glory,
I see, as now I pen my story
With young Romance;
And Cupid’s bow, the golden token,
I fold within, for thought unspoken.
— John Coward
Of course, I’m wondering if there’s a novel idea in there somewhere. Woman is sent clippings of poems written by an ancestor, and discovers something encoded within the verse, that sets her off on a journey to discover the truth about some long-lost family secret… What do you reckon? Shall I write it?
Kate Blackadder said:
That sounds like a great story, Kath, do write it!
I’ve added it to my long list of ideas!
History with a touch of Mystery! Go for it!
My favourite kind of book to both write and read!
SHEENA REEVES said:
Yes you should. Great idea.
Keith Havers said:
If you don’t – I will!
Gerroff it! Find your own family poet!
A great discovery, Kath. And a great idea for a story.
Linda Batenburg said:
Fantastic to find a Family who also wrote poema would be a great idea for your next book. Like the idea of Reading a book involving your Family in it as a secret code in the poems.
Hope you do write about this.
With kind regards,
I’ve added it to my ideas list! So many books to write! I wouldn’t actually use my own family. It’s much more liberating to make things up. I might need to put a call out for a poet to help me, as I don’t write poetry myself. Or maybe I could adapt one of John Coward’s for the purpose…