One of my all time favourite poems is W.H. Auden’s ‘Stop All The Clocks’, most famously remembered from John Hannah’s emotional rendition in ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’.
I struggled to find the right words to write a poem for my dear friend Tess, so I turned to Auden for inspiration and courage. As much as I adore ‘Stop All The Clocks’, for its raw and unapologetic truth and mesmerising imagery, it’s far too sombre for Tess. So, I decided to write my own version of the poem, one that was more suitable for her.
To be honest, Tess’ eyes would glaze over when I started to talk about poetry, I can hear her now in my head calling me a nerd and pretending to fall asleep at the table with a loud fake snore. And that’s just a glimpse into the reasons why I love her so much. Just like the poem, Tess was unapologetically honest, to the core, unashamedly and consistently genuine. And this is for her.
‘A Poem For Tess’
Put your eyeslashes on, the whole world in a smartphone.
On your terms you left us and you did it alone.
Silence the bouncers and with bass and drum.
Debit cards ready, let the Jaegerbombs come.
4am circles, thoughts of bed overhead.
Scribbling in the street with the dreams ‘she isn’t dead’
Acrylic nails and hair extensions,
a proud display she loved.
She looks on with a smile as she laughs from above.
She was my help, my comfort, my girl, my Tess.
My secret keeper, my friend the best.
At morning, at noon and all the night long.
I am changed forever, but forevers not that long.
The stars are brighter now, pick out every one.
Pack up the moon as she becomes the sun.
Drink up the ocean and do all that you could.
For if there was good to be found, find it she would.