Poems by R.V. Bailey
R.V. Bailey, who was born and brought up in Whitley Bay, Northumberland, has worked - as cafeteria assistant, librarian, information officer, teacher, counsellor, lecturer - in Cambridge, London and Gloucestershire, until retirement, in 1992, as director of undergraduate courses in Humanities at the University of the West of England, Bristol. The other voice in poetry recordings by U.A. Fanthorpe (Awkward Subject, Double Act, Poetry Quartets 5 etc) is that of R.V. Bailey. R. V. Bailey lives in Gloucestershire. Marking Time is her first full collection. A privately printed pamphlet, Course Work (Culverhay Press), was published in 1997.
R.V. Bailey writes: ‘A late beginner, I became a poet by accident rather than design. In the course of things, I found myself in a job interview agreeing to teach Creative Writing. Naturally I soon discovered that no student of spirit would do any writing, creative or otherwise, without seeing to it that I did my share too. A small poetry workshop subsequently gave me a regular invigorating fillip of trust, painful accuracy, wisdom and laughter. By then the Muse herself had decided to take a hand, so that was it.’
“R.V.Bailey's poems are like Shaker furniture, each crafted to fit its purpose, each loyal to the time and place of its making. Her worldview is realistic but never jaded. A droll wit that enhances the comedy of her subject matter is informed by a quiet wisdom that respects its seriousness. Her unerring ear for language is a particular delight; she borrows eclectically, yet the poetic voice is always hers, honest and compassionate. Therein lies its beauty.”
Feeding the Cats
When she left they were glad, the people at the farm.
Too many cats, too much
Fuss about livestock. They didn't need
Her not-always-silent reproach. But daily
She still trails back from the town,
All weathers, keeping faith with her strays,
Loaded with Katkins and Felix, and worry
About cat-flu and irresponsible cars.
Meanwhile in stinking cells the patient
Hands, feet, faces singe at the torturer's flick;
Terrified children are used for this and that;
In foundering hulks, in camps, on roadsides,
Grannies and babies have no one, and nowhere to go.
Feeding cats? That's right. And meals-on-wheels.
Visiting Auntie. Lending the car. Showing up
At the bedside, at the funeral, in the cold.
Saying. Not saying. Waiting. Listening.
Bits of trying, the not-unkind, the un-bad. All of it -
The mystic's rapture, the murderer's misgiving -
What we can do. Add it up. One day
it might tip the scales.
Price £7.95 per copy post free (£5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: photograph of Stonehenge. © Crown copyright. NMR (DoE Collection)
Publication: SPRING 2004 (76 pages laminated paperback)