Peterloo Poets

Poetry Publishers 1972 - 2009




BEWICK, Elizabeth

As Good as Salt



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Poems by Elizabeth Bewick


Elizabeth Bewick was born in Seaham Harbour, County Durham, in 1919 and enjoyed a successful career in librarianship, specialising in library work with children. She moved to Hampshire in 1961 to set up the School Library Service. Now long retired, she has lived for over 35 years in a centuries-old brick and flint cottage in Winchester where she has been active in poetry circles. Her published volumes are: Comfort Me with Apples, a collection of 20 poems in a limited, bound, slip-cased edition of 135 copies with wood engravings by Graham Williams and an introduction by Kevin Crossley-Holland (Florin Press, 1987); Heartsease (Peterloo,1991) and Making a Roux (Peterloo, 2000).

"If you've not met her work before, these poems will make the writer very real to you. To describe Bewick's poems as leisurely, thoughtful, reminiscing, would be to say something that is true about them; the poems often evoke a world long gone, or vivid moments of joy or pain or grief. But they are also sharp, insightful, mercilessly straight (about herself, as well as circumstances). She faces passion, hatred, ecstasy with equal firmness, unafraid of 'bawdy poems near the bone' or of the clarity of a feeling response to beauty, of landscape or of snow.

These poems are honest, with the experience of years behind them, years of uncompromising fidelity to the best in human experience and endeavour. There is wit, compassion, tenderness, and challenge here, and above all great courage. This is a long rewarding collection by a reliable truth teller."
U.A. Fanthorpe on As Good as Salt.

"Elizabeth Bewick commands a number of poetic forms, but whether she is writing a sonnet or a villanelle or writing in 'free verse' her voice is immediately recognisable. It has an emotional fullness and vulnerability, which may in part be accounted for by the following words which she wrote about herself: 'Falling literally madly in love at over sixty was both a shock and a delight and resulted in a number of love poems'. She is, indeed, a remarkable love poet."
Jeremy Hooker on As Good as Salt.


Young Woman On A Swing

I found it with his treasures when he died:
a sepia photograph, its edges curled,
young woman on a swing, grave, steady-eyed.

All his own work, why did he need to hide
her likeness from the still incurious world?
I found it with his treasures when he died.

A classic pose, head proud and turned aside
as if she read the future there unfurled,
young woman on a swing, grave, steady-eyed.

I doubt she let him take her for a ride,
real or imagined, as her long skirt swirled;
I found her with his treasures when he died.

Until the day when she became his bride
he was too shy to dance, nor even whirled
his woman on a swing, grave, steady-eyed.

She never crossed him and she never lied,
he was her life, the focus of her world;
I found her with his treasures when he died:
my mother on a swing, grave, steady-eyed.


Price 7.95 per copy post free (5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: "View from Fortuneswell, Portland" (acrylic) © Sylvia Miles
Publication: JUNE 2006 – paperback edition