(Above: With daughter-in-law in his 93rd year.)
Stanley Hemming-Clark read Latin with French, and Theology, at Cambridge. He was Vicar of a Kent Parish for 38 years, combining this with teaching posts. He now lives near Guildford. Serious publications include two books on Theology and Hymns and Meditations on the Seven Words. Then there are these...
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IT'S A CAT'S LIFE!
This book of humorous verse contains cats' thoughts, misunderstandings, proverbs and comments on human nature. They show an insight into cats' natures - and also into human natures!
Cat lovers will recognise the situations described in what may be the most enjoyable book of cat poems since T S Eliot.
Our Church's dedication!
My folks will go along
To mark this great occasion
With Festal Evensong.
"The Choir are celebrating -
A fine MAGNIFICAT."
I crept inside, sat waiting
To see a fine big cat.
I watched the Choir's keen faces,
Singing with all their might -
Sopranos, Altos, Basses,
But not a cat in sight.
A buxom Soprano seeking
To reach a high B Flat
Made sounds like pussy squeaking -
So that's MAGNIFICAT!
© Stanley Hemming-Clark
IF MEMORY BE TRUTH
Taking its title from the first poem, this book opens with the thought of past experiences remaining in our memories. It passes on to poems, hymns and meditations on various themes. The final verses return to the opening theme, but looking at it from a Christian viewpoint. Some deal with with the problems of bereavement and suffering. Some with Christian doctrine and the spiritual life, the relationship between time and eternity. Some are written to be sung: some for meditation. All have notes added. The first speaks of the changes wrought in ourselves and our surroundings. The last speaks of eternal realities. Several share a common theme – Transfiguration.
They smiled at her, those girls of youthful charms,
Puzzled, amused, a few with gentle scorn,
Secure, possessive on their boyfriends’ arms,
They thought at eighty-three she looked forlorn.
As long as people knew, she’d looked the same –
With small black dog of never changing breed:
When one dog died, the next one took his name.
They thought, though strange, this met some inner need.
Once she had loved like them (How could they know?),
Had dreams of marriage, home, and children shared.
His gift a small black dog (so long ago)
Before he went to war and was not spared.
With boyfriend’s gift, though sixty years had passed,
Twenty at heart, she knew her love would last.
© Stanley Hemming-Clark
This poem expresses the sadness and waste of war. It is based upon a real person, now departed, whose life was known only to a few. The opening lines imagine how others saw her. She had never known marriage and children. The past was still with her, even in outward actions, all through her life.