Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Don Taylor, 30 June 1936- 11 November 2003

My dad died six years ago today. If you click on this link, or this one or this one you can find out a bit more about him.

I wanted to write something a bit more personal at this point, but now I come to it I'd much rather let him speak for himself. When Dad was dying, he wrote a series of poems for my mum to read after he was dead- aimed, I suppose, at consolation, or as a continuation of their forty-seven year conversation and delight in each others' minds. Indeed, one of the poems encouraged her not to visit his grave after he was dead, but instead to read his work, so she could 'look into his living imagination'.

That imagination still lives, and dad would be delighted to know how much of his work is still being performed around the world. Every few months or so I meet someone who performed in 'The Roses of Eyam' at school or with their local amateur group; and Katie Mitchell's championing of his translations of Greek plays have led to more productions of those translations than he, or we, could ever have dreamed of.

When I want to look into his living imagination, I come back time and time again to one of those poems he wrote after the oncologist's sentence had been pronounced. It's called Roses.

'There is a rose garden at the end of the world.
The Old English roses are marvellously scented.
I shall sit there on long summer evenings,
Drinking white wine, and breathing in the perfume,
Marvellously contented.

When the shadows close on you too,
I shall be waiting, if anywhere, in the Rose Garden
Drinking good white burgundy,
At peace with what I have been and done.'

As I said at the funeral six short, long years ago- enjoy your peace, lovely daddy. You have deserved it.


Katie B said...

That wonderful poem made me cry then...and has must made me cry now, sitting at my desk at some stupid hour of the morning. Loved your dad. Love you xxxxx

David said...

Yes, very eloquent. Not many could say at the end of their lives that they were 'at peace with what I have been and done'.

I'll never forget Paul Eddington, who was dying when Jeremy Isaacs interviewed him on Face to Face. When asked how he would like to be remembered, he said something like 'as one who did very little harm. Because I think most people do a great deal of harm, one way or another, without meaning to.'

Unknown said...

Not much to say, just that my thoughts are with you and your family right now