Derek Stanford

Fields of Knowledge

For Julie Whitby

“You look,” he told her “like the little scholar.”

A loving jest.

One hand upon the door.

And her green eyes –

which he thought sometimes blue –

smile back at him confidingly.

She settled back in bed as he departed.

Took up her book.

Trevelyan’s Social History,

adjusting her new glasses.

Alas, she had a cold

but bore it well.

They had made love –

a medicine of cherries;

and in his eyes

she saw herself reflected.

Could she be dearer than she hoped to be?

“You have a talent for intimacy –

the very essence of your genius,”

he told her. “Wonderful.”

Like l’eau de vie,

his fortifying praise.

Evident, too,

his bride in her

his muse, his Beatrice and his troubadour.

Yes, all this came about, without a doubt,

because she seemed and was his little scholar.

Derek Stanford © c. 2007/8

the estate of Derek Stanford © Julie (Stanford) Whitby 2010

This poem is a previously unpublished work by the late Derek Stanford, prolific poet and critic, who died at the age of 90 in 2008. Thanks go to his widow, poet Julie (Stanford) Whitby, who is custodian of Derek Stanford's estate, for giving permission for the Recusant to publish this poem posthumously.