Those who know me will be aware of my love affair with Cornwall. It is a county I have visited all my life, initially to spend time with relations who lived at Widemouth Bay on the north coast. I recall many days further south, not far from the Helford River in the 1970s and 80s, enjoying occasional walks along Frenchman's Pill and the tree-lined watercourses that inspired Daphne du Maurier's Frenchman's Creek. I began to discover other writers who made Cornwall come alive on the page: Charles Causley, Thomas Hardy, R.S. Hawker, Anne Ridler, Jack Clemo, W.S. Graham, John Betjeman, Ursula K. Le Guin and Lionel Johnson, to name but a few.
I forget how I first encountered the poems of Charles Causley, but I was immediately drawn to them. And indeed, I have found some firm favourites among his body of work, favourites such as 'Who?', with its brilliant repetition in line 1 of the first stanza, and 'Morwenstow', in which the speaker interrogates the sea on the subject of its wildness. I have visited Causley's hometown of Launceston a couple of times in recent years and have enjoyed exploring the castle, which dominates the scene. I even tried to do a quick pen-and-ink sketch of it.
I was delighted when Sue Wallace-Shaddad asked me if she could include a few stanzas from 'Penwith Fingerstone', one of my Cornish poems, in her November post for The Maker, which you can find on The Charles Causley Literary Blog. The poem, which features in Driftwood by Starlight (The Seventh Quarry Press, 2021), was awarded Third Prize by Brian Patten in the 2017 Milestones Poetry Competition, administered by Write Out Loud. As it happens, I posted a photo (here) of the fingerpost on Twitter a few days ago for #FingerpostFriday.