Hugh has always written poetry. Following his wife's death in 2016 he joined Trinity's Creative Writing Workshops and read the piece that he wrote, "Old love, Young love", at the hospice's celebratory Creative Writing Showcase event in May. Here he shares more works inspired by his and Joann's life together. 

  1. “Love is” 

Love is, was written in one draft in a valentine card to my wife. I never kept a copy and it had no title but after her death while going through her things, I came across the card and typed it up. 

So what is love?

This happy tangled emotion,

the hard act to follow -

that has two feel as one,

can equally have you feeling wretched,

and have you high on mountains -

or deep in emotional valleys,

only to rise to peak again.


It is love.

The most wonderful,

unexplainable feelings

the thing you could never live without.

Love whispered soft -

love cried aloud

the breath inside you,

and warmth outside.


This is love to me.

The best friend in all the world,

comfort of a companion,

and every sweet thought, 

I ever had, but in human form.

You are love,

my reason, the shape to my life.

Me just so much less without you.


    2. "Old love, Young love" 

    Long before Joann was diagnosed with cancer she suffered from shiny surface disease (always looking at her reflection) this poem was intended to be a gentle chide to this affliction, the sex change was so it was not a direct criticism of her.

    On reflection your mirror confided

    as you struggled with tangled night hair,

    you look better now than you should do,

    your young self once stood for me there.


    As you pouted and put on your makeup,

    over smooth skin that was perfectly clear,

    I’ve watched as youth has abandoned,

    and grey has touched soft in your hair.


    Your features refined with times passing,

    with a character line here and there,

    the smile is the same one you perfected,

    the eyes are still bright and so clear.


    Time passing has given you wisdom,

    with a presence that will only cheer,

    your mirror has only admiration,

    for the one who’s standing just there.


    Now you’re the character actor,

    with respect whenever you appear,

    where once you were only a male lead,

    you’re the star and its age put you here.


    1. “From the Heath” 

    This indulges my memories of Joann, it's not strictly biographical, but evokes elements of her to me.

    The burning, singeing heat of noon,

    sun golden in blue cloudless skies,

    lark rises above the land and soon,

    all we can hear distant larking cries,

    while out of sight I lay in deep shadow,

    as you gathered flowers from the hay,

    later we watched as the sun grew low,

    red and fiery, protesting it should stay.

    In the western glow that we now see rise, 

    that firey orange pallet used to beseech, 

    will ever colour this horizon to our eyes,

    make land rouge like a sun kissed peach.

    Like a giant forge’s furnace, low in the sky

    set to extinguish itself below the tree line,

    but still send its fiery orange glow on high.

    Then later, full moon your turn to shine,

    and bring your perfume to the evening air,

    and so spectacular, this day’s end will soon,

    let night's dark fill the backdrop stars share,

    a backdrop jewelled for summers first moon,

    to light our way home from the heath,

    arm in arm, hand bound to hand,

    we reached the lichgate we kiss beneath,

    then as you retreat home alone I stand.

    1. “New” 

    My secular prayer, with wishes for all.

     I have only new hopes for today

    the day will be dry and bright,

    the sun will shine and be warm,

    that a breeze will blow just right.

    Send white clouds billowing by,

    then folk will be friends on sight,

    that contentment will have a currency,

    the rudest folk will behave polite.

    That no one will harbour any ill will,

    that days will always follow the night,

    all children will bloom like the flowers,

    that peace will always trump might.

    Plain will be seen for the beauty it is,

    that great loves will never take fright,

    these hopes will live in each heart,

    then give us all the greatest delight.

    Life made by the deeds we achieve,

    on a path that is laid for the right,

    that a balance be struck for us all,

    lead us all from the dark to the light.