Memorial by Sharon Phillips

after Ivor Gurney and Tom Denny

Squaddies on a lads’ weekend
are raucous after pints at the airport.
You scan the in-flight menu; below,
the Severn weaves through meadows
and dawn glints on the cathedral
where you once saw sunlight splash
the flagstones blue and amber,

Gurney’s poems of loss and longing so
poignant in stained glass, it’s only now
that you recall his ordinary pleasures:
cigarettes, comradeship, good bread;
aeroplane wings iridescent at dawn;
being alive after a night of dread.

Ivor Gurney (1921-2), ‘Laventie’
Tom Denny (2014), Ivor Gurney Memorial Windows, Gloucester Cathedral


Sharon started learning to write poems a few years ago, after she had retired from her career in education. Her most recent publications are in The High Window, Bonnie’s Crew, Algebra of Owls and the WoLF competition anthology 2019. Poems are forthcoming in Snakeskin, Three Drops from a Cauldron and Eye Flash Poetry.

1 thought on “Memorial by Sharon Phillips”

  1. A poem with colour and sunlight. I like how you bring together the vantage points of the airplane with looking inside through the church window, and how your bring this together with the poet’s words and the speaker’s response. Well structured. Very struck by the last verse – and how you show us Gurney.

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