This is an uplifting story a year on. It’s about a Swindon man who, had he lived, would be 70. What set Dafydd Rouse apart was that he was gay and a poet, a dangerous combination during his lifetime. The end wasn’t great either. He was paralysed after a motorbike accident and died ten years later in a nursing home in Purton.
His sister, Margaret, tried to get his poems published posthumously but it’s hard enough getting poems published when a poet is alive with a lifetime of work ahead. She persisted and persisted. To cut the story short I edited his work, we found a publisher and the book was launched a year ago. Copies went to his friends and the wider community and the response was wonderful. We had recognition for Dafydd and a very happy Margaret.
For me, the editing was intimate, digging deep beyond the words, getting to know the man. The poems are about his lived experience with all the wonder that any lover would use, the ache, the agonising, the love, but in his case the death of lovers from AIDS through the eighties and nineties. It was heart breaking. He was a good poet and deserved recognition.
Here are a few lines from “The Power Beyond” following the death of a lover:
Like different birds who have flown
the same air,
the same sky
same sea but different storms.
He will not return to me.
I listen for his echo on the wind.
First published in Swindon Link