‘Gill Hartley – 12th May 1944 – 21st May 2022’
During my lifelong career of teaching Creative Writing, Gill was one of the most talented writers and artists I have had the good fortune to meet. She was a valued and instrumental editor of the 1993 and 1994 ‘Rhyme & Reason’ anthology for the Rennie Grove Hospice Care.
I was privileged to work with Gill on both of her anthologies: ‘My True Son’ and ‘Aspects of Loss’ published by Moorleys, following the unexpected loss of her son Will. Profits went to the Compassionate Friends.
220 writers from across the world contributed to the pandemic anthology ‘When This Is All Over …’for the Rennie Grove Hospice. https://amzn.to/3xi8iay Gill was one of them and her poem was chosen as the final parting note.
As her husband has said, Gill had a wonderful way of expressing emotions in writing. And when I tracked back on our exchange of emails in the past year, she wrote, without ego, but with her excellent editing eye: ‘Yes, ‘Hope’ is perfect for the end poem.
So here it is.
‘Hope’ by Gill Hartley
Like me, the garden is desolate,
the mantle of winter has cast us both down.
Seed heads have replaced the flowers,
the rose arch is a bower of thorns.
The hammock where we swung on sunlit evenings,
stands dormant in the dank, anaemic air.
Everything looks abandoned,
bleak and starved of light.
The garden, like me, is bereaved,
now summer has turned into night.
This morning, I searched the sleeping garden,
trod the sodden, yellowed grass,
knelt amongst the hibernating bushes,
cast aside the crumbling leaves,