Living near Stratford Upon Avon, I can’t help but love all things Will-related. So it is a real thrill to see my poem On Seeing Forget Me Nots in a new poetry anthology from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust: Anne-thology: Poems Re-Presenting Anne Shakespeare.
The anthology is a celebration of Anne Hathaway, bringing together sixty-seven new poems, one for each year of Anne’s life, plus ten from the past. So I am amazed, delighted and honoured to find myself alongside the likes of Carol Ann Duffy, Wendy Cope and yes – Will himself!
And just what I thought it couldn’t get any more exciting than this, it did. I received an email from the Trust, saying they had commissioned an artist to turn one of the poems into an animation – and SHE HAD CHOSEN MINE. What a dance-around-the-kitchen moment that was!
My poem is set in the garden at Henley Street, Stratford Upon Avon, in 1588. Will has been in London for months; Anne is alone with the in-laws, mothering new twins.
Too often, the relationship between Anne and Will is dismissed. Leaving her the second-best bed in his will, abandoning her for London… If you want to paint a loveless portrait, here’s your canvas.
I have never bought into that. Maybe it’s the eternal romantic in me, but I see it as a relationship that endured, despite the months of separation. I wanted to portray Anne as a deeply passionate woman rooted in reality, clearly seeing what needed to be done and getting on with it.
On Seeing Forget Me Nots
Henley Street garden, Spring 1588
I am here
And shall remain
But on a day like this
When the rain falls soft on your lashes and lips
Remember, my love, that moment of bliss
When rain fell upon us, down by the brook
And love felt eternal