Dealing with the loss of a loved one is tough at the best of times, but for Keith Parker from Carbis Bay bereavement coincided with the country going in to lock down. Determined to occupy his mind, Keith took to poetry as he grieved for his wife Sue and he’s now published Reflections, a short anthology of poems beautifully illustrated by Orkney based artist Britt Harcus.
“I met Sue 17 months after my first wife died from Breast Cancer,” says Keith. “It was a chance meeting in a supermarket in December 2000 and it was the beginning of a remarkable relationship and a new life and love for us both.” Two weeks after they met, Sue dedicated a poem to Keith on his birthday. It was called ‘To be With You’ from an anthology entitled ‘Desiderata of Happiness’ by Max Ehrmann. Seven years later Keith attempted his first poem, To Stand With You, which now features in his new book. However, it would be another 12 years before he turned to poetry once again.
“Earlier this year I found a copy of the poem I had penned for Sue in amongst her things and was stunned at what I had written. I decided to join a Poetry Circle in St Ives where we were invited to take a poem someone had given us and one that you had given them. It felt like it was meant to be. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was delighted when the next meeting called for us to take a picture and a poem based on the scene it portrayed. We’d been to Orkney and seen the work of Britt Harcus and had even commissioned a piece from her. That’s when it occurred to me to write Reflections and the book with illustrations by Britt, published on the 18th of September this year.”
The stunning book with its 15 poems and beautiful illustrations has been described as “absolutely beautiful” showing the depth of love Keith and Sue had for each other and is already being used by Cornwall Hospice Care Bereavement Counsellor Marie Brooks when supporting bereaved families.
Reflections is on sale at Cornwall Hospice Care shops in Hayle, Falmouth, Truro, Perranporth, Looe and Liskeard and is priced at £3.99.
Other charities benefitting from the book include the Cove and the Sunrise Centre in Truro, the Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske, Cancer Research UK and Prospect Hospice in Swindon.