For Ann Bentley - Valerie Mendes
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For Ann Bentley

12 December 2021

You were light and bright with your mop of curls
And your turquoise finger nails
You seemed to float above our moat
Abandoning the snails
You had a confidence and flair, an aristocratic, feudal air,
A natural vigour that denied us lesser mortals, daily tied
To toil and burn beneath the sun –
You brought me candles, newly come to live, with you beside.

We met in Witney once by chance, doing our regular weekly dance
With Waitrose eggs and cheese and wine –
You spoke of France, your love. The chime
Of warning bells had not yet pealed
And yet our friendship thus was sealed.

You were light and bright with your mop of curls –
I shall love you till I die –
In your last email above that snail
You wrote with welcome sigh
Of Pfizer needles that might save
Some of us elderly and brave:
I had no idea it would be our wave
Goodbye.