What the Peacock Replied

Artwork by Janice Windle

I spent a very interesting and enjoyable evening in The Keep, one of Guildford’s friendliest pubs, at the launch of Dempsey and Windle’s latest anthology – What the Peacock Replied. The anthology features the winners and shortlisted poets from the Brian Dempsey Memorial Competition and a fine mix of poems. styles and voices it was. I was there because I was one of the number, and very honoured to be so – the second time for me.

All the poets had four minutes to read so we were able to get a feel for their styles, the variety of approaches in their writing, their favoured themes and their backgrounds. We had poems about daughters, grandmothers. Lee Miller, the environmental crisis, love, loss and – perhaps most importantly – about the bright lights in our dark times. A fine evening, the only downside being the difficulty of getting to sleep afterwards with everything buzzing round my head.

My own featured poem was a very short one. and one which is relevant for Blessed Assurance as one of the characters, Tom, could well have written it if he’d been poetically inclined. Here it is:


As soon as we argue about your God or mine

We’ve managed to limit, to restrict the divine.

And if we assign gender, or say God is tender

Or vengeful or loving. Or weeping, or odd

We’ve made him a human, she’s no longer God.

The most that we can know

Is to know what we don’t know

To think beyond thought

To speak beyond words

To search the unsearchable

To grapple with God.

Tony Earnshaw

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