Edmund Prestwich

Rose Prestwich
1926 –1993

Vaison, twenty years ago. Though heat
squeezed the houses between hills and sky,
she’d have loved the square, where plane tree leaves
laid shadow palm prints on the ground,
the gritty voices of the south, and the river’s
limestone like eroded bone,
sunlight glimmering on swift green water.

One afternoon
we walked past cries from the swimming pool
to a sweaty phone booth. There
while the children fidgeted outside,
while lizards flicked round the stones of the wall,
her news crept down the line and its cold hands caught me.

As a boy in South Africa Edmund Prestwich dreamed of a romanticized England; now, in England, he dreams of South Africa, and though he’ll never live there he sometimes still feel it’s where he most belongs. Born in England but spent his first fifteen years in Pietermaritzburg, in Natal, where his father was a university lecturer. His mother was South African (half Afrikaans) and he came to England for the last three years of his schooling in Reading. He studied English at Queens’ College, Cambridge, and Merton College, Oxford. His father teased him with having a magpie mind as a boy, and he says he still has one now. His poetry reflects changing interests in languages and literature, history, art and mythology.

As a boy in South Africa Edmund Prestwich dreamed of a romanticized England; now, in England, he dreams of South Africa, and though he’ll never live there he sometimes still feel it’s where he most belongs.
Born in England but spent his first fifteen years in Pietermaritzburg, where his father was a university lecturer. His mother was South African (half Afrikaans) and he came to England for the last
three years of his schooling . He studied English at Queens’ College, Cambridge, and Merton
College, Oxford. 
His poetry reflects changing interests in languages
and literature, history, art and mythology.