We pause today to note the untimely departure from the material world of our friend and colleague, Martin Harrison. As poet, philosopher and radiomaker, Martin Harrison’s creativity began in the art of conversation, vividly engaged, fingers flashing, and then that fine tenor voice of his, so open and warm, so often on the edge of laughter. And if he sensed a moment’s hesitation, he would jump in with a high-pitched “yes yes yes”, propelling dialogue forward, embracing every moment of the exchange.
Like all great poets, Harrison’s ears were finely tuned for nuances within every sound, from warblers to warmongers. He knew how to play with words, and he also loved it when words played with him. Though a man of immense knowledge and refinement, he hated pretense and posturing of any kind; he lived for simplicity, sensuality, black olives, red wine, walks in the woods, friendship, joy.
Above all else, Martin Harrison was a lover of the land, all the land; and a lover of life – all of life; a lover of poetry, language, ideas and every sounding thing. We will listen for his voice in the winds, and in the woods, and on the airwaves; an excellent radio tribute, Vale Martin Harrison, can be heard here. For now, we also listen for him in the two poems that follow: