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A poem for Neil Faulkner

The following poem was written by William Alderson for Neil Faulkner’s memorial event on 30th August 2022 at the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Sedgeford.

In Memoriam Neil Faulkner (1958-2022)

From the silence of the earth

You excavated truth – a change

In the colour of the soil

Or the quality of bread;

A laying out of bones, of bodies meeting;

The significance of sherds and words.

Your politics knew that silence hid

Not just the unspeakable, but innocent lies,

The comfort of beliefs.

You knew that argument

Allowed these sherds to make a pot,

These bones to shape a life,

The shadings of opinion to reveal

More than we knew.

And I agreed with you.

It was our arguments I treasured,

That delving into cause, analysis,

Projection of effects; that scraping back of noise

To find the signal in its depths.

So when I saw a silence in your eyes,

I knew that look betrayed the truth,

That you believed that I believed

And you protected me by fencing off

A path of thought behind unspoken signs:

Beware! Keep Out! Deep Water!

There was too little time to lead you to the gate,

To talk you round, to show you the excavations

Of the argument, the archaeology of another truth …

In the comfort of belief, less than innocent lies

Have defied debate and brooked no argument,

And all your future has been drowned

In unspeakable silence.


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