Hi! I’m Will Moran and I am currently the Creative Writing Intern at Winterbourne House and Garden, and a recent BA English and Creative Writing graduate from the University of Birmingham.
This poem, ‘Evelyn’, is inspired by John Byam Liston Shaw’s portrait of Evelyn, aged twelve, with her pony Tom-Tit (a reproduction is on display in the hall).
In this poem, I wrote from Evelyn’s perspective, presenting her as beginning to look outside of her family and develop her own sense of self. Whilst she has great love for her family, represented by the jar of kisses she and her siblings would sign at the end of letters to their parents, she also wishes to discover the world for herself.
In later life, Evelyn became an advocate for social welfare, like her father, and I wanted to represent her consciousness of the world around her and her place in it through this poem.
After John Byam Liston Shaw
Come, Tom-Tit. Let us leave this place
for a while. We’ll leave behind a note
with a jar of kisses and a spoon of honey
to keep Papa sweet. We’ll jump the fence,
through the foxglove-gate, the pink and white
will give way to the fallen leaves, the young
trees. We’ll ride until we find the ancients
and let their huge branches lift into the sky,
through the soft clouds until they break
and soak our skin. We’ll have the sun
in our hearts and be free.
Will you take me, Tom-Tit?
I want to be very much alive.
Will Moran, 2022