Life With Horace

poetry & essays

licentia poetica


you both were spinsters (then)
and from our blinkered perch
closer to life’s alpha
we thought we saw two ancients,
despite a force of nature (solid) stance
and razor (gentle) gaze,
conviction flavoring the
snail paced minds eye tours
through plays and poems
or, god help us, Hardy
our take on you parodic,
not ready to imagine or predict
the depths of passion
you would later find
beyond our classroom door,
in brilliant marriage to
a (younger) Bishop friend
become a lover,
or cloud dancing mid life pilot
pioneering aerobatic ace,
biplane red and yellow blur
carving skies in perfect loops
tweeds and twinsets flung away
steeping gently
only in our teatime memories
your lessons had such legs
and far from trudging through
dull furrowed fields in metered step,
we learned to track and slither catlike
round each word, to seize
intent, and voice, and pace,
in short a brilliant Poets Ed
put to the test at last
with gratitude

For Joan Ford Rutt (Fordy) and Frances MacRae (Muck), who did all those things and more.

Author: Life With Horace

Poetry & Essays

2 thoughts on “licentia poetica

  1. Hello Kathy, I’m astonished and delighted to find you: you know exactly who I knew (Miss Ford and Muck) and the same remarkable things about them, but I don’t think I remember you at all — you must have been in a different year. I left Channing after A-levels in 1972. I found this page after googling Frances McRae for the spelling…I’m writing a book/memoir with my sister Caroline and am just writing a bit about Miss McRae. I live in New Zealand now, my sister in Switzerland. And I’m a poet too. I very much like this piece: thanks for the memories and for tying these two remarkable women into our current writing endeavours.

    All the best, Vivian


    • Hello Vivian, how marvelous! a fellow Channing person from across time and considerable distance. No, we were not there together, I came to Channing in 1958 and left in 1963, to come back to America and university. Yes, Joan Ford and Frances McRae loomed large during my years there, and gave me a gift I was not aware of for a long time. Your book sounds interesting, let me know when it’s published. Was Caroline also at Channing? My youngest sister lives in New Zealand, on the south island. Glad you liked the poem — I would love to read yours. Is any of it available online?
      All the best, not Kathy, but Kate


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