Monday, 8 June 2009

Matt Simpson

It is a bad season. A day to the month after Michael Murphy's death comes the death of another poet friend, Matt Simpson. The news is very fresh so I won't write much. Matt was an old friend, a very good friend, another Liverpool man, perhaps more Bootle than Liverpool, working class and Cambridge, thick Scouse accent, author of several excellent books of poetry as well as studies of various Shakespeare's plays and of The Waste Land. He taught Michael. Introduced him to Deryn.

Matt loved music. I have sat in his room in Boundary Drive while he played me recordings of Haydn, Schubert and Tallis. In fact the very Spem in Alium I had up on Sunday.

He had gone in to hospital last week for a quadruple by-pass but even at seventy-three, he was tough and I was sure - everyone was sure - he would get through it. But there were complications apparently, and he died today.

Shock and terrible sadness. In another post I'll try to remember how Matt and I became friends. Not now. Dear old grouch. We last met at Michael's funeral.


At the end of this week, at the other end of this tunnel, our sweet spry bright daughter, Helen gets married to a lovely man, Richard, known as Rich. Middlesbrough boy. That is to be locally and everything is abuzz with activity. I cannot help thinking of that line from The Winter's Tale about the finding of Perdita:

Shepherd: Heavy matters! heavy matters! but look thee here, boy. Now bless thyself: thou mettest with things dying, I with things new born.

Not new born exactly, but in a way new born, as every wedding is, according to the bright dimensions of life.


Nicole S said...

Best wishes for the wedding. Rich is a wonderful name, full of possibilities. And the bard has it right again (whatever 'mettest' means).

George S said...

Thank you, Nicole -

It is met, metter, mettest. v.t. and v.i To have met in the highest degree, to have outmet everyone else, eg 'Who is the mettest guy / chick in the room?'

Jonathan Wonham said...

That is sad news about Matt. He was a friend to me in Liverpool when I had few friends interested in writing. He also opened up to me a view of a different side to Liverpool through his poetry.

jazbar said...

HELLO, everyone...

I was a friend of Matt as a Neighbour and fellow book lover - Just around the corner we met
With Ruby and Molly.

Yes, an eloquent grouch -
Hearty and well-met,
A towel under his arm for
A mid-morning swim -

Was cutting and dead-heading
A front postage garden,
When he told how much his bypass
Would mean to that task he

Too soon relinquished.

Alan Moore

Tuebrook Tart said...

Matt helped me when he reviewed my 2nd poetry pamphlet - and I'm pleased to have filmed his reading of his sequence November Songs last year - it was the day he was taken ill and he said he thought he was coming down with a cold! Because of some technical stuff with the recording I didn't give him the film until Michael's funeral. Matt was pleased with it - he said "It’s nowhere near as painful as I imagined it might be...especially as I thought that day was going to end up being my last!"
He helped last year with Liverpool Poetry Cafe by doing a reading for free. His ideas on T.S. Eliot were interesting - and his love of Milton's Lycidas a revelation in terms of understanding elegy.

God bless him.

Michelle said...

My wishes for a joyful celebration, Helen and Richard.