Poem by Valerie June Hepburn, circa 1942-43

 

 

To M. Bridge

Cold mountain air sweeping thro’ the valley

Bringing life into my body

making me want to climb those fearful peaks

to stand above content to see the sight they give

Endless wealth of cloud & sky

What lies below —forgotten at my feet.

 

— Like this your coming to me

Making me yearn for what might be

Leaving me desolate longing for your glowing touch

Your cold eyes survey my feeble frame

And I despairing of your inner warmth

knew that the glow you bring to me

Is only warmth to me — you are

a mountain wind which heeds

not where you go.

 

Circa 1942-43.

Today would have been my mother’s birthday. A year after her death, I discovered a hand-written diary she kept during World War 2. The majority of entries were made during her time working in Hut 6 at Bletchley Park. However, she began the diary while still studying at the University of Glasgow. The entries from her time at university include two draft poems, of which I’m posting the more accomplished one here. Very much of her time and place, and not at all modernist in style, I find it poignant to have these traces of my mother as a young woman, still setting out on life, long before I was born. Her diary entries from the Bletchley Park years also bear witness to how young and inexperienced people like my mother were; enrolled straight from university to work there, yet thrown into the centre of the most strategically significant intelligence operation of the entire war.

In Memory of: Valerie June Dennis (née Hepburn) 5th March 1922 – 9th February 2014

2 thoughts on “Poem by Valerie June Hepburn, circa 1942-43

  1. Beautiful. What a contribution these people made at Bletchley. We owe so much to them, and few if any ever received our thanks. Thank you for posting this.

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