Odyssey

HUSSEY James with Maureen

Pictured above are James Hussey (1865-1936) and his granddaughter Maureen Gordon (née Hussey). The following poem was written by Maureen about James several decades after his death:

ODYSSEY

Grandfather,
Looking backwards through the years,
I see you sitting on my childhood bed -
Wizard of wonder,
Ancient innocence - 
Weaving me webs of magic and myth.
Heroes and gods,
Enchanters, unicorns
Peopled the lucid air
Through which we voyaged 
On translucent seas
To coral islands - Cathay - Camelot.

Later, on tired old legs,
You trudged the streets,
Trading your meagre pence on market stalls
For unconsidered treasure,
Argosies
Of well-thumbed books
Whose illustrations burned
Scarlet and gold through tissue coverings
Thin as the mists of time.

You were not reckoned a successful man,
Small value put on you or on your wares;
Though I recall you aureoled with love,
Your photos show you threadbare,
Down-at-heel.
You left no legacy the world calls wealth,
Only to me
The little golden key
To jewelled caverns,
Labrynthine ways
Into infinities of cosmic space.

You were my Homer and my Gutenberg.

Once you saw Venice,
And the spell it cast over your life
Suffused my youth with light.
When your great-grandson, 
Your true avatar,
Caught in the same enchantment,
Took me there and I first recognised
The beauty floating on the mirroring water
That proved the truth of your mythologies,
You smiled at me again out of his eyes.

________________

From The Tug of the Undertow © 1995, Maureen Gordon

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