Anne Boileau (also known as Polly Clarke) was born in rural Suffolk and has a strong affinity with its ancient landscape, its history and wildlife. As a child she learnt important lessons about social hierarchies, group behaviour and communication from the horses, pigs and chickens on her parents’ small farm. An admirer of Ronald Blythe, she sees the special in the every-day and understands the importance of place.
She studied German in Munich, and worked as translator, interpreter and language teacher before returning to college to study for a BSc in Rural Resource Development at Writtle College.
She is a founder member of Camden Mews Translators and translates modern German poetry; this group have collaborated on two anthologies. She has given readings in the Poetry Café, Southwark Cathedral, Poetry on the Lake and in Sudbury and Colchester.
Her poems have appeared in Artemis, Lapidus, Twelve Rivers, Poetry Bay and Orizont Literar as well as a number of anthologies, including so too have the doves gone, Jardine Press (2014). She won second prize in the George Crabbe Competition in 2012 and third prize in 2014. Her first pamphlet, Shoal Moon, was published by Grey Hen Press in 2014.
Anne was Chairman of Suffolk Poetry Society from 2011-2014.
Letter from Rye, September 9th 1940
“extreme vigilance will be kept tonight as enemy landing likely.”
From the Martello Tower
I watched throughout the night.
At dawn the sea was empty as
a conjurer’s hat.
They do not seem to come.
And if they do, they’ll meet our guns.
We’re fighting for something.
I’m fighting for you.
Picture it: a fine domed roof,
marbled with dew; a lantern
throws strange shadows,
spiders creep about the wall.
I was on the beach, the sirens howled.
A hundred German bombers overhead;
one gun spoke, a second gun,
till twenty more
were plugging lead
with a music all their own.
One hit the sea with a fine white splash,
another hit the ground a mile away,
burst into a ball of flames.
If we get through this week,
the end is sure.
Today I saw two wild duck,
contented with their brood of two.
My darling, (may I call you that?)
write again soon.
Copyright © 2014 Anne Boileau
Published in so too have the doves gone