Tribute to Pat Watson

Christine Michael, Poetry Society Stanza rep for Stratford-upon-Avon, pays tribute to Pat Watson, who died in March aged 88. You can also read Pat’s poem ‘Meeting Moon‘, a winner of the Poetry News Members’ Poems competition on the theme of ‘Heroes & Heroines’, judged by Kathryn Simmonds. 

Pat will be remembered as a talented poet and a generous and energetic promoter of the arts in Warwickshire.

Pat had a long and varied career in teaching, magazine fiction-writing and the antiques trade before turning her full attention to poetry on retirement. From 1998 she had 52 poems published in small press magazines and produced three collections: Relative Values in 2001, which was supported by an Arts Council of England Award, Landscape with Figures in 2013, and As The Long Days Pass in 2016. This collection was inspired by the loss of her husband Howard, and Pat donated copies to local GP surgeries and hospitals to help those bereaved.

Pat was a founder member of the Stratford-upon-Avon Stanza and belonged to two other local poetry groups. She was also a great networker and encourager of writers, generous with her time and in her appraisal of their work.

Pat loved get-togethers of all kinds, especially where poetry was involved, and so it was fitting that she asked for the reception after her funeral to be a ‘poetry tea’, where her family and friends gathered to read poems and share memories.

Meeting Moon
by Pat Watson

Keith Moon, the drummer? Yes, I met him once.
He topped the bill at Rag Week in our town,
and played those drums with infinite panache,
a crazy angel with his sticks on fire,
but that was at rehearsals, early on,
and only slightly drunk, his beat precise.
I interviewed him in his dressing room
for next day’s local paper, with his mate,
Viv Stanshall of the Bonzo Doo Dah Band.
They made a double act of it, half lies,
half fantasies, and all of it made up.
I said I’d come back later. When I’d gone,
they must have settled down to drink all day.
 
That night when I returned to see the show,
I watched him from the wings. He dropped his sticks,
fell off his stool, and finally lurched out
to catcalls from the students out in front.
And yet that morning he had made the drums
fill all the theatre with a blaze of sound
beyond imagination. Now they’re gone,
both he and Viv, the pair of them are dead.
Not long ago, in Brighton, on a wall,
I saw in letters painted two feet high,
some words which brought that whole night back to me.
Graffitied in his memory, those words
said, ‘Moon the Loon is King’. And so he was.
He had his faults, like anybody else.
Who hasn’t? But I’m glad I met him once.

 

24 April 2018