‘Coming Home’ – Sir Andrew Motion

Sir Andrew Motion visited to interview soldiers

‘We’ve had a request from a poet to come over – does anyone want to pick it up?’

Of course I did! This was something out of the usual requests from photographers and journalists. I was curious so I was given more details.

The producer was Melissa Fitzgerald and she would be coming over to Germany with Sir Andrew Motion to gather raw material from interviews for a collection of poems he would write for Remembrance Sunday 2014.

It was a huge privilege to put together a programme of interviews. Neither of us really knew what we would discover as I found soldiers willing to talk about their experiences and Sir Andrew thought about how his writing would be inspired.

As with any visit there were changes, endless cups of coffee as we talked about one interview before moving on to the next. As I sat in on the interviews I could feel the emotions that people were being asked to relive.

The resulting poems were so incredibly powerful and the way in which they were written, based on the interviews and our own words, coupled with the way in which Sir Andrew had recorded them was very emotional.

In a blog article for BBC Radio 4 Sir Andrew explains the affect it had on him.

I was very privileged, whilst not in the original programme, to be interviewed a few minutes before they were due to depart from Fallingbostel. I now have a very personal poem written by the former Poet Laureate (1999-2009) about my family experiences during Operation HERRICK 19 in Afghanistan.

Entitled ‘Talking to the Moon’ it recounts my story as a wife and mother waiting at home perhaps with a greater understanding than most of what was going on but trying to shield our 4 children from it all.

In April 2015 Sir Andrew was awarded the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry fro the collection ‘Coming Home’.

 

Sir Andrew Motion and Melissa Fitzgerald from Blakeway TV visited to interview soldiers and then Sir Andrew turned them into poems for Remembrance Sunday on BBC Radio 4

An extract from the Blakeway Production that was aired on BBC Radio 4 9 November 2014. This is my interview with Sir Andrew Motion he continues to read the poem he wrote based on the full interview.

Talking to the Moon

Major Wendy Faux

22 years       I’ve been in the army       

my husband     we were       at Sandhurst 

together    

and 5 years after

      

courting I think is the word

     

I had done Bosnia by then       

in a tented camp       with the floods       

and guys ringing home

with water

up to their knees       

so with his tours in Ireland       

Iraq      

Afghanistan now       

I do understand       I do       

I’ve been there       

I’ve done that 

     

but hey

I don’t want to hear

  

the day

he sent me a bluey   

I took it       I looked at the map 

     

mistake        a big mistake      

I thought      don’t need it     

I don’t

we have 4  children       and Freddy       

14       quick

much quicker

stop    stop    stop    stop     stop      

I set up the choir       I’ve started my art   

you have to have something 

  

Sharon and Franny and Pam

I don’t know what would I do       

injured       

or broken       you just think       

crikey

also there’s writing 

but actually I am so       yeah       

at least you’d have twisted the lid

or you look at the mountains       

they take you away      

who could be there       

who has explored them       who

is living there now

also the sky 

     

if the children

are wanting to talk

I say to them     talk

to the moon       Dad can do that

you can talk to the moon together       

then there’s the bunting 

     

it’s hardly        like Christmas

but listen

it comes with us     everywhere      

we have a box

embarrassing really        but never mind that      

no one will see it this time

this time when he’s home     

we’re tucked away in the woods.