The Egret of Lanark – a poem in remembrance of John Fenton

After our story in the May Newsletter celebrating the life of John Fenton, I received some really touching correspondence from a few people sharing their wonderful memories of him, and also saying how grateful they were to read the personal perspectives of Neville Bonney, Jim Sinatra, Rod Bird and Rochelle Ruddock.

In one final, and I think fitting gesture, I am going to share a little extra something that Sarah Sharp, John’s niece, shared with me. In writing the poem after John’s death, Sarah reflected that the Egret was one of her Uncle’s favourite birds.

With Sarah’s permission, I hope you enjoy the “Egret of Lanark” – a final tribute to John Fenton, who died on May 15, 2020 aged 85.

The Egret of Lanark

When I first flew past it was bare and vast,
And there was nothing there for me,
But as the years went by, it caught my eye,
‘Is this where I could be?’

As the landscape blossomed with swamp and tree,
The chorus of nature beckoned me,
So, I flew down to stand, on this new land,
To see what I could see.

The water was clear with insects and frogs,
And the edges had sedges and even some logs,
A miracle had happened, how could this be?
I’m telling you now, it was John Fenton! Yippee.

He’d sown the seed for a land in need.
And from this so many will learn,
So like birds of a feather, we’ll stick together,
And continue the spread of the tree.

So, I thank him now, with a deep slow bow,
This spirit of the land,
He’s here in the trees, like a summer breeze,
Spreading life throughout the land.

Sarah Sharp, July 2020

[Reflecting on the loss of her wonderful Uncle and inspired by his transformation of Lanark’s landscape and the wildlife that flourishes within it.]

Sunset over the wetlands of Lanark – part of John’s legacy. Photo by Sarah Sharp.

Mark Bachmann