My Questions, My Answers – Colin Ian Jeffery

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What age were you when you first became interested in poetry?

Seven, a choirboy, when I heard the vicar in the church read the twenty-third psalm. The beauty of the words struck my soul like lightning and my Muse began to sing. I then found poetry being read on the BBC radio Home Service and would listen in awe and delight to such poets as Dylan Thomas, John Betjeman, and Ted Hughes.

In childhood
A voice called to me
And I hear it calling still.

What inspires you?

I compose best while in spiritual pain — poems forged white-hot, hammered upon the anvil of anguish, aspects of love, searching for God and some meaning to the great mysteries of the Universe. My poetry rests firmly upon the belief in a loving God.

What does poetry mean to you?

The highest of mankind’s literary achievement, timeless, appealing down the ages, revealing imagery of a poet’s struggles and experiences of the world around him. “Poems are the children of the poet.” This was told to me by the English poet John Betjeman, with whom I corresponded with when a young man.

Who are your favourite poets?

Dylan Thomas, William Shakespeare, John Keats, Oscar Wilde, Rupert Brooke, Lord Byron, John Betjeman, Wilfred Owen, Philip Larkin, Ted Hughes, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Walt Whitman, T.S. Eliot.

Who has been your greatest inspiration? You may choose more than one.

Dylan Thomas. William Shakespeare, John Betjeman, my father, and a priest, the Reverend Doctor Paul James Dunn, for his great support and encouragement.

Has poetry still a place in the modern world?

Very much so, mankind without the imagery of poetry would be like the sun perpetually eclipsed, leaving souls in darkness never glimpsing the light nor seeing the next mountain to be climbed. Poetry is the best for expressing both the excellence and worst the human heart can experience.

The Muse inspires within a secret landscape of the poet’s heart. Poetry is as important to the poet as is the very beat of his heart. Poetry is the magical language of the soul, daily bread, sweet and joyful, sometimes raging purple storms endured with stark thunder clouds of unhappiness and relentless grief. Poetry is a flickering candle within the darkness that is shielded by the poet against the blows of the wind.

Love must be set free
For this I know
The caged bird sings for flight
Dying captive
Looking through the bars.

Have you a favourite poem?

Many, but my all-time favourite is, ‘Death shall have no dominion’ by Dylan Thomas.

Where have you been published?

Stand, This England, Blackwood’s Magazine, Home Words, The Lady, Punch, Country Life, New Yorker, The Month, Decanto, Contemporary Review, Day by Day, Reform, Poetry Church, Africa, The British Chronicle, Catholic Pictorial, Best of British, Irish Tatler, Country Life, Outposts, Spectator, Yours, Bard, Earth love, Quantum Leap, The Reader, Jewish Chronicle, Sea Breezes, Inclement, Earth Love, Quantum Leap, Saint Austin Review, Africa, Evergreen, Springboard, Poetry Monthly, Carillon, Earth love, Reflections, Poetic hours, Dandelion arts magazine, Linkway, Cauldron, Awen, Inclement, Poetic Hours, Ashvamegh, Reflections, Army and you, The K9 Independent, Scots Magazine, Army and you, Born Free, Bombay Gin, Peeking cat, Quadrant, Gorilla Organisation, Crashtest, WWF, Catholic insight, Freexpression, Yuan Yang, Quadrant, Modern Literature, plus poems included in various anthologies.


 

To read a few of the author’s poems published in Modern Literature, click here