|Photo by Peter Kenny|
It soon became apparent to this ‘incomer’ that no meaningful conversation on the subject of the arts in Guernsey could take place without the name Joan Ozanne cropping up.
My wife, Jane, and I had the good fortune to become friends with Joan, our common bond being poetry, and I recall with warm affection the times we shared tea and biscuits in her cosy front room, the walls adorned with pictures and the mantlepiece with photographs of her beloved family. I was also present, from time to time, when Joan hosted lively meetings of the PIMs poetry group.
One of Joan’s daughters, Marguerite, recently gave me a small booklet containing some of her mother's best known poems but the gift of poetry was merely one of the many talents she exhibited: Joan also wrote a number of excellent short stories and plays.
Sadly, Joan Ozanne passed away last year, at the grand old age of 92, and, as one would expect, there have been numerous tributes to her, written by those who knew her longer and far better than I did.
I count myself fortunate to have met her. One of my favourite poems appears below and this coming Monday I will feature a coupe of verses I wrote following the service in celebration of Joan's life that took place at the Parish Church of Ste. Marguerite de la Foret last September.
EVACUATION by Joan Ozanne
My childhood was left inside
when I closed my bedroom door.
In the hall, distraught, father waits, mother weeps.
The dog, unaware, wags his tail
and licks the tears from my face.
Reluctantly we speed to the harbour.
The smell of tobacco smoke on
father’s jacket will remain with me.
On the ship we say goodbye, perhaps forever.
I feel empty like a shell.
On the 19 June 1940 as German forces were advancing on Cherbourg, Joan, aged 14, and her mother left Guernsey for Southampton on board the ‘Isle of Sark’.
Joan Marion Ozanne BEM
Died 30 August 2018
Aged 92 years.