This morning, flicking through a pile of poetry books that had made its way onto the dining-room table, I unearthed an old edition of the Penguin Book of Love Poetry. I think I bought the book from a Sheffield charity shop a few years ago. Looking inside, I found a dedication…
For Lumb Bank &
for Papua N.G.
forget the pig
It tickled my fancy, and so I posted it to Instagram, then thought no more of it.
Soon afterwards though, I got a tweet from Jess Meacham:
@dansumption Lumb Bank used to belong to Ted Hughes – it's now a writing centre! Archie must be a writer..
— Jess Meacham (@jessmeacham) January 20, 2015
I still didn’t investigate further though, until a little later I spotted a tweet from my friend Salena Godden (whose book Fishing in the Aftermath had also been in that pile of poetry), saying that she was at Lumb Bank:
— Salena Godden (@salenagodden) January 20, 2015
So, just for a giggle, I decided to see whether I could find out who Archie and Dawn were. A couple of Googles later (specifically, a search for “poet archie papua new guinea”) and I ended up at the Wikipedia page for E. A. Markham.
His middle name was Archie.
He took a VSO position in Papua New Guinea from 1983 to 1985.
Perhaps all coincidental but, combined with the Lumb Bank reference, I feel reasonably sure that this was Markham’s book. A poet’s artifact.
And now, I’m wondering who Dawn was.
In the meantime, I also discovered this lovely little poem.