from Jean Calder

The poem that follows is a tribute to Jane Longhurst.

Jane Longhurst (31) was strangled to death in a flat in Waterloo Street, Brighton, Sussex on 14th March 2003. Her body was desecrated and later found burning in woodland in Wiggonholt Common near Pulborough, West Sussex on 19th April.

Graham Coutts was convicted of her murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Jane was a very popular special needs teacher and talented viola player, who lived in Brighton, with her partner. She worked at a local school and assisted with the Brighton Youth Orchestra.

We are honoured that Jane’s mother Liz Longhurst, who became a campaigner against violent pornography, is one of our patrons.

This poem is written for her in memory of her wonderful daughter.

Grace of God

Swan necked
She stands at the forests’ edge
Far from the crowd’s wild cry
The brush and faggots’ crack
And the sighing of the wind.

Strong armed
She lifts the bow
Drawing it deep
In dappled woods of pine
Across the strings
And crafted mouth
of the tender bellied wood

Her music sounds in Wiggonholt
Eddies through the undergrowth
And sings above the wind

Through the breathing of the strings
And the piping of a child
She lives again.

Now, primroses grow
Keys of gold
Among the trees,
On the common where she lay

And in the city
Where her heart last beat
Music soars
And violets grow.

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