Published in the February 2008 issue of DECANTO - Colin Ian Jeffery was Centre Stage Poet
1. What age were you when you first became interested in poetry?
Seven - I was a choirboy when I heard the vicar in church read out the twenty-third psalm -
It struck my soul with lightening and my Muse began to sing.
A voice called to me
And I hear it calling still.
2. How many years have you been writing poetry?
Since the green and easy balmy days of Childhood when summers seemed so long, full of adventure, magical and teasing with promise. As a boy I loved listening to Dylan Thomas reading his poems on the BBC radio Home Service.
3. What things inspire you to write?
I write best in spiritual pain - my poems are forged white hot and hammered out upon the anvil of anguish. Aspects of love - being in love - finding love - losing love. Searching for God and a meaning to the mysteries of the Universe. My world rests upon the belief of a loving God.
4. What do you think of poetry?
Poetry is the best of mankind’s literary achievement. Timeless and appealing down the ages as the imagery of a poet’s personal experiences. Poems are the spiritual children of the poet.
7. 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, Spike Milligan.
8. Who has been your greatest inspiration? You may choose more than one.
Dylan Thomas. William Shakespeare. Spike Milligan, Vicar Paul Dunn and my father Frank Jeffery.
9. Do you think poetry still has a place in our culture today?
Mankind without the imagery of poetry would spiritually be like the sun perpetually eclipsed - leaving souls in darkness never to glimpse the light. Poetry best expresses the excellence and the worst that the human heart can achieve. The Muse expresses thoughts pondered upon within the secret landscape of the heart. Poetry is as important as the beating of a heart.
No more will I ramble free
Sensuous and wanton
Over butterfly meadows of your heart.
10. What does poetry mean to you?
Poetry is the language of the soul - my daily bread, sweetest joy and occasionally the most tormenting rendering of unhappiness and grief. Poetry is the flickering candle within the darkness shielded against the blows of the wind.
11. Do you have a favourite poem?
'Death shall have no dominion' by Dylan Thomas
12. Do you do any other writing besides poetry?
I make my living writing books, articles and columns. My fourth book ' Fangs for the Memory’ was published recently.
13. Have you been published anywhere else?
Poetry - Blackwood's Magazine, Home Words, The Lady, Punch, New Yorker, The Month, Contemporary Review, Day by Day, Reform, Poetry hurch, Africa, The British Chronicle, Catholic Pictorial, Best of British, Irish Tatler, Country Life, Outposts, Spectator, Yours, Daily Telegraph, Saint Austin Review, Evergreen, Poetry Monthly, Carillon, Earth love, Reflections, Poetic hours, Dandelion arts magazine, Linkway, Cauldron, Inclement, Poetic Hours. plus included in anthologies.
Colin Ian Jeffery was born 20th May 1942 in Caterham, Surrey, England, during World War Two. He is the youngest of two sons, Anton being two years older, of Frank and Betty Jeffery. Frank served in the artillery with the 8th army (desert rats) in North Africa. Wounded in the knee he was in the invasion of Sicily and Italy, and returned home shell-shocked.
Frank drove a bread delivery van for a year then became a taxi-driver for Catax, in Caterham, driving a cab until his death from cancer on 10th May 1978. He is buried with his wife in St.Mary’s churchyard on Caterham-on-the-hill.
Frank and Betty separated in 1949 when Colin was seven. The sons remained with their father.
Colin was educated at St. John’s Church of England school in Caterham, and at seven went to the Modern School for Boys in Purely, and then on to Clarks College in Croydon. He grew up in the Church of England where he was choirboy and server. In 1964 he became a Roman Catholic.
Colin was baptised and confirmed in both Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church.
He was accepted for the Roman Catholic priesthood by bishop Cashman of Arundel and Brighton in 1969, and offered a place in a seminary in Spain. But Colin had met the great love of his life and was racked with indecision. He chose his soulmate and returned to the Church of England.