These poems are the result of a bereavement. I attended counselling groups but was at first unable to find words to express grief. To confront it directly was too painful as indeed was any kind of writing. Then I started reading again. It was by looking through some of my wife’s many books that I began writing poetry for the first time since student days. Some but not all of these poems owe a debt to her favourites, and some to mine. In most cases the “debt” belongs to the rhyme scheme, the line metrics and even the substance of the poem. The original, whether by Christina Rossetti or Seamus Heaney, provided me with the model that fortified and encouraged me to embark on my efforts as an apprentice poet. A mask may conceal your emotions but may also provide you with a fresh viewpoint.
Simon Berry wrote the entry on Alexander Smith for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and in 2013 published Applauding Thunder. A former books review editor of The Scotsman and ex-President of Scottish PEN, he is maybe better known as a journalist and writer of erotic fiction. He lived in Cyprus before settling in the Scottish Highlands where he published his first collection of poems A Mask for Grieving & Other Poems (2014)