A tribute from Alistair Elliot, friend and poet, who shared a first publication day with William....

 

 

For William Martin
 
We came out of the woodwork at the same age -
Both of us forty-five for our first book -
For many years I even thought the same day,
With Bill patiently correcting me over and over.
In fact we met at the launch of my first book -
One of those parties where you swan around
Feeling lonely and rather small, like the first day
At school when you meet lots of other children
You never see again. I imagined Bill
Was feeling just like me - I was encouraged
To have a fellow-innocent in the cage
Of the big and talkative lions. But Bill was calm,
Not anxious and diminished in the least,
As I realised on the summer walks to Durham
Many years later. He was always calm,
It seemed, and funny. I felt honoured
To be accepted, southern voice and all,
By this big-minded man who made his voice
And mind resound in everything he wrote:
Still you can read his words and hear him speaking.
 
Alistair Elliot