Renewing a transatlantic friendship

Alicia and Jeff Rasley from Indianapolis happened upon the Fountain Poets a couple of years ago. What a lovely couple! They entered into the spirit of the group, Alicia reciting poems by Robert Frost from memory. Jeff sang “Twinke twinkle little star.” In Latin! Both of them are writers and travellers. Alicia travels to research her historical novels. She teaches writing at two state colleges and in workshops throughout North America. Jeff is an author and writing coach who spends time every year trekking in Nepal, where he is deeply committed to helping tribal communities in a non-invasive way. His website is here. We’ve kept in touch since their visit, and they have just spent three days in Wells. Some of us met up with them in the Bishop’s Palace on Sunday afternoon.

Photo by Jeff Rasley

Photo by Jeff Rasley

From there we walked to the old Mendip Hospital Cemetery, now a peaceful wildlife sanctuary and home to many sculptures carved from dead or dying trees in situ by Peter Bolton.

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Back in Wells, we met up with a few other Fountain poets for local real cider and beer in the lovely back garden at The Full Moon. It was a beautiful evening. We shared a few poems on a transatlantic theme but mostly we just talked … they recalled hearing David Cloke’s amazing Morse-code poem, and another in Somerset dialect by Richard, on the subject of pigs. I think we could have talked all night!

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The next day Alicia and Jeff posed for me in the dappled shade of an ancient yew tree in The Coombe, just outside Wells city boundary but a short walk from the centre.

Those of us lucky enough to have got to know the Rasleys are looking forward to their next visit to Somerset.

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