When Robert's poem, Abbaye St Wandrille de la Fontanelle, was first published, an admiring postcard from Kardamyli arrived in the mail: 'I was very moved by your charming short poem about St Wandrille ... it conjures up the magic of the place immediately.' It was signed Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor DSO OBE.
I left the poem for him at The Travellers Club, having enjoyed the trilogy of his walkabout of the late thirties and his later book about St Wandrille, A Time to Keep Silence. You can imagine how lovely it was to receive his two postcards.
Abbaye St Wandrille de la Fontanelle
At St Wandrille, in August rain,
Old, before the Normans came,
Where you can sense our infant isle,
In local stone and timbered tile,
And where you can feel eternity,
In vanished stone and forest tree.
At Saint Wandrille, in August rain,
Old, before the Normans came.
(The first Mass was said here in 649 AD; the Normans ruled here from 911AD.)