Brian Higgins by Patrick Swift, Oil, c. 1960, London (poor quality reproduction); Higgins spent a year with the Swift's in the Algarve


Brian Higgins came to stay, but the cottage was tiny and he stayed next door, joining us for meals... My father was always generous, and patient, and never begrudged providing poets with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Higgins spent at least a year with us. - Katherine Swift (Gandon Editions, 1993)


Dedicatory Poem to Patrick Swift
By Brian Higgins

Two boys were playing on a lonely beach
The sea broke on the coast, they did not care,
They had left school together for a dare
And left the dusty things that schoolmen teach.

Were they too gay, too daring on the rocks,
Surely such boyish laughter was not forced?
Playboys too young to know what youth must cost
Too free to notice other peoples clocks.

And so they rollicked on the western strand
The sacred isles glowed lovely in the morning;
They did not hear the sullen God's command
Or the black priest throw down his monstrous warning.

They had cast out all law, their game was touch
Not tit for tat, the double-take of fools,
They knew the score but did not keep it much
And only curbed their zest with witty rules.

Lost in that morning I have proved with tears
Remembering how those boys were you and I
And found through study, toil and broken years
That truant morning and that perfect sky.