Lem Ibbotson in his own words: "At 20 I had a degree in Physics and
Math, followed later by a diploma (degree equivalent) in electrical engineering.
I taught electrical and electronic subjects in Polytechnics and Universities,
being what you would call a professor, although in the UK that appellation is
reserved for the most senior. From that background I have written two text books
and collaborated in a third. At the end of my career I took an arts degree and a
masters in education. I have always been regarded as a competent writer, and
have written poetry as a hobby most if my life — much more since I retired (I am
87 years old)."
Songs of the Luberon
In the Luberon the mistral blows strong
Scudding the tiny clouds along;
An endless skirmish of hot against cold
Between sun and wind, as the mountains look on.
Here is suspension; no other strife;
No cares, with which daily existence is rife:
My mind should be free, but, alas, is still bound
To the fruitless search for the meaning of life.
The villages throughout the Luberon
Are living relics from a far-off time;
Built on the hillsides to be safe from foes:
The visitor will face a taxing climb!
The natives must be made of sturdy stuff:
As they leave their homes to face the slopes,
Unconcerned, they stride out — up or down;
Showing the confidence of mountain goats.
The ancient cobbled streets of Lacoste
Are among the steepest I've ever seen:
If, with great endurance, you climb to the top
You will find yourself on an open green.
There stands an old castle, the door firmly barred,
Once the home of the Marquis de Sade:
You may think you hear many ghostly calls,
But it's only the martins that nest in the walls.
You ought to go to Roussillon
To see the village up on high
With brown-to-golden ochre cliffs
Rising against a clear blue sky.
Climb to the top of Roussillon;
The view on any sunny day
Across the hills of Luberon
Will surely take your breath away.
Fontaine de Vaucluse
The mountain spews a fountain at Vaucluse
Into a quiet pool, and then away,
Rushing and shouting rapid over rocks
With whirling water wearing clouds of spray.
Almost as old as craggy rocks above,
The ancient church stands silent in the square,
Guarding the safety of the village souls
Since before Petrarch penned his sonnets there.
The Market at Apt
We went to the market at Apt,
But all of Provence was there:
There wasn't a space for the car at all
Within miles of the market square.
We drove past the market at Apt,
But no parking place could be found:
We went all through the town looking right and left,
And finally turned around.
We drove back past the market at Apt
And wished we were able to stay,
But we searched in vain for the tiniest space,
So, sadly, we drove away.
I wonder, as I watch the setting sun,
What it would have been like
To have spent my life
In the Luberon.
Would I still see the beauty all around,
The stunning views
Round every corner
And on every side?
Would I have farmed the land,
Or kept a café?
Never known, or cared about,
The world of science?