Anne Ridler’s first book, Poems was published in 1939 and she continued to write poetry until her death in 2001. She was also a librettist and wrote several plays and verse plays. She was an editor at Faber and Faber, a colleague of T. S. Eliot, a friend of C. S. Lewis and a devotee of Charles Williams. She was awarded an OBE in 2001. Some of her better known poems are I who am here dissembled for T S Eliot’s 60th birthday (“Poetry is, as you said, a mug’s game. The poem, written, is lost...”) Nothing is Lost, sometimes read at funerals (“Nothing is lost. we are too sad to know that, or too blind...”) and the late poem Snakeshead Fritillaries. Her poetry is inspired by her Anglican faith, by landscape and nature and by her family life.
She first visited Aisholt in 1930 aged 18, holidaying with schoolfriends in a cottage owned by their former headmistress Olive Willis who herself became a lifelong friend and Anne returned many times through her life. Her poem Aisholt Revisited vividly describes the Quantock Hills:
These moors in August drank the burning sky,
And stretched out still thirsty, scorched by gorse,
Though the combes ran cool on either side
With waving fronds and streams to the red loam
And Appeasing pasture.
She imagines Wordsworth and Coleridge’s days walking on the hills, saying
The Landscape was the occasion and the vessel.
So let our times beside the speaking streams,
In the secret cottage, or in the maze of combes,
By their intensity exist forever.
Anne's husband was a keen user of a cine camera. By the miracle that is the internet here is a video of Anne Ridler and her family in Aisholt, climbing to Will's Neck, visiting Porlock and in Cornwall in the 1950s:
[Unfortunately the video from reelintime.com is no longer available]