By Megan Young and Merrilyn Thomas
Publisher: Medlar Tree Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-9576491-0-1
First published 2013
Second edition 2014
Price: £9.99

Wordsmith: The Gift of a Soul is a collection of poetry and prose written by Megan Young, an equine veterinary surgeon who died of cancer aged 32. The book has been assembled by her mother Merrilyn Thomas. Megan’s poetry is powerful and profound. It speaks of those things that are common to us all – life and death, joy and pain, eternity and the soul. Her talent is to express these deep and complex thoughts in a language that is both beautiful and simple. The book is also a moving account of a mother’s relationship with her daughter. Merrilyn has woven the story of her daughter’s life around her poetry. In compiling the book, Merrilyn came to know Megan in a way that the hectic pace of life can obscure. Who is this person who has such understanding of the mystery of life, she asks.

Megan’s writing is suffused with an awareness of the spirit yet it is grounded in the reality of her life as a scientist and equine vet. A vet saves lives but also ends them. In one poem which speaks of the toll this can take on a vet, Megan wrote: ‘… I wonder what made me such a one/Who would lead so many to that dark place/With whose heart those final beats would resonate/By whose hand so many last breaths would drift away/And if I could somehow hold that air in the room/Would the life remain there too.’

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About a month before she died, Megan celebrated Christmas at  my house together with Toby, Amos, Morag and her husband Nicolas. Megan had been determined that it would be a good Christmas. Christmas mattered to her; it always had done. She had taken enormous trouble, using her limited energy, to find everyone the right presents and send out her cards. She arrived at my home looking beautiful. The first thing she did was to sit down at the piano with Amos on her knee and play Away in a Manger, softly singing the words to her child. She spent much of the day sitting on the sofa, sometimes asleep, but partaking of the present opening and the eating of the traditional meal. By the evening we were all tired. But Megan seemed reluctant to leave. It was as though she did not want the day to come to an end. She never entered my house again.


Perpetual Morning

by Megan Young

Optimism, hope, I made plans for our future.

I could still see the sun through the dark clouds above.

And even when the rain came down and soaked me

I thought of the rainbow that would never come.

The pink glow in the sky that I saw as beautiful

Was reflected only in the storm clouds that blacked out the sun.

And when the new moon rose, I saw hope in its gleam

When really it was just someone’s cynical joke.

Shepherds’ warning should have been my warning too.

I made promises that weren’t up to me to keep.

And now I am sorry for getting your hopes up.

The rains that fall are my tears from heaven.

My perpetual morning is of the other kind

Where the truth is worse than the nightmare.

The kind of grieving for what I haven’t lost.

Please. Let there be light.

Horse love, poet, veterinary surgeon, dreamer, arch realist. Megan Young was the kindred spirit I never met; the woman I wish I could have been. Hers was a life force cruelly taken from us. A beautiful, lyrical gem of a book.
(Melanie Reid, The Times)

Wordsmith is Merrilyn Thomas’s lovingly collated collection of her daugh¬ter’s lyrical and spiritually uplifting poetry and prose which speaks so movingly of the mystery, beauty and joy of the world, and of the pain and grief that it brings.
(Pam Norfolk, Lancashire Evening Post)

This is more than a book of exceptional poems, it’s inspirational, a mother and daughter so closely involved in producing this Gift of a Soul.
(Anne Hailes, Irish News)

This short book gets under your skin (well, it did mine). It should resonate deeply with anyone facing death or bereavement, especially at an early age, with horse-lovers and lovers of nature, and with those seeking glimpses of an underlying meaning to life. A little gem!
(Jan Arriens, Amazon)

Inspirational poetry … Wonderful wonderful book … Beautifully poems, a worthwhile read.