Dédicace by Jean Baptiste Duville

Dear David Grubb,

I was came across your collection of poems – From The White Room – recently, trying to find suitable new homes for my collection of books as builders work on my house and push everything to one side and, as is to be expected, not achieving a great deal but dust and discomfort. For me, however, each individual volume I had to move from its former home to a new, temporary, one brought back memories of past years, experiences and pleasures, had to be opened, re-read, mulled over. It is strange reading works I enjoyed as a teenager now, in what some call the full years of life, with so many memories of those times, and the realisation now of what could have been, as opposed to what happened.

I was thinking, in particular, of your final work in this collection – For Solzhenitsyn, Now – as I sat down to write, and remarking to myself how times change and yet, as we know from experience, tend to remain the same. We had great expectations from the Master of oppressed writing back in the Seventies; hoped and demanded that he produce works of an equal calibre to those smuggled out from Soviet Russia; expected him to turn to our own society and praise us, at the very least.

We were disappointed with Solzhenitsyn. Perhaps the lack of oppression robbed him of the very vitality needed to bring his best words to paper, to explore his ideas and face the great bear of government he had known. Freedom, for what it is, can be a relieving as well as a destructive force.

Now, several decades later, we see new forces in our world which threaten to return us – or them, as we sincerely hope – to a new state of oppression. We turn our eyes to the United States of America, and here your words ring true:

We will all wait for a year or two to settle scores. But then we expect the public scream, our dream of evil to be savagely explored.

It seems to me, reading through your words over and over again, that we are returning to a state long since abandoned, but with many expectations which cannot, will not, be fulfilled. And the question must be asked: do we have a Master capable of writing the truth, as bitter as it may be, and smuggling it out to the free world as a plea for help?

Yours sincerely,