There are times in everyone’s life when new paths open up. Some may be chosen, some unexpected, each one presents us with opportunities to learn and grow. When Peter Walker, national prize-winning poet, retired there was the loss of the close relationship he’d had with his community and of the sacred rituals he’d conducted as a priest. Yet now he could devote more time to his own family and to his love of nature, no less sacred. His new collection thus charts the journey from ‘there’ to ‘here’ as his path unfolds to a different way of life and calling. “By the way,” he says, “priests never actually retire!”

FROM THERE TO HERE

there are other places
and
there are other times
but I am here
by fate and inclination

what was
is not
and has been mined for approbation
and my own delight
and is a ripple in the sand

what is
will be
but darkly seen
we do not fill the cup
but wait for its filling DV

not there
but here
where time slides helter-skelter
and you seek to grab a hand
for safety or for comfort or to show you care

not here
but ultimately there
but darkly seen
we merely glimpse the way
and wait for guiding DV

there are other places
and
there are other times
but I am here
by fate and inclination

[DV represents Deo Volente i.e. God willing]

AUTUMN AT NODDFA

in these short autumn days
the leaves do not stay long in the tall trees
as the brushed drum of the wind sweeps them away
with a skirl at the window pane

the bare branches are thin and brittle as bones
beneath the skin of sky
they point the way to winter and its long sunset
spilling its purple along the western fringe

yet this too will fade and soften
for beneath the calloused carapace of earth
the fragile seed is drawing warmth into itself
and learning how to be what it might be
so I wait for the wind to touch my face
and beneath this pale flesh
there is yet something which cannot be ignored
that hints at light and fire

[Noddfa is Welsh for ‘refuge’, a place of retreat.]

WHISPERING ALL TOGETHER

we start a rumour of love
and people talk of naïve innocence

in a world of nails and dogma
our lambs’ tongues will be plucked by crows
as we stand
drifted in snow
and we will retch to bleat out our desires

yet still trees are climbed
and bloodied hands pressed
to give the benediction of forgiveness

such whispering
may yet change the world

INK

my grandmother warned me
never to get a tattoo

in my childhood
as I rode my tricycle through the park
she would tut
at the blue-inked forearms of the navvies in the road
as they swung their picks
or lifted heaving mugs of tea

and later she would scoff
at ageing sun-bleached mothers
whose heavy breasts would stretch their tee-shirts
to reveal a blood-red rose
or a once-fashionable name

and in the summer heat
her one concession
was to push the sleeves of her snow-white cardigan
up to her elbow and reveal
the pastel numbers on her wrist

A RETIRING PRIEST
is published by Local Legend (ISBN 978-1-910027-40-0)
www.local-legend.co.uk

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