Tuesday, June 18, 2024

A Poet And His Applewood Staff

April 5, 2010 by  
Filed under Poetry

The apple tree had served him well,
With many springs of sweet scented blossom,
And autumn harvests of tender fruit,
Now victim of a winter’s storm,
Stacked in logs to keep him warm.

Yet one piece of that old tree,
Would serve him many years more,
Carefully selected, scraped and varnished,
Cut to length now his staff,
Constant companion, never apart.

With Grenadier stride, and flowing beard,
The staff now on his shoulder rifle fashion,
Carries his bag of everyday shopping,
Like a traveling journeyman of long ago,
Children look up, some smile in recognition.

Often sitting on a bench seat,
Feeding the pigeons at his feet,
His staff dissected by his beard, held between his knees,
While the pigeons strut, bob and bow,
Like Courtiers of some ancient court,
Paying homage to their King.

Sometimes wandering down country lanes,
Crossing moors, hills and fields,
Unaware of anyone, supported by his staff,
At one with nature, and it’s wild creatures,
His mind absorbing, creating yet another poem.

Feral cats wild, and cautious,
Come to feed at his garden table,
He demands nothing from them, offers friendship,
They in turn except as equals,
Living in the same independent state,
Each rewarded by mutual respect.

The faithful staff now in a corner stands,
Waiting for a call to duty, once again.
The Poet on a zimmer frame stride,
Crosses to the window, looks out,
Sees spring apple blossom, so back to his typewriter,
And another poem flows from his mind.

His latest book now completed, edited, published,
Soon to join the others on the shelf,
All have passed through his fertile mind,
And that old typewriter on his desk.
He says that it will be his last, but we
Who know him well, smile, knowing that this
Eccentric, Soldier Poet, will continue,
Until he too answers to that final bugle call.

I write this in honour of a great Welsh poet, a Soldier, Scholar, Author, and yes ecentric.
His work has been read and appreciated in Europe, Australia, Canada, and the USA, however his Native country – Wales, seemed to neglect his work. This was, I suspect, because Richard always preferred writing for a much broader audience, and a small “misunderstanding ” with the Welsh Acadamists. This did not worry him. He was always in touch with the world wide community of literature, being a contributing editor to the Pembroke Magazine of Pembroke College Noth Carolina for many years, A Spanish college used his work for an English study course.
I have not as yet found his complete record of written works, but have traced 17 books so far.
Richard suffered severe illness as a child, and used the time wisely in study, becoming familiar with the classics at an early age, he also later became a fine athlete.
Joining the Grenadier Guards in 1938, was decorated by the French Government for his treatment of wounded French soldiers at Dunkirk. To escape he swam nearly a mile out to sea before being picked up by a passing boat, he landed in England clad only in a sailors southwester jacket. He also served in the Normandy invasion in the Guards armoured division.
There is much to include in the life of this ecentric man of literature, that will have to wait until his affairs are settled, but it will be done.

I include this poem written some time ago,  just a small tribute to a big man.

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