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Poetry from within

A Poet and His Apple Wood Staff.

A tribute to an eccentric Soldier Poet, a Grenadier guard.

The apple tree had served him well.

With many springs of sweet scented blossom.

And autumn harvests of tender fruit,

Now victim of a winterís storm,

Stacked in logs to keep him warm.

Yet once 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 travelling 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 itís 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 accept as equals,

Living in the same independent state,

Each rewarded by mutual respect.

The faithful staff now in a corner stands,

Waiting for call to duty, once again.

The Poet on a zimmer frame stride,

Crosses to the window, looks out,

Sees spring 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 his shelf,

All have passed through his fertile mind,

And that old typewriter on his desk.

He says it will be his last, but we

Who know him, smile, knowing that this

Eccentric, Soldier Poet, will continue,

Until he too answers to that final bugle call.

A. R. Lewis

FootNote: For those not familiar with Richards work, just a little about him, as a Grenadier on the Dunkirk beach he assisted the French Soldiers(He spoke fluent French) for which the French Govt, honoured him. He escaped from the beach by swimming out to a tramp steamer, but he was exhausted, hung on a rope dangled down from the deck, was hauled aboard , and arrived in England dressed only in a seamans oilskin coat. His achievements after the war are far too much to quote here so just a few, Mentioned in several copies of International Whoís Who, Poetry. Served in Grenadier Guard WW2,contributing editor to The Pembroke Mag.North Carolina, reviewer for the Plowman , Ontario. Canada, Winner of many poetry competions, published some 16 books. His work was the subject of Spanish colleges for their English exams. I have no doubt that he suffered trauma , both from his wae experiences and subsequent events, his daughter was killed in a car accident, driven by her boyfriend, who took his own life week later., for the last years of his life he lived the life of a true eccentric not washing or bathing, even not changing his clothes, and at the same time in conversation with ,many people world wide. I was just a week older than Richard, born some 20 miles apart, suffered ill health as children, and in many ways our lives run on similar lines, but miles apart in achievement, I miss him, Taffy.