Jonathan Stedall

Sample poems


So often, as I stand in awe
of beauty in its many forms -
the flowers, a frost,
the kindness in a person's eyes,
our grandson three days old -
I long for you to see them too,
to share the joy,
to share the thrill
that life so often brings.

But then I think,
or rather hope,
that all this beauty isn't lost
because of where you are.
Perhaps, indeed, that joy is there,
and greater than for us;
for you can see
and you can hear
the essence of this world we love
in greater depth,
with brighter light
than those of us still here.

If this is so,
and not some ruse
to keep at bay my tears,
then when I kneel
to thank the world,
I know you're kneeling too.

That Robin

That robin who became so tame
when you were ill
is back again,
but not so close.

Perhaps he knew -
not in his tiny brain,
but in his feathered being -
that you would welcome such a friend
when times were hard.
For what keeps animals at bay
comes tumbling down
when people drop their guard
and boundaries start to shrink.

The garden was your world.
You saw each flower and tree anew.
Perhaps you saw them as the robin does.
No wonder you became such friends.


When white, not orange,
cold, not heat,
reminded us our friend, the sun
was very far away,
you, carer of the four of us,
took down your cauldron from the shelf,
and chopped up fruit,
which boiled and boiled,
and filled the house with steam.

And so our treat for months to come
would slowly fill up jars;
and breakfasts were a daily feast
reminding us at start of day
of Spanish warmth,
and English frost,
and all those hours of toil.

Now all is quiet,
but nothing lost -
I live both now and then.
Your skills I miss,
but what remains
so links me still to winter days
when you brought warmth
to all our lives
in many different ways.

But now there's only one jar left,
and that I'll have to keep;
for stored up there
is treasure rare
which helps me not to weep.

Letting Go

Letting go
of all the clutter in our lives,
I can imagine brings relief
and peace of mind -
a tranquil place to be.

And when I do the same at death,
and let my body go -
thus letting go of facts I know,
but not of who I am -
will those who weep
not start to see
that I who did the letting go
am still around
to take new steps,
with them not far behind?

The River Wye

Sometimes in haste
and sometimes calm,
you flow towards the sea,
obeying law that apples know
when time to leave the tree.

Whilst on your banks the trees and flowers
point upwards to the sky;
the reeds are straight,
those blades of grass
that bend awhile with dew,
they go not where the river goes -
to what do they aspire?
Perhaps my wish to play with words
is prompted by that same strong urge:
defy the gravity that holds me back,
but draws the river on.

Once, long ago,
we built slim spires,
expressions of our growing sense
of other laws at work.
Now they are dwarfed
by taller towers
that really have no point,
except to keep us looking down,
our noses to the ground.

So quietly and not quite alone
we try to build our inner spires
that point us to a higher truth,
to what we might become.
Thus stone by stone,
and trial by trial
there slowly will emerge
a triumph over Newton's law
and all that drags us down.

Glide on, obedient and seductive Wye,
and maybe we will meet again
at some place further on.
I hope by then I'll understand
the wisdom of both laws -
that things grow up
and things grow down,
and I am in-between.


We feel so small,
just tiny specks,
the more we're told,
the more we learn
about another billion stars
that someone's found
while peering into space.

And yet in other ways
we're huge,
as huge as each new thought
that takes us to those billion stars,
and to a truth
beneath our feet
and in our hearts -
a truth that knows no size.

Where on Earth is Heaven? cover

All text and images © Jonathan Stedall