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The Lodge               Bosham

         The South Downs           Gauntlets


The Lodge


Crows are nesting now, not

in the elms you knew, they died

years ago long after you, but the caw,

caw, you would recognize, and the scent

of the box hedge, small dark green leaves

clipped close, each damp with overnight dew,

each catching the sun’s light. A new day,

one of hundreds you have not seen

yet this was your home. Days came

for you here, asking you out to play.


We seldom played, but you had begun

to find your son company, pillioned

against that black mac that you wore,

the roar of the two-fifty drowning words

shouted over you shoulder.

                                            The Lodge

still stands in the low, rising sunlight, but

the sawing horse has gone, sawdust

long sifted back into the earth. You

are here at my shoulder, these are your words,

my inheritance. I have cared for them,

been carried by them into paths that you

would have loved to travel, and you do.

In all that I do with them, these words hold

your breathing, your voice over your shoulder.  


Ted Walter

in Lapidus Quarterly, 2006





It is easy to see now,

parked by the roadside,

slow tide rising like mercury

among grasses, silvering tarmac,

how such silent encroachment

might listen to a King’s word.


Across the harbour,

shingle spire corn-coloured

among red roofs

riding at anchor,

the church contains Cnut’s daughter.

Dust of an eight year old

in a stone coffin.


It is easy to see now

the King, his throne, the panoply

at the sea’s edge,

his people trusting like children

from a safe distance,

his hands raised and the tide

declining to notice.


Yet here I could believe

I had the power,

tide on the turn.

No pause, no sense of achievement;

one second swilled to my feet

the next receding,

continuing to recede.


With it my heart goes out

to a King without choice,

unable to stop the tide rising

nor the life of his daughter

draining too quickly.


Ted Walter

first published in Choosing Yellow,

Yorick Books Canterbury 1986, ISBN 0 947710 04 3;

in collection blue moon, Willing Words, 1999

ISBN 0-9537743-0-9



The South Downs


Long before names, before we thought of naming,

seas roared through, dividing Sussex Downs

from what is France: carving through millennia

of laid down life – this chalk, these flints, the land

we came to know as home. Long before that

the cosmos dreamed of consciousness, filled space

with elements that one day would lead to us.


Now every grain of soil, each artefact,

the air we breathe, the sweep of shadowed grass,

directly links us to our common birth,

and every crafted work, each photograph,

each stone we gather from a storm-washed beach,

points always back, reminds us of the time

it took to get here, step by step.


Ted Walter

in anthology Earth Songs, Green Books in association with Resurgence Magazine, (ed Peter Abbs), 2002, ISBN 1 903998 17 4

Featured in Hove Museum Exhibition, Downlands & the Sea 2000





Black leather, well-worn, the cuffs wide

and gleaming as though air still streamed

over them, and over the handle-bars

of his first machine, a Royal Enfield.


Gauntlets, beret and goggles, held him,

retained him, though long discarded:

cracks in the leather, stains from oil,

their smell, calling through years of absence.


Riding pillion, behind his heavy black coat,

clinging….’Grip with your knees. Lean with the bike.’

Dipping into a corner, frightened at first, shifting

to remain upright. ‘Lean!’ Shouted above engine, wind.


Gripping tight there came, with exhilaration,

praise. ‘He rides like part of it now.’ But she frowned.

The machine was taking them from her. One day it would kill;

a windshield splinter become  her son’s singular relic,


a sharp defiance like his refusal to cry.

Until then she would wave goodbye,

envy their maleness, feed baby,

dust the house, long for a daughter.


But she would know fear when, from sunlight,

the engine cold, beret too big,

with goggles propped on his nose, her son

stepped in, grinning, his hands lost in gauntlets.


Ted Walter

first published in Agenda (ed. Patricia McCarthy)

Spring 2000, ISBN 0002-0796

in collection blue moon, Willing Words, 1999

ISBN 0-9537743-0-9


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