Among the 107 beautifully crafted, thought-provoking poems in Geoffrey Copley’s new book, A Random Walk, is this seasonal reflection on a Christmas afternoon. It will stir the memories that we must all have of the ‘post dinner walk’, either as children or in later life. Geoffrey’s book is studded with poems and sketches that display a rare skill and sensitivity describing what we all have felt in ways that ring in our hearts. It is a book that everyone who loves the countryside, loves Derbyshire and love life, must own.
It was late afternoon just last Christmas day,
The plum pudding eaten, the roast turkey spent,
We’d washed all the dishes and put them away
When off to the fields and footpaths I went.
The lanes were deserted this hour before dark
I was there with the wind and a wren on a log,
Some high flying seagulls and down by the park
A farmer in jodhpurs out walking his dog.
The rain of last night still beaded the hedge,
It lay in the furrows and mirrored the sky,
It gushed in the field drains, flooding the sedge
And splashed from the trees as the wind made it fly.
In the darkening shades of a premature night
I took to the footpath where the road forked,
From a sinister sky of water-washed light
The first warning drops ringed the pools as I walked.
Then the wind and the rain were mingled with snow
And approached from the east in a curtain of mist,
I crouched by the wall with the hawthorn, bent low,
As the sleet in the hedgerow simmered and hissed.
And there in the storm I was one with the trees
Where the briars’ gnarled fingers clutched at the stone
Until the sky cleared and it threatened to freeze
And a rose tinted evening beckoned me home.