Dirty old man

June 10, 2013

I have chosen to become a dirty old man.

Now, I soil myself.

Since February I have chosen to walk the land at Windgrove bare footed and by end of day have feet looking as though they could grow broccoli.

This has everything to do with finding a new story in an old language to tell me how to live out my remaining days.

Poet W.S. Merwin was correct when he wrote these lines for “Witness”:

I want to tell what the forests
were like

I will have to speak
in a forgotten language


The only way that will bring me back into hearing and speaking Earth’s voice is to bring my body to her. Walking prayers on winter damp dark soil is a lesson in remembering. Toes come alive, sensing something. Just maybe a new beginning.

Wherever you live, I’m sure the readers of this blog “Life on the Edge” have noticed big changes to their local weather. To begin to interpret what’s happening, take off your shoes and sense from the ground up what message is being told.

Let’s discard the unexamined myths behind our use of the date 2013 and begin afresh.

As poet Kathleen Jones writes, let this year be the first year of a new beginning.

The Year Zero

It was the year there was no summer
when winter drizzled and froze
through a reluctant spring
into a cloud-shrouded August
snowdrops in April and
February Fill-dyke in July.
We had no name for these new seasons
or the year that refused to turn
in its old rhythms.

It was the year that our mythologies lost
meaning and the oracles were dumb.
Hawberries glutted the warm winter
red skies at night brought only storm.
We had no signs to warn us of the plague
beetle in the bark, no animal or bird
to augur the weirding weather – 
geese stopped migrating and
the swallows stayed.

It was the year we found that we no longer
spoke the language of the land.  The year
science had no answer to the big question.
The year we knew we needed a new story
to tell us how to live.

Kathleen Jones

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathleen Jones June 12, 2013 at 3:58 am

thanks for sharing my poem Peter – Interesting thoughts on going barefoot – I’ve loved going without shoes since I was a child. Don’t fancy it quite so much in January though! Lovely post.

John Caddy June 10, 2013 at 10:38 pm

You’re not so old, Peter. Just wait.

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