Peter’s on a ‘Mys­ti­cal Path’

Fingal Independent - - NEWS - By KEN PHE­LAN

AN 83-year-old Malahide man has just pub­lished his first book of po­etry, writ­ten in the face of ad­ver­sity and heartache, in what has been a very dif­fi­cult and dark pe­riod of his life.

Peter Owens, from Se­abury in Malahide, was carer to his wife of 54 years, Vera, un­til re­cently, ded­i­cat­ing him­self en­tirely to her care. Vera’s health de­te­ri­o­rated about 26 years ago, when she was di­ag­nosed with Parkin­son’s Dis­ease, and again in re­cent years, when she de­vel­oped a form of de­men­tia.

Since 2016, Vera has stayed in a nurs­ing home, de­spite Peter’s best wishes.

Speak­ing to The Fin­gal In­de­pen­dent, Peter talks about his book, ‘Mys­ti­cal Path with Po­etry’, how he came to write, and how po­etry turned his life around.

He ex­plained: ‘I wrote my first poem about 24 years ago, so re­ally, I only started when I was in my late fifties. I started think­ing there must be more to life than all this and I just started writ­ing, to get my thoughts onto pa­per.

‘I had started med­i­ta­tion be­fore that, and it was through the med­i­ta­tion that I be­gan to do creative things, so the po­etry re­ally came from that. A lot of peo­ple would say that cre­ativ­ity comes with med­i­ta­tion; for me, it came about four or five years later, when I got the urge to write things down.’

It was through Peter’s med­i­ta­tion group that he re­ceived the en­cour­age­ment to pur­sue the idea of pub­lish­ing a book. At the group’s re­quest he would read po­etry to the group af­ter ses­sions, which was al­ways re­ceived well.

Peter said: ‘The rest of the group re­ally got to like the poems, and one day said why not put all of this into a book. It was won­der­ful, be­cause it was kind of a com­mu­nity ef­fort to per­suade me to go and do the thing. Two of the ladies helped me, and an artist did the il­lus­tra­tions.’

Peter has lived in Malahide, ‘about 30 years’, he says, in Se­abury near the Sa­cred Heart Church. Since his wife went into care, he has lived there on his own, but vis­its her ‘ev­ery se­cond day’. Malahide it­self has been a source of in­spi­ra­tion, fea­tur­ing in ‘Mys­ti­cal Path with Po­etry’, as he ex­plained: ‘One of the poems I like best in the book came from one day when I was walk­ing in a park in Malahide. I was look­ing for a few short poems for the book, and I asked the Lord for in­spi­ra­tion. By the time I got up to the cas­tle, I had all of these thoughts com­ing into my head, and started writ­ing them down, then I went home and put it all to­gether and an hour and a half later, the poem was fin­ished. Malahide is al­ways an in­spi­ra­tion; one of my favourite poems would be one called ‘A Walk in Malahide’, which I’m very fond of.’

A Mys­ti­cal Path With Po­etry was launched re­cently in the Malahide Parish Cen­tre, which Peter says got a very good re­cep­tion. He makes spe­cial men­tion of Dar­ragh O’brien TD, whom he says seemed to have taken time to read the poems be­fore giv­ing his in­tro­duc­tion.

Given Peter’s ex­pe­ri­ences, both in life and in writ­ing, what ad­vice would he give to young aspir­ing writ­ers?

He said: ‘When I first started writ­ing po­etry I didn’t go to a class and learn how to write, I just started writ­ing, I used to know if a poem read well, or the next morn­ing I might say, ‘oh that was rub­bish’, and throw it in the bin, but if you’re a writer, you know if some­thing sounds good.

‘Writ­ing doesn’t come from the brain; if you start in­tel­lec­tu­al­is­ing it, you end up with just rhymes.

‘Some­times you get a gut feel­ing and sud­denly the whole thing comes to­gether,’

Peter Owens sign­ing the book of po­etry he has pub­lished at the age of 83.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.