Patrick’s father Simon was an unpublished poet, and although it is many years since his death in 1976, Patrick retrospectively considers his father to have been a big influence on him. The picture below shows him with his father Simon en-route to a camping holiday in Wales (ca. 1970)
Simon and Patrick en-route to Wales (PC)
He was also a keen birdwatcher and author of the "Year of the Wallcreeper", which describes a year in the Isle of Purbeck:
Simon's book, published by the family
On a windy day of summer,
when sea breezes bronze the face,
pours over stone-walled field and hillside
shadows on cross-country race,
And snatch the hems of flowered frocks of
smiling ladies at the stalls,
who sell home-made cakes, give prizes
for bulls’ eyes scored and well-tossed balls,
Athwart the Norman church we launch
our irresponsible balloons,
each loaded with some Purbeck graces –
goodwill gifts in coloured moons.
They bear compassion east to Russia,
good neighbour’s love to France
and warmth of heart goes north to Norway;
Denmark gets our consonance.
To Belgium, faith that we remember:
Holland, courage shared; and yet
remembering, to Germany,
determination to forget.
And south to Spain and Portugal,
and Italy, go sailing forth,
with change of wind, serenity
from the placid South of our North.
To Sweden and to Switzerland
we send our special brand of fun,
and Finland vies with Poland for
our generosity, home-spun.
Purbeck women, Purbeck men,
together at their village fete,
consign to winds their worth-while-ways
for Europe to appropriate.
The above poem refers to a fete held in the village of Worth Matravers,
on the Purbeck Heritage Coast, in Dorset in the 1950s.
Worth Fête still brings the community together every year - an account of the 2019 fete can be found here.
Come, sit with me beneath this holm-oak tree
And let me teach you Man’s geology.
The souls of Man consists of molten core
Amorphous, liquid, chemical before
His birth: Pre-Cambrian, unstable lie
The algae of his personality.
In early infancy the young soul’s state
Is pliable, unwise, invertebrate,
Until some disciplines of childhood bring
Cambrian rock of faith, the will to cling
To agglomerates of habit and convention –
Bare peaks of evil shunned and good intention.
In youth explode igneous cliffs of Gneiss
Pour out hot lava streams of Virtue, Vice,
When molten torrents sweep before them all
Obstructions in their path: sand-castles fall,
Until Man sets a new Jurassic course
Into Miocene manhood: from this source
He builds a rounded landscape, more subdued
In colour, but in contour yet more shrewd
And when the soul achieves Pliocene Age,
He stands a weathered statue on life’s stage –
Immutable in colour, fixed in form,
Unalterable by Nuclear storm.