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Stocking filler: When the Change Came by Steve Walter

Steve Walter is both author and poet having written two books, his first independently published collection, When the Change Came is just out from Indigo Dreams, to be launched on Thursday 15th December.

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As well as a writer, he has personal experience of bipolar disorder, and each of his books has a mental health foundation. He’s keen to help dispel the stigma associated with mental health and has presented his personal experience at many seminars, conferences and workshops.

He’s also performed his story (Fast Train Approaching… a powerful, yet good humoured account of life during and after breakdown and recovery) with a singer songwriter at the Brighton and Edinburgh Festival Fringes(he’s delighted to have had a 4* review from the Edinburgh Evening News in 2009).

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Photo by Ellen Montelius

After the Edinburgh Fringe, he wrote Voices, mental health survivors, carers, therapist, family and friends, in conversation with his former psychotherapist, Jenny Bloomer. The book is an exploration of other people’s experiences of mental ill health, interspersed with fiction and his story of performing at the Fringe.

He has written poetry since childhood, but his first degree was in Biochemistry and Chemistry. For his day job, he used to be a Principal Environmental Health Officer. He currently works as a Global HSE Manager for a manufacturing company. He is also an Associate with Business Disability International (bdi).

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Dancing on Jermyn Street

Only a few years after the war, after
the coronation, ghosts lining the streets
waving flags; West End Central.
He was stationed there – you in art school.

On the corner you recognized
each other, merely a pigeon’s brief
flap and glide from where you stood to Eros,
the fountain; your broad Piccadilly smiles.

Him in uniform, a Swanley lad,
it was then that the moment was sealed,
you’d both be caught in monochrome
leaning out of the train window, beaming

on your journey, after the vows,
with our future in your loving.
And he would write you poems
even until death. Remembering

that moment, when he caught your arm
as you strode out, the length of the path
making to leave, and he brought
you back inside, out of the sun.

One evening you kissed us good night
in the emerald, silk dress you’d made for dancing.
Always you would dance with colour
on your palette; pigment quickens through water.

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Skomer

And the guttering red rock
sliced like decks of cards
slanted into the sea.

And she is there in the mist
in the sea breeze she
is in the gathering dark
she rides the mounting forces
which rise beneath the blackening waves
and she is in the quilted sky

she is there in the billowing
sheeted veils of the afternoon
and in the rakish cry of the gulls
screaming over the graves of shearwater
skeletons, she is at the exits of hollowed burrows
among bits of dead bird, dead rabbit, scattered
beside the remains of Iron Age homesteads
and she is marking the way
in Celtic stone, against the unforgiving grey.

 

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2 thoughts on “Stocking filler: When the Change Came by Steve Walter”

  1. Thanks for this posting – very interesting to read about Steve’s work to promote more understanding of mental health issues. And two great poems – Dancing on Jermyn Street is so evocative and very poignant. And having been to Skomer I can visualise this poem and those volcanic rocks – gorgeous. I have been trying to cut my book purchases down due to lack of space – but this looks like a must have.

  2. Enjoyed both poems very much. Love that “merely a pigeon’s brief/ flap and glide” Also enjoyed learning about Steve’s other writings, and his work supporting mental health awareness. Thanks.

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