Paul may be known to some of you as the author of a history of St Beuno’s: Canute’s Tower.
I first came to St Beuno's in 1984, to visit Paul. He had recently moved here to begin his ministry of spiritual direction and retreat giving. During my student days he had been a wise guide to me, and we became good friends.
He was a gentle, cultured soul with a deep sense of integrity and commitment. He shared with me the beauty of Welsh poetry and of the vale of Clwyd, and the poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins.
Humble and self-effacing, Paul was lavish in his care and concern for others and was a most faithful friend. For him, as for Cordelia Flyte, “love has no past tense “.
During my visits he would allow himself a rare treat and we would enjoy a glass of brown (always brown) sherry together, as we talked together of poetry and books, friendship and faith. Later, when I came to St Beuno’s to make retreats, I realised the importance of his influence on my life and that of many other people. Paul is buried in the cemetery at St Beuno’s. Rest in peace, dear friend and thank you!
Sonnet in Memoriam: Paul
Your fingers fluttered, insects’ wings,
Lingering scent of Christmas cedar soap.
Your Celtic ring cries “harps!”, and dancing feet.
Each thing caressed as if you held the Host.
You used to pour the sherry slowly,
Holding the glass to glean the light,
Letting the amber, peaty drops
Warm our chat, its sparkle and its depths.
Now tweets, alerts, quick links, ping through my day.
I miss your nervous, wrinkled hands,
A warmer, wiser guide
Pointing me to gentleness, wisdom, love.
Show me how to cup life slowly in its chalice,
Cherish each day in gratitude and grace.