Old Stop Peter Firth (OS 1947) has recently had a book of his poetry published by Country Books.
Though it’s not included in this volume, Peter has written the following poem about Albert Johnson, former Stockport Grammar History teacher.
The History Man
Mister J. taught history,
introduced us to the Tudors
like old friends he wanted us to meet.
His enthusiasm steamed like boiling water.
Facts were plugged into our brains,
extensions of electric circuits.
A giant five foot eight, he shared Elizabeth’s dilemmas
as if we could solve her problems.
He taught with one hand tucked into his belt,
behind his back, walking not scratching.
Brains are unruly servants, leaking daily.
Cells throw up the dead with the living
as today’s insuperables become tomorrow’s footnotes.
Mr.J. incited dreams.
Mary carried her head into our bedrooms
passing through walls of reason.
Mister J. was a zestful man, our photic inspiration.
He evoked burning eyes and whirring brains,
we were his trophies.
He trawled us for scholarships.
Some were attracted, and returned
with gratitude to find
a smaller man.
We had moved on to Victoria
and Hitler. Tiny boys now played for their county
and time marked the honours board
Mr. J. was genial and irrelevant now
but his shadow still fell
on the back row or the corridor memory
and his echo still marched with us
into Byzantium and Rome in a blast of trumpets
and a mist of memory.
He will never die till we do.
Peter went to Emmanuel College, Cambridge after leaving Stockport Grammer where he read History and French.
He was later ordained in the Anglican Church as a curate before becoming a parish priest in Gorton. He then worked for the B.B.C.for 18 years as a producer of religious programmes for television and radio. Subsequently, he was consecrated Bishop of Malmesbury in 1983. Peter has written two other books – Lord of the Morning and The Love that Moves the Sun.
If anybody is interested in purchasing one of Peter’s books, he asks that they get in touch with him either by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or in writing at:
Silk Mill Lane
Peter is happy to cover any postage costs for his book.