Written since the death of his wife in 2014, No Shore Too Far is a collection of heartfelt poems and meditations on the themes of death, bereavement and hope. Taking in a broad view of the interconnectedness of all creation and drawing on the author’s faith in the eternal essence in each one of us, the poems touch upon the whole mystery of consciousness, evolution and human experience.
‘The poems are beautiful, poignant and inspiring’—Stephen Gawtry, Managing Editor, Watkins Mind Body Spirit.
‘While I’m not in the least a competent critic or connoisseur of poetry, I very much appreciate the simple clarity and warm transparency of their style, the sincerity of their vision.’—Richard Tarnas, author of The Passion of the Western Mind and Cosmos and Psyche.
‘It sounds odd to say of such a profound book, rather than of a thriller, but I couldn’t put it down. The poems are beautiful – simple, clear, honest, moving.’—Craig Brown, critic and satirist
Jonathan Stedall has made documentary films for over fifty years, mainly at the BBC. There he worked with john Betjeman, Laurens van der Post, Cecil Collins, Malcolm Muggeridge, Alan Bennet, Ron Eyre, Bernard Lovell, Theodore Roszak, E.F. Shumacher, Mark Tully and Ben Okri. He has also directed major biographies on Tolstoy, Gandhi, C.G. Jung and Rudolf Steiner. His film about a Camphill school in Scotland for children with special needs won a British Film Academy Award in 1968, and later work was nominated by BAFTA and the Broadcasting Press Guild. His book Where on Earth is Heaven?, published by Hawthorn Press in 2009, was singled out by John Cleese as ‘The most annoying book I have ever read, as the author seems to have had a more interesting life than I’ve had.’
When white, not orange,
cold, not heat,
reminded us our friend, the sun
was very far away,
you, carer of the four of us,
took down your cauldron from the shelf,
and chopped up fruit,
which boiled and boiled,
and filled the house with steam.
And so our treat for months to come
would slowly fill up jars;
and breakfasts were a daily feast
reminding us at start of day
of Spanish warmth,
and English frost,
and all those hours of toil.
Now all is quiet,
but nothing lost –
I live both now and then.
Your skills I miss,
but what remains
so links me still to winter days
when you brought warmth
to all our lives
in many different ways.
But now there’s only one jar left,
and that I’ll have to keep;
for stored up there
is treasure rare
which helps me not to weep.
‘William Blake and Emily Dickinson … you have the same gift of expressing deep thoughts in seemingly simple language.’—Christopher Ralling, film director
‘I have been gently, quietly reading some of the poems and am so moved. You have a rare gift of being able to express in words exactly what you feel, experience and think. Each poem is a rich source for meditation, and I am so glad you are sharing them with others.’—James Roose-Evans, theatre director, priest, and writer on experimental theatre, ritual and meditation
‘ … a refreshing lack of pretension (true of your films, too, as I remember).’—Stephen Cross, writer and film director
‘I find your limpidity of style wonderful – that you have found a way just to speak openly, directly, wisely and from the heart … a way whereby your profound inner experiences and questionings could find a way ‘out’ – onto paper.’—Richard Ramsbotham, theatre director and writer
‘The ones I have read are just lovely, simple, funny, and say in simple words what I strive to say.’—Hermione Legg
‘Jackie is present in so much of what you write – your grief, her smile, the love of nature you shared. And above all, the feeling that she is there in another dimension. They are such honest poems; they made me laugh and cry.’—Mary Anne Sutherland, family friend