Peter Daniels is a British poet, born in 1954 in Cambridge. He grew up in Birmingham, and has lived in London since 1982, working for many years at the Religious Society of Friends as a librarian and then as publications manager. His poetry collections are Counting Eggs (Mulfran Press, 2012), and A Season in Eden (Gatehouse Press, 2016).
He has won poetry competitions including the Arvon, Ledbury and TLS, and published pamphlets with Smith/Doorstop and HappenStance. His translations of Vladislav Khodasevich from Russian (Angel Classics, 2013) were shortlisted for the Rossica, Oxford-Weidenfeld and Read Russia awards. He has twice held a Hawthornden Fellowship.
Peter studied at Reading University, Birkbeck University of London, and Sheffield Hallam University, and is now embarking on a Creative Writing PhD at Goldsmiths University of London, focusing on truth and beauty in his own poems and in a critical thesis on how other poets handle such subject matter, including Mark Doty.
All You Need
All you need is a pad, a stubby pencil
and the end of a road at a sea cliff.
You rest your mind there,
leaning your shadow on the sea.
Stroll up to the hut you share with spiders,
brew your cup of tea from a billy-can
and sip it in the shelter of a drystone wall.
You can attend to each arising moment,
an edge where you stand that gives
back-country behind you, and rough ocean
to launch across, when you finish with land.
All I need is people passing by, and bricks
gathering spaces between them
in a city I used to keep away from.
Once I’d wonder: how could they survive
in air so important, shared with the royal
and famous, brushing Parliament and Piccadilly.
Now I’m in Zone 2, the neck of the whirlpool:
the Queen could reach me on the 73.
Tracing the streets needs a sharpened pencil.
I’ll follow up what rages through my hinterland,
and fetch you a moment on the City Road.