Wantage poetry club

Origional cover


Dancing FoolsWINDSFORCES OF NATURE?ECHOFib written for dear phobic friend

FibThey're OffFarewellViewpointValentineToo LateDELUGEWhat Are You Fighting For SonEducating VandalsA Fool For A ClientA Sonnet Too FarCivil ServicesDid You Have To Go My FriendEmerald AnniversaryFour Seasons and RainbowHaynes Of ChallowFinal FreedomMixed EmotionsI Think......ImagesAwakeningA Rich TapestryMy England The CroneNightmares From ChildhoodO PositiveAdark TalePaper BoatsMusic Of SpringSuicide Of ManThe Changing Prayers Of JohnnyThe LossEncapsulatedSenior MomentsTo A Modern ArtistSummerThey Can MeetMoods And ColoursNot Quite A PalinodeEnchantmentThe Front ParlourAdorationPEP TALK DELIVERED TO MY MIRROR



Dance beneath a piece of timber,

Just to prove that you are limber.

Whirling Dervishes round and round

Provoking violence so it’s found.

There is a challenge in their stance

When on a broad brimmed hat they prance.

Tradition moving to and fro

With bells and hankies forth they go

With arms held high and nimble feet

O’er sharp crossed swords danger defeat.

Flamenco, clogs and hoedown square,

Ballet, ballroom so much that’s fair.

The world has many different tools

For use by joyous dancing fools.


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In spring as lovers walk,

Soft breezes caressing,

So lightly kissing them,

Gives their union blessing.

Summer on the water,

In dingy sits the boy,

And though the wind is light,

It fills his sail with joy.

Blustery Autumn wind,

Arrives as if in play,

It causes clothes to flap

And hats to fly away.

Beware the Winter gale

On dark and rueful day,

Wending destructive path

No blessing, joy or play.


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Me, you, them, all alike,

Yet each one different.

Like pebbles on the shore,

No two an exact match,

Shaped by the restless sea,


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(Two Haiku)

Rain, glooming black cloud

Sun breaks through and gentler fall

Rainbow’s arc brings hope.

Sad, glooming black mood

Gently you reach and touch me

Compassion brings hope.


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Great trepidation

Accomplished such freedom such joy.


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-_--_THEY’RE OFF_--__---

The Annual Village Challenge Cup.

The flag is down the tape is up,

At start of this prestigious race,

It’s number two who sets the pace.

Oh all is lost for number nine

He’s wondered off way out of line.

Now three has stopped and number one

Has gone back where the race begun.

Some cheat has dropped a lettuce leaf,

Such action is beyond belief!

Now four and five stop for a snack,

They can’t be lured back up the track.

Where’s seven, he can not be found.

And six is going round and round.

Who made that dastardly attack

And tipped the leader on his back?

The tortoise race is o’er and done,

And number eight has quietly won.


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Just seek in your memories,

And rout out all the bad

Then united we stand

Dispelling all that’s sad.

Yet in unison we speak

No, not another run,

Of that awful TV show!

I make a silly pun.

We’ll talk about the garden.

The things that we hold dear.

Quietly when you listen

You’ll know that I’m still here.

Though I’m physically gone

I know we will fare well.

That we will act together

To build new tales to tell.


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An elephant looks huge to me,

So too the red mite sees the bee.

While there they pray for blessed rain,

Rain here gives fear of floods again.

The warthog has an ugly face,

But still perpetuates his race.

The gardener will kill the weeds,

The botanist will save the seeds.

“This painting’s poor!” - “ I think it’s grand.

It all depends on where you stand.”

I’ll try to hear your point of view,

And would expect the same from you.


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He was the handsomest of men,

So strong and brave, gentle and kind.

I knew our paths would seldom cross

So I left notes for him to find.

Verses from romantic poets,

Carefully wrought with hearts entwined.

It was so hard for me to stand

When my advances he declined.

For I was barely in my teens

With thoughts of love to fill my mind.


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Time, time and life passing me by,

Essence of life slipping away.

Great things are done but where an I?

Trapped in the now, this hour, this day.

How can one view or shape tomorrow,

When bound by duty and harsh life,

To small worry, petty sorrow,

To mere existence, daily strife?

Where can they be, those dreamed of deeds,

What has happened to that great word?

Strangled in youth, unplanted seed,

Lost in time, not uttered, not heard.

From youth to age life rushes on,

Time runs away but seen to late,

The chance to act is almost gone,

The will to change this useless state.

Even as thoughts break the surface

From sticky bog of daily grind,

Time breast the tape and wins the race,

Too late the freedom of the mind.


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Haiku / Fib / Haiku

In the atmosphere

The water vapour gathers

The heavens open





Carried by the flood

A symbol of devastation

Man, beyond sorrow

Is searching the thick red mud

Earth is rejecting

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What are you fighting for son?

For thirty shillings a day.

And you, why do you fight son?

My father went this way.

And what is your just cause son?

We are right, they are wrong,

In childhood we are taught this,

And hear the battle song.

Have you met the enemy,

Talked with him face to face?

I can see him through my sights,

Of differing creed and race.

Is he not a man like you,

His children what harm they?

Look I am a fighting man,

Can’t help what’s in my way.

Death and destruction, what ever the scale,

Greed, false pride and hate were ever the tale.

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Look at your guilt you learned pedagogues.

For all the world like some possessive wife

Moving your academic furniture.

Talking of careers when dealing with life.

See the hurt of love that can not be expressed;

The pain of inarticulate caring;

Souls locked in; unable to touch with words;

Growing malignant with lack of sharing.

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Me, pay an agent half my wealth?

No way! I’ll represent myself.

No more to linger on some shelf.

Presented for admiration.

Elicited fascination.

Why am I ‘still’ at life’s station?

I do not have locomotion.

No results from my promotion.

What to do, I have no notion.

My plans all seem to have a flaw.

There is a quote well known in law.

I’d best pay heed to that old saw.

A man who represents himself at law has a fool for a client.

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I’m sorry but I can not write,

I feel unequal to the task.

You see I had an awful fright,

No, no I beg you do not ask.

Assaulted by a waking dream,

When all I wrote just left the page,

And uttered forth a banshee scream,

And danced around me full of rage.

Those inky daemons would not rest,

Accusing me of wasting time.

Would not allow I’d done my best,

To order rhythm and the rhyme.

Oh how could such a vision be?

Was it the cheese I had for tea?

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Bewildered folk,

With anxiety, despair,

Seek departments

Said to take them in their care.

Worried mother

With fretful child, endless wait.

Machines can’t see

Angry husband, dinner late.

A heartsick man

Wants to lay his wife to rest,

Must fill a form

Gibberish to him at best.

Aged woman

Seeks advice. What knows she

Of civic plans,

Streamlining efficiency?

Rigid postures

And brisk unsmiling faces

With eyes to watch

That persons keep their places.

Straight jacket minds

By rule and system encased

Can’t fill the need

Of a smile and a word well placed.

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(for Jan who died 08.05.09)

Squirrel like I’d store away

Each information nugget,

In a recess of my mind.

Waiting there for your visit.

Unlike the Squirrel, we’d share.

You also had your kernels.

Your elderly folks phone link,

Some admired and some were not.

Birds, garden plants, news items,

Crossword clues, family news.

So many thoughts to exchange.

I catch myself storing yet.

My room no longer littered

With reference books, in which

We chased the obscure notion

One of us so often raised.

My store is far from empty,

And the books are waiting there.

How can it be so sudden?

Did you have to go my friend?

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Not the green of a cold hard stone

Freshness of bud uncurling.

Defence of the bright holly leaf.

Serenity of lily pad.

Staunch shelter of oak canopy.

Resilience of reed in wind.

The green of a cherished garden.

The emerald wedding anniversary

Is the fifty fifth.

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(four seasons plus beauteous natural event)

Green breath on the land,

Tender promise of the Spring,

I rejoice in youth.

Burgeoning blossoms,

Summer scents on lazy air

I lie on the grass.

Autumn leaves in flight,

Colourful clothes in a whirl,

I watch the child play.

Winter’s white blanket,

Sharp air and reflected light

I rest with the earth.

A double rainbow,

Sun on rain make arcs of hope,

Natures true colours.

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Certainly no elephants,

And possibly no pins,

Every object in between,

On ground, in sheds or bins.

There are stripy canvas chairs,

For lounging in the sun.

Some bedding plants and timber

I’ve only just begun.

You’re looking for a window

In frosted glass or clear?

You have a need of car parts?

Well you should find them here.

Kitchen ware and bric-a-brac,

Or gravel for your path,

A sundial for your garden,

And there’s an old tin bath.

Tools and paint for D.I.Y,

Old furniture and new.

Now don’t forget the children,

There’s something for them too.

There’s history in one shed

If you would care to look

In trash that may be treasure

To find a ration book.

Who’s in that austere painting,

Is he a local man,

A personage from past days,

When Wantage first began?

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I remember once the feel of wind on my face,

The spring of step and heart in the run of a race,

The joy of a healthy body.

Memory hide now sun and wind unfelt by skin,

Sluggish pace of heart and step, set by pain within,

Despair of failing health.

I remember once the quick pair of hand and eye,

Thought and deed as one letting nothing pass them by,

The joy of a healthy body.

Memory hide now, slow eyes’ sight of things long passed,

Slow co-ordination that grasps the thing at last,

Despair of failing health.

I remember once firm muscles in a leap,

Energy controlled some to give an some to keep,

The joy of a healthy body.

Memory hide now the weak flesh’s weary lay,

No energy to keep and none to give away,

Despair of failing health.

I remember once cool sheets at end of day

Body laid at ease, mind unfettered by its sway,

The joy of a healthy body.

Memory hide now bed tells each and all the pains,

Each twist or turn of body binding mind in chains,

Despair of failing health

Joyous health despairing pain, each one holding tight,

The spirit by the flesh kept back from a boundless flight,

Death’s final freedom comes at last.


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Scintillating blanket,

Covering the ground,

A soft, white, silence

Falling all around.

Glistening icicles

Hanging from the eves.

Twigs on the bushes

With bright shiny sleeves.

Children shriek with laughter,

Happy in their play,

Sliding down the hill,

On an old tin tray.

Holiday travellers

Can not get away,

They will be stranded,

Yet another day.

The disgruntled driver

Shivers in his van.

“I know I am late,

I’ll come when I can”.

The slippery pavements,

Tripping one and all.

Brittle boned elders,

Worried they will fall.

All the fun and beauty

Turns to slushy ice.

Still we’ll remember,

Our snowman was nice.

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I THINK......

I think I’ll take some country air,

Just stroll along some rural lane.

Though thinking of the last affair,

I think I’d better think again.

The bull that I had thought a cow.

The place where I fell in a ditch.

My hair entangled in a bough.

The insect bite that made me itch.

The mud that came above my boot.

The worry when I lost my way,

The painful trip upon a root.

I think that I had better stay.

There are such dangers when I roam.

I think I’d rather stay at home.

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There’s shadow image on the land.

Ebbed sea leaves pictures in the sand.

In leafy trees Green Man espy.

In clouds great Pegasus flies by.

In river reeds and eddies, Nymph.

In shifting flames and embers, Imp.

The eye and mind will see anew,

Fresh objects then come in to view.

What lies behind the human face,

Can we discern the inner grace

In those that differ from the norm?

Let us see their beauteous form.

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The swelling bud the lambkin’s tail.

The ice melt flowing down the vale,

To feed the brooks that they might sing.

The birds give voice, proclaiming Spring.

In fields young foals shall leap and prance.

The grebes perform their mating dance.

A quickening growth in every thing,

Responding to the beat of Spring.

The hibernating creatures wake.

The fish are leaping in the lake,

To catch the insects on the wing.

And all around, the song of Spring.

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Roast beef and Yorkshire puds,

Rolling Downs, ancient woods.

Fish and chips in paper.

Morris Men who caper.

Families at the sea side,

Enjoy a donkey ride.

The Horse Guards on parade.

Spring blue bells in the shade.

Villagers dressing wells.

The sound of Sunday bells.

Manor house and follies.

City gents with brollies.

Traditions I hold dear,

Will come around each year.

My England’s still alive

I know it will survive

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I gather herbs by pale moonlight

Or when they’re moist with morning dew.

Arcane knowledge, inner sight

For each and every healing brew.

I, once respected, seen as wise

Am now approached with utter dread.

My once prized skills they all despise,

Heap down invective on my head.

Am I a thing of evil will,

To serve up malice in a dish?

And do you really think I kill?

Be careful lest you get your wish!

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Dank, dark, debris strewn,


Metal bunk, straw palliasse,


Rodney slept here. Gone, mother too, why?

They went to the cinema on the wrong day.

Rodney joined his father and brother,

They were sick but left the same way.

Palsied old lady upper bunk,


Her springs nearly touch me,


A Buzz Bomb, old lady screams.

The engine has stopped, it is near.

Old lady holds her breath.

I am shaking and cold with her fear.

Bang, hush, funny dog like noise,


It can’t be, Scragg was not allowed,


Deep voice, “Come on Ma, it’s over, just,

Some windows gone, that weren’t our one.”

So quiet, funny noise has stopped, I will

Hear Scragg’s ghost again before the night

is done.

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They may be dark or fair.

They may be young or old.

They may be short or tall.

Where ever they may be,

They are the ones who share.

They give that liquid gold.

They answer to the call.

With life for you or me.

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Upon a soot dark moonless night,

When clouded stars all hid their light,

A traveller who had lost his way

Sought shelter till the light of day.

Stumbling through the stygian black

On unfamiliar forest track.

Thanked providence that he had found

A cot deserted but quite sound.

Though doors and windows were agape

Walls and roof were in good shape.

With bracken mattress in a heap

He settled down and went to sleep.

“Oh what is this that wakes him now,

That starts cold sweat upon his brow?

A presence that he can not see,

That emanates an evil glee.

How come with sticky thread he’s bound,

What seeks to spin him from the ground?”

“Andrew …Andrew…” “Who calls his name?

From whence that light, that eldritch flame?”

A burning cold ads to his plight

And saps his strength, his will to fight

The spirits of the long since dead,

That battle there within his head.

With shambling gait and vacant stare,

So grey of face and white of hair.

No sign of cottage where he stood,

Nothing in sight but peaceful wood.

To ease his mind friends made a search.

They found some records in a church.

The cottage raised once to the ground

Of sisters who had both been found,

Guilty of casting evil spells

And cursing cattle, babes and wells.

They promised as they burned at stake,

That every passing mind they’d take.

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Carefully he pressed each fold,

Making as he had been told,

Ships to carry forth his dream

Seaward, floating down the stream.

Fleet of reconstructed news,

Articles and facts and views.

Creases placing death by sport,

Humour by profoundest thought.

Proudly and with great delight,

Watched until all gone from sight,

He’d made well and thus he knew

That his wishes would come true.

After he had turned around

His proud fleet had gone aground.

Caught by brambles, pecked by birds,

Now just flotsam of old words.

He saw nothing of the snags,

Tearing ships to paper rags.

Knew not of that soggy fact.

All his hopes were still intact.

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Sing me a song of Spring,

A song so clear and bold

To banish winter’s sting

Of gloomy dark and cold.

Drum me a beat of Spring,

A beat that stirs the ground

Gives growth to every thing

Rejoicing in the sound.

Dance me a reel of Spring,

A reel so full of joy

A greater love to bring

To every girl and boy.

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If only mind could speak to mind and heart to heart,

If nations of the world could learn this lovers’ art,

Perhaps an end to war.

Generals, politicians filled with vengeful pride,

Behind hate-filled words, force the hearts of men to hide,

They want no end to war.

If man could head the plea of all war buried young,

Hearts would give the answer, no need a common tongue.

Perhaps an end to war.

While man is filled with envy, ignorance and greed,

Bound by false loyalty, they pay their hearts no heed,

They want no end to war.

If only man would strive to look beneath the skin,

Would let their hearts go out to find the man within,

Perhaps an end to war.

Given sane humility, man can look at man,

See himself a part of one repeated plan,

Kills but himself as war.

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Johnny knelt beside his bed,

Closed his eyes and bowed his head,

Asked the Almighty there above

To stop the cannons with His love.

Johnny stood upon the plain,

Prayed with all his might and main,

Crown and country send me strength,

For you, I’ll go to any length.

Johnny watching from his chair,

Vaguely formed a little prayer,

All you scientists – technicians,

Prove to be the world’s physicians.

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Those I trusted taught me faith, possessing father friend,

I had no hurt that would not heal nor fear that would not calm.

Growing, I discovered myth, magician’s supple palm.

More than Santa Claus is lost when growth our sights amend.

Then I heard the theologians give their faith a tongue.

Paid heed, as historians took the myths supplied them place and time.

I took the words as reason to believe their faith was mine,

Thought my father friend is closer now I am no longer young.

Growing still I saw that history is recorder rather than the deed.

That philosophies are many with no facts to prove them right.

Ones self alone, not father friend must move the beam from sight.

Maturity looks within, discovers strength, replacing childhood creed.

Yet I am cold and lonely as never before

And wish for a way through childhood’s door.

Edited version July 26th 2008.

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Three Haiku


Encased in a globe

Imagine the people there

Shake and watch the snow


Two by two as told

Placed carefully in toy ark

Sail safely through life


A miniature train

In paper-mache landscape

A finite journey

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There are appointments I have missed,

So I have made myself a list.

Some daily notes of this and that,

Put out the milkman pay the cat.

Recorded keys are in the jar,

Marked the one that starts the car.

Made for everything a note,

But why did I get out my coat?

Maybe I can’t find my specs,

As I don’t want to sign these cheques.

Did I record that great new play?

Oh dear it went out yesterday.

Another thing that I have missed,

For I forgot to read my list.

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Dear -, I’ll gie ye more advice

You’ll tak it no uncivil:

You shouldna paint realistically

But try at abstract drivel

To paint a scene is kittle wark,

Should they not comprehend it

Then they folks that hae the money,

Will all the sooner spend it.

A tongue in cheek reply to Robert Burns’

To An Artist. .

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When water flows from off the eves

And Pat the Postman drips his way,

When Builder Bob rolls down his sleeves

As grey skies shorten every day;

When children find they can’t go out,

Then tempers fray they fight and shout

No sun!

Just rain! No sun! A dismal note!

Then mud befouls the camping site.

When in the fields the crops all rot,

And tourists all stay sad at home,

And people cough and sneeze a lot

Bedraggled birds no longer roam;

No candy floss no roundabout

Then tempers fray they fight and shout

No sun!

Just rain! No sun! A dismal note!

Then mud befouls the camping site.

A tongue in cheek answer to Shakespeare’s Winter.

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Only the young and the old

Can truly come together.

Mind of age has cut, the young

Have yet to form a tether.

Each age in between is bound,

Believing their time is right,

That the hour of age is past,

And child’s yet to come in sight.

Quick youth, cautious middle age,

Can seldom communicate,

Thinking that the other holds

To untenable estate.

Age has seen that all things pass,

And will still return each day.

Child knows all is possible,

Hears what age may have to say.

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Was there ever a creature

So beset by moods as I?

Do colours cloud other minds

And cause them to laugh or cry?

In my laughing golden mood,

Deeds are good, mankind is love.

No matter the clouded sky

I am sure the sun’s above.

When in the grip of red rage,

Innocence seems evil ploy.

Small things that should be laughed at,

Arouse a need to destroy.

Harsh voices seem to mock me

In black pit of deep despair.

Life has no now, no future

What in life can make me care?

Where is the peaceful green mood,

Of soft grass, a gentle sea

And quietly shaded woods?

Green mood walk softly with me.

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I Met An Opinionated Bore

Philosophers had thoughts to share,

Researchers facts to show.

Without understanding

He memorised their words,

Then trotted them forth, as his

‘Own irrefutable knowledge.’

I Met A Learned Man

He studied with men of science,

And listened to Philosophers,

Read their books, pondered on their words.

When he reached an understanding,

Then, he proffered his conclusions,

For others contemplation.

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(experienced in Lincolnshire)

I rose one day with a sun.

Why that day I do not know.

I felt that my life was changed,

Lit somehow with inner glow.

Sparrows I’d once seen as drab,

Danced in charming patterned flight,

Amongst new scented flowers, in

Morn’s fresh dewed and pastel light.

Heavy, flat, grey Lincolnshire,

Painted now in varied green,

Haze shimmered, bright glinting fields

Gently rolling, changing scene.

Busy bees tunefully hummed,

Fishes swam in rainbowed pool.

Neath a bowl of brightest blue

Softly flecked with cotton wool.

I stayed still and held my breath,

Fearing my enchanted day

Would like some imagined wraith

Fade so quietly away.

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“Now brush up your shoes

And slick down your hair

Just mind your manners

Right get off down there.”

So all gussied up

We’d walk down our street

Playing the railings

And dragging our feet.

Our street had two halves

You must understand

And our Auntie’s end

Was ever so grand.

Oh, ever so posh

Was our Aunt Mabel.

Runner on side board,

Doilies on table,

Fat plumped up cushions

And massive pot plant,

A long thin old clock

As tall as our Aunt.

Crisp white net curtains

All tied with a bow

In the front parlour -

Where no one could go.

Door slightly ajar

So we’d get a glimpse

Of that special room -

Though not for us shrimps.

To go through the door

Or ask Aunty why.

Ma told us sternly

That we should not pry.

We would all wonder

Why no one went in,

And our other Aunts

Proclaimed it a sin,

To waste such a room.

“Surely the Vicar

Would be allowed in” -

Said with a snicker.

We thought our Ma knew

But she wouldn’t say

Why Auntie’s parlour

Was kept in that way.

And then Aunt’s gas stove

Blew up with a bang.

Yes all round the town,

It echoed and rang.

The ceiling collapsed,

The wall tumbled down,

And there sat our Aunt,

In her dressing gown.

Covered in plaster,

Her hair all awry.

The woe in her face,

Just fair made us cry.

She hugged to herself

A photo or two.

Said time and again,

I kept it for you.

The ambulance men

Then took her away.

She’s never come back

No, not to this day.

Our Ma thought it best

To tell us the tale

The secret till then

She’s kept without fail.

Our Aunt had a beau

Who went off to fight

He said he’d come back

On that far off night.

He’d asked for her hand

Said “Will you be mine?”

There in the parlour

Our Aunt kept so fine.

She thought to preserve

The room just that way,

He’d sure to come back

For ever to stay.

That horrible blast

Had, so it would seem,

Both shattered the room

And Aunt Mabel’s dream.

Ma knew the secret.

There was another,

Who’d stolen the heart,

Of our Auntie’s lover.

A snapshot of a strata of society in the 1930s. Inspired by Music Hall monologs.

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Your glory is harsh crimson flame,

Yet soft as the petals of a rose.

Near as rage unreasoning but triumphant,

Distant as the setting sun over the sea.

Intimate as the pounding blood stream,

Remote as the planet of war.

Before your torrential colour,

I am humbled and bowed

This poem is a picture of Francis acnamara

As Nicolette Devas seemed to see him in her autobiography Two Flamboyant Fathers.

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Your weaknesses and strengths

Are there for you to see,

So search inside yourself

To find what you could be.

Beware the silver tongues

That feed you make believe,

They seek to steal your light

And flatter to deceive.

Nay sayers just ignore,

They try to set you back.

As if to bring you down

Would compensate their lack.

While harking to advice

Of friends both wise and true

Hear one who knows you best

For that my friend is you.


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For several years I have enjoyed meeting with fellow poets and poetry lovers every other Monday at the Bear in Wantage. There we discuss both our own work and that of other poets both well known and obscure. Many of the poems in the category Wantage Poetry Club were first presented at the Club. That category dedicated to friends in the Club contains the poems which I have not as yet published in a collection.


Copyright © 2013 by Pamela Boal. The moral right of the author has been asserted. All right reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval systems, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of the publisher.

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© 2013 Pamela Boal