We have been featuring creative writing contributions on our website in recent months. Our poetry lead, Barbara Meredith, has worked with local poets to bring together a collection of reflective poetry produced during the last few months of lockdown. The poems also reflect on responses to the global pandemic as we adjust to a new world of socially distant behaviours and uncharted futures.
In Junes we featured contributions are two poems, “Time” by Trevor Hardy, one of the founding members of Shoreham Wordfest, and “The Sound Swells” by Mary Murphy.
The sound swells
The sound swells as the church bells of St Mary’s ring,
From up a steep and spiral stair, the eight bells rung by many hands
The ringers of the bell ring band use hand stroke to coax the peals to bring the notes to all the folk
Across the air and watery waves, my soul is settled by the singing, my ears tune into bird song mingling with the chimes, that ring in everybody’s ears throughout nine hundred and seventeen years of time
The water laps and pulses in the river, the seagulls keen, the sparrows cheep, the blackbirds peep, the curlews call, the starlings dance and swoop and fall
The leaves rustle on trees whose branches bow and sway, from winds blown and seaside breeze,
Pushing shingle on the beach, shushing on the eternal incoming and outgoing tides where the kite surfer rides
The grass blades whisper, the flower petals rustle as they turn toward the rising sun, then fold again when day is done
All day long while I’m awake then all night long as I lay sleeping, this melody, this rich and blessed aural tapestry weaves its way in and out again
Bringing with it soft refrain, a certainty, a comfort found in that deep sound of bells that ring upon the hour, their lilting pealing from the tower
Seconds to minutes
And hours into days;
The gleam of the Moon
And the Sun's golden rays;
Through weeks, months and years
The clocks tick and chime
As they show, the World over,
The passing of Time!
Dandelions; sun dials;
The clock in the hall;
A wrist-watch; Big Ben;
Clocks great and clocks small.
They all show how Time
Is unwilling to stay -
And how quickly Tomorrow
Turns into Today!
(copyright Trevor Harvey. First published in POEMS ABOUT SEASONS, chosen by Brian Moses, Wayland 2015)
TO CAPTAIN TOM ( AKA SPACE ODDITY DAVID BOWIE )
We’re all watching Captain Tom
We’re all backing Captain Tom
Take it easy and you’ll get there
100 laps is just a start
Captain Tom forever in our hearts
Take it easy not so far to go
We’re with you every step Captain Tom
You’re really made the news
And now we want to know how much to give
And thanks to you many more will live
Please keep on walking
Walking every day
Our grateful thanks we send
You got there in the end
Margaret Roberts “This is a tribute to Captain Tom - I have adapted David Bowie's Space Oddity ( Ground control to Major Tom etc) Ideally recorded by a local musician for ITunes and sold for local hospitals.”
Tales for Troubled Times (1) - Flattery
Flattery gets you nowhere, they say
But I would put it another way
If you're willing to pander to princes and kings
You can wheedle your way in
Here's how to begin.
Follow the plot of a fairy-tale story
Many tell truths that are older than History,
And hold human truths about human behaviour,
Even when animals act as the saviour.
We'll take "Puss in Boots"- Remember that one?
The dead miller's will to his waiting three sons.
Who got the cat? I think you'll remember…
Yes, the youngest of course and he was offended.
What use is a cat? Not much from the loot!
He lifted his foot to show cat the boot.
But the cat sleekly purred,
Just give me a while -
I'll see you ‘n me are upwardly mobile.
Now get me some boots; black leather is best
And a matching tote bag, then I’ll do the rest.
A man of your wisdom and looks, Cat averred
Will surely rise high. I give you my word.
The rest of the story you know...it came true.
The "Marquis of Carabas" believed in Cat's flattery
And rose to the role I described to you latterly...
He got to the TOP; in the end became Prince
And the title itself was enough to convince
The poor in the fields; the rich man at his door
That the lad should be King; how Cat he did purr.
Cat was made Vizir and Holder of Purse;
Strategy Planner, behind scenes, of course!
A true puppet master, you've seen them before,
Quite often, look quickly: they use the back door.
King published a handbook on "Upward Mobility"
The chattering classes knew who wrote it really…
At dinner parties in Islington North,
They bemoaned lost freedoms while necking old port;
"The ballot is secret," "Just as well" several thought.
But before we nod sagely, consider this, too.
They got to the Top,
Did I? or did you?
Morag Charlwood, April 2020
Tales for Troubled Times (2) - Humorous Dispositions
Said the Optimist to the Pessimist
I perceive in you some gloom
Said the Pessimist to the Optimist
We're on our way to Doom.
Depends on how you see these things,
The Optimist then quoth.
Well! I see
You have the full glass
And I have less than half.
Depends on disposition, that;
Now yours is melancholic
Whilst I'm disposed to sanguine thoughts
And see life as a frolic.
Live for the day,
That's what I say...NO!
Think unto tomorrow
And what we've wreaked, us Humankind,
To bring our planet’s sorrow.
Come. Tempus Fugit, Life's too short,
Let's quaff another pint, Old Sport.
The moral of this tale is
Who's wrong? Who's right?
Please let me know.
Morag Charlwood April 2020