Previous Poems 4

Previous Poems 4

  

 

 

                                                        SEPTEMBER 

                              September is a really stupid time; 

                              It clearly isn't summer as before - 

                              A week may change from stormy to sublime, 

                              Then equinoctial gales return once more. 

                              The early crops have gone to jam and bottle - 

                              The later harvest has not ripened yet; 

                              A single gale, and all the fruit you've got 'll 

                              Be windfalls - not the crop you'd hoped to get. 

                              The wasps are dozy, dangerous and spiteful, 

                              Malevolent Hell's Angels high on dope; 

                              Like muggers, they consider it delightful,

                               To sting you more than once, if given scope.

                                         But, none the less, there's one consoling rule; 

                                        If you have children, they go back to school.

 

                                                          PAINSWICK.

                              Painswick is an ancient small town in which legends abound, many of them centered on the Church. 

                              Here, ninety nine clipped yew-trees may be found -                          

                              The Devil always kills the hundredth one - 

                              But when the Congregation has begun

                              (Ycleping - compassing - the sacred ground) 

                              To sing the Clipping Hymn, encircled round 

                              St Mary's Church, the Devil well may run; 

                              Then pocket money and a Painswick Bun 

                              Reward the children as the Church bells sound.

                                        Tradition thus survives another year - 

                                        Thus continuity is handed down, 

                                        Familiar as the iron stocks in the yard; 

                                        Unchanging values never disappear 

                                        Whilst, nodding high approval of the town, 

                                        The omnipresent Beacon stands on guard.

 

OCTOBER

                     None can deny the shortened, chilly days

                    Or overlook the colour of the trees, 

                    As tender plants are placed on indoor trays 

                    Protected from the icy-fingered breeze. 

                    The swallows gather in a shrill convention, 

                    And swiftly pass a motion, it is clear, 

                    Declaring the majority intention 

                    To head South, and - perhaps - return next year. 

                    The animals and men, perforce remaining, 

                    Begin to button up against the cold, 

                    And fill and check the granaries containing

                    The necessary stores, worth more than gold. 

                              A final Indian Summer may enhance 

                              The feeling that this month is One Last Chance.

 

  STOW ON THE WOLD  

                    Stow is another ancient Cotswold town known for its cold, elevated position, for the fact that it acts as the crossroads of the Cotswolds, and for its famous Horse Fair.

 

                    The many Cotswold roads all meet at Stow, 

                    The highest of the upland limestone towns 

                    Exposed to all the chilling winds that blow 

                    And turn the Summer greens to Autumn browns. 

                    And yet, before the Winter, Stow is where 

                    The ancient annual ritual runs its course, 

                    And country folk and gypsies hold a fair 

                    To sate their joint obsession with the Horse. 

                    What is it that they seek? A bargain? Fame? 

                    A rich reward for much inferior stock? 

                    A century hence, and all will be the same 

                    As years ago, and now. Let others mock - 

                              The Fair tests judgement, honesty and trust, 

                              And lets a true man act as true men must.

   NOVEMBER

                               November is a nothing month, and so 

                              No censure is too harsh, no praise too faint. 

                              All Saint's Day? In November? True - although 

                              To choose this month, you'd need to be a Saint. 

                              No fun - it's such a dark and dreary time, 

                              No wonder all the population talks 

                              Of raising spirits. Party? Pantomime? 

                              Not time yet - have to settle for Guy Fawkes. 

                              No sun - the weather fails to inspire 

                              An appetite for healthy country strolls, 

                              And no doubt buttered crumpets by the fire 

                              Do nothing to reduce those waist-line rolls. 

                                        A nursery of negatives and woe - 

                                       This wretched month starts typically with 'No'.

 

 

CIRENCESTER 

                    Cirencester was formerly the Roman town of Corinium, one of the most important towns in Roman Britain. It still holds a key position at the crossing of the Fosse and Ermin Ways; and considers itself of sufficient importance to claim the title " Queen of the Cotswolds". 

                    For those who doubt our ancient pedigree 

                    Or challenge our authentic air of fame, 

                    A mere consideration of our name 

                    Reveals our lineage for all to see. 

                    Mosaics, villas, Roman roads, which we 

                    Have set in our Museum all proclaim 

                    Our honoured past; to sceptics, just the same, 

                    We proffer proofs of our veracity; 

                              Where else can show an Abbey in its ground, 

                              Or flaunt the tallest tower in the Shire? 

                              Where else has high-hedged Bathurst left his mark, 

                              Whose Christmas Trees are annually found 

                              Adorning each Corinium yuletide fire? 

                              Where else can boast a nearby Water Park?

              

No explanation needed!

                                     Happy Christmas!

 

DECEMBER

                   A month for reflection, and Infant Nativity plays. 

                       

                        This is the time when infant Wise Men stand 

                        And gaze in awe as Infant Mary lisps                       

                        Her ageless lines; and infant Angel Band 

                        Perform like angels, fortified with crisps. 

                        This is the time when thoughtful folk collect 

                         The necessary trees and mistletoe, 

                        And carol-singers normally expect 

                        A welcome - double welcome, if there’s snow. 

                        This is the time when party plans are laid, 

                        And secret gifts are hidden in a drawer; 

                        When Christmas cakes and marzipan are made, 

                        And wrapping paper litters up the floor. 

                         For this brief spell our baser passions cease, 

                         Allowing us to glimpse what could be peace.

                                   

                                                        MARSHFIELD 

 

     The oddly named Marshfield occupies a point high above the Vale of Avon where three Counties meet, and was reputedly used by the Highwayman Dick Turpin as a base for his attacks on the coaches travelling to Bath and Bristol. It is a Boxing Day tradition to re-enact the story of St George and the Dragon.

  

                              Where, high above the sweep of Avon Vale, 

                              Both Gloucestershire and Somerset connect 

                              With Wiltshire; and where County squabbles pale 

                              Into proportions that you would expect, 

                              There, Marshfield ( what an inappropriate name!) 

                              Well occupies a high prestigious site, 

                              And does not need the artificial fame 

                              Of old Dick Turpin, and his famous flight; 

                              For each December, full of Christmas cheer, 

                              The scene is set for rivalries to cease; 

                              So hostile attitudes just disappear 

                              As thoughts are fixed on Charity and Peace - 

                                        Except, on Boxing Day, folk raise a flagon 

                                        As our Saint George beats hell out of their Dragon.

                       

                                          JANUARY        

 

                               My memories of New Year revels fade, 

                              Ephemeral and capricious as the wind - 

                              The refuse of the Old Year, quickly binned. 

                              My thoughts are sober. Promises are made - 

                              Amendments to my Life (that fickle jade) 

                              With which salvation can be underpinned; 

                              For surely I was never one who sinned 

                              So deeply that a penance can't be paid? 

                                        Thus, sitting in the winter firelight's glow 

                                        Whilst icy flurries lash the shuttered pane, 

                                        My resolutions lucidly appear - 

                                        Exactly as they did twelve months ago; 

                                        My heartfelt changes, promised once again, 

                                       Will vanish, I'm afraid. Just like last year.

 

       BROADWAY

 

                              Broadway is a quintessential Cotswold Village, much beloved of tourists in season. It is overlooked by Broadway Tower, which is a three-sided eighteenth century folly. It seems appropriate to stear the year with a conundrum.

 

 

                              Below the scarp, a mellow Broadway lies 

                              Once loved by William Morris - then, I fear, 

                              A fixture on the tourist gazetteer. 

                              Now, innocent of summer novelties, 

                              Exuding power greater than their size, 

                              The well-loved buildings instantly appear 

                              Appropriate as a springboard for the year, 

                              A philosophic model for the wise. 

                                        For up on high there stands a tower, which 

                                        Presents three faces to our puzzled gaze. 

                                        Why three? What can they mean? I hear you say: 

                                        One face surveys the past, serene and rich; 

                                        The second seeks the future through the haze; 

                                        The last observes the follies of today.

 

                                     

                        FEBRUARY

 

                              In February, frail Nature starts to show                             

                              A growing will to quicken dormant life; 

                              Some hardy blossoms even bloom in snow, 

                              And plants are strengthened by the pruner's knife. 

                              The chill night echoes to a howling fox 

                              Whose noisy courtship hints of cubs to come; 

                              A blue tit may inspect a nesting box; 

                              A wobbly lamb bleats gamely to its mum. 

                              Then, later in the month, the climbing sun 

                              Enjoys a new-found vigour in its rays, 

                              While we, now sensing Nature re-begun, 

                              Can almost visualise long summer days. 

                                        But Nature, just like us, can get cold feet 

                                        If faced with frost, and ice, and hail - and sleet.

                      

  SNOWSHILL

 

                              Snowshill is an isolated manor-house filled to the brim with assorted objects collected by Charles Paget Wade. 

 

                              Snowshill, where winter snows are last to thaw, 

                              Is isolated, off the beaten track; 

                              The very ambience suggests a lack 

                              Of human progress, or an open door. 

                              Charles Paget Wade, eccentric to the core, 

                              Filled up the house with tons of bric-a-brac - 

                              A boat, some armour, or a printed sack - 

                              He bought and valued anything he saw. 

                                        Was he eccentric? Could it be that we, 

                                        While living in the mainstream of our days 

                                        And often discontented with our lot, 

                                        When viewing Snowshill, possibly may see 

                                        That by just slightly lowering our gaze 

                                        We'd value much more highly what we've got?

                                                    

                                                       MARCH 

                              What if the yellow slashes that enhance 

                              The yet untended border down the side - 

                              The daffodils, coy debs at their first dance - 

                              Can't bring themselves to flaunt their charms, or hide? 

                              What if the polyanthus, once so small 

                              You wondered if they'd lived the winter through, 

                              Grow colourful and elegant and tall, 

                              Filling bare spaces, like they always do? 

                              What if the swelling buds of sundry trees 

                              Suggest that early leaves are on the way? 

                              A single frost can do away with these - 

                              You know damn well they won't be out till May. 

                                        Ignore such fickle signs, save only one; 

                                        The clocks go on - long evenings have begun.

                            APRIL 

                              The longer hours of day and warmer sun  

                              Combine with Nature to invoke a scene  

                              Of childrens' games upon the village green, 

                              Of Easter Eggs, the smell of Hot Cross Bun,  

                              Which show the yearly cycle has begun -  

                              The annual resurrection which can mean  

                              An active time for every creed between 

                              That of the avid gardener, and the nun.  

                                        But also at this time of surging hope  

                                        Life's drama finds a more romantic plot;  

                                        The nation's youth with Cupid now engage  

                                        (Provided only they can find the scope)  

                                        And in the Spring, the young lads turn to what  

                                        The lasses have been planning for an age.                

      GLOUCESTER                          

     Gloucester is one of the most ancient of historic cities; and though not strictly in the Cotswolds, it deeply influences the area.  

                              Stern William, celebrating Christmastide 

                              At Gloucester, in the royal Norman style, 

                              Decreed that agents scour the countryside 

                              For Domesday data, every inch and mile; 

                              Enhanced the Abbey - stone and deep-stained glass, 

                              Misericords, hard lessons carved in wood, 

                              Seen Perpendicular to those who pass - 

                              Which now stands upright as St.Peter's should.  

                              This  human city also finds a place 

                              For later interests, smaller than the Dock - 

                              The Tailors's Shop; the Cross; there's even space 

                              For Father Time to tend the Baker Clock. 

                                        Tradition also sees the Mummers Play 

                                        And Morris Men, who mark St George's Day.

  

 

 

 

 

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Latest comments

04.07 | 14:06

Hey, my next door neighbour's a poet..
...and I didn't know it!

Well done Tony, I shall peruse with interest.

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03.03 | 19:03

Its a bit warmer here so most things are up including weeds - the sea defences are damaged - 10.2 metre tide today, 50 knot gusts - and it goes on raining--

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03.03 | 14:38

What if, indeed, Tony! The title is succinct.

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21.01 | 00:30

Happy New Year Tony!
I just sent 'Trouble in the Channel' to Dan, he is about old enough now to enjoy it.
Cheers Jo

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