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Preamble

I have written poems for most of my married life, usually milestones such as the births of my two children. As they grew, a small collection of nursery rhymes came about, and eventually more adult subjects. Since retiring and our move to Weston super Mare more inspirations came.

This blog is to post poems which provoke anger, love and treats.

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A Medieval Master?

God? It’s only in the Mind.

A Human weakness some say

To cry out in want or pain.

Handy for the ‘Powerful’.

‘Not our fault’, you hear them say.

‘You know where you all belong

So down on your knees and pray’.

I have found faith, religious beliefs difficult,

So challenge it.

For the things only we can give’

And still she smiles and eats sand

A seaside special, family treat, for Lottie and Frankie;

With Mummy, Grandma and Grandpa too.

Loading up the car with picnic basket, bucket and spade and hopes and

Dreams of summer fun.

 

From Bristol to Weston directed by robotic ’Bob’ was via the M5,

The quickest.

This was, with all things considered, a bank holiday route,

The slowest.

Abandoning ‘Bob’ and turning the pages of Mr Collins’s

Three miles to an inch;

They plan a leafy lane, slow through village and town until they reach

Weston-Super-Mare.

 

This is new you can park on the beach, picnic and have a good day with only Five pounds to pay.

 

It rained, they sat.

Raincoats, umbrellas’.

Sand in sandwiches;

Summer rolls on

With winter chattering.

 

Coventry family, of old British aplomb, play football, and when it

Brightens, beach volleyball.

Brightens it does and warmer too; Kagul, body warmer, pullover discarded; as the Sun makes summer shirt sleeves fun.

 

As Frankie goes paddling with Grandma, Lottie sits, smiles, and eats sand.

 

Up the beach they saunter, stopping to view the Bouncy Castle, alongside the donkey rides.

There they paid ‘Princess’, with her ‘lady in waiting’, who with ‘mounted joy’ walked up the beach and back again.

 

That ‘joy’ was riding in a fantasy-land, of knights, jousting and castle grounds.

 

Then running freely up the beach, Frankie reached the garish gypsy-coloured, Steam Fair of Mr Carter, his rides transporting you to Mary Poppins’s Cartoon Land.

 

Then having had their fill, both girls sleepy-eyed, Mummy,

Grandma and Grandpa too, made their way by quickest, to

Bishop Road, Bishopton.

 

 

A trip out which started with an hiahatus of going the wrong way by

Following the instructions of the SatNav.   Arriving in the dry

Parking and getting all ready for a picnic lunch.   The heavens

Suddenly opened and we had torrential rain resulting in a quick run

Back to the car to get the umbrellas, coats etc.   The Coventry

Family whose ages ran from months to fifties came better equipped

Having got tents.   The donkeys were walked in pairs even if one did not have a fare.

Mr Carter’s Steam Fair apparently is well known in the South-west.

Small Stacks of Nappies Strategically Placed

We have small stacks of nappies strategically placed with wet wipes ready just in case.
The washing machine is continuously going but I still run out of my clothing.
The children are dirty but are happily mucky, climbing high and looking very plucky. The telephone rings then the front door, looked everywhere for Grandpa then I heard him snore.
Loudly lunched on sandwiches and crisps, they sleep soundly whilst I imagine the house ……… neat.

When  Shona and the girls came for my birthday, July 15th 2012, I saw a small pile of nappies on the landing.  So………….

 

In Love with Pan? Or A Nanny Goat Dreams

Pan you hot hot God. You copper bottomed beauty;
So wild, hot and spicy boy, ripe for the hunting.
Ready in my stone home stall to do my duty.

Pan to pasture playing wild music with his flute
Watching over the shepherd’s and their flocks of goat.
I’m in my stable blowing a goat’s horn toot toot.

Pan in companionship with the semi-divine
Seduced them with music, but they all ran a mile;
But I am licentiously, ready, to oblige.

Pan you are so, so phenomenally grisly
No wonder you live in the wild windy mountains;
Wanton I maybe but you are just too ugly.

A Dried-up Sunday Lunch

Every Sunday Fred would get-up late, wash and shave with his cut throat razor, dress and walk to the Swan, known locally as the ‘mucky duck’. There he would laugh, drink, tell tales and reminisce, drink even more and win at dominoes. He was known to cheat but how I never got to know. He had now retired from a life-time of barbering and in the early days umbrella repairing. The latter stopped after WW2.

He wanted to be a gardener but his father had other ideas and arranged an apprenticeship for him at his barber’s. When he had completed his apprenticeship his father set him up with a shop in town in the early 20thC. He stuck at barbering and in 1914 got married to a beautiful girl from a poor family. Life was good but of course there was the pressure on all young men to join up and go to war. His beautiful wife waved her loving gentle man off into the devils fire. She went and lived with her sister who lived in London, to answer the call for munitions workers. She worked at the Woolwich Arsenal munitions factory and whilst there she said the TNT turned her skin yellow and that her teeth had started to rot, so she told the dentist ”to take-em all out.”

Fred was gassed and spent time in a Birmingham hospital before returning home and then back to barracks to re-join his regiment in France. He managed somehow to get compassionate leave when his first child was due to be born. The birth was late and he was due back at his barracks, but he stayed at home and waited for the birth. One day, two six foot Military Policemen turned up unannounced and quick marched him, all of his 5 foot six inches to the railway station under the gaze of all his neighbours.

When he was demobbed he returned home but like so many, a changed man. His beautiful wife found life was very difficult, that happy man was now morose, quick tempered and was less than happy to be a barber again. His wife often said, he went away a gentleman and came back with the devil. He opened another barber’s shop on the outskirts of the town and they lived in a flat above it.

Fred was not an early riser especially after a long session at his new local, The Ship Inn. His wife every morning cleaned and prepared the shop, opened the door and let the customers in. She would then call up the stairs, “Fred I’ve opened the shop and let the customers in.” He would shout down “You let the buggers in so you’ll have to shave’em.”

When he retired, they had fallen on hard times and now rented a very small two-up and two-down terrace cottage with an outside privy. The row ran from the side and behind a blacksmiths workshop and hardware store. There was a narrow path which led behind the cottages giving access to their back-doors. It was this path every Sunday afternoon at around three p.m. Fred weaved his way down to get home for his dinner.

His first stop was the privy, of course. The walk from the Swan, about a half a mile had activated his bladder which was storing a copious quantity of beer. In the kitchen a saucepan with water in was on a lit primus stove set low. On top of the saucepan was a plate with his dinner on with a saucepan lid covering it. He lifted the lid and found that the gravy had almost dried up. The roast beef was dry and over-cooked before it was put on the plate. The vegetables? Did not look well. Fred sighed and recalled his wife’s barbed criticism of years ago. “Of course if you got home at one and had your meal with me instead of spending money we can’t afford and then pissing it in the pot under your bed.”

As to eating, it was a lot harder than drinking. He didn’t have a full set of teeth. The one’s he still had were black or dark brown and were not up to the job. His fear of dentistry was such that the pain of toothache could not overcome it. There were two occasions when his eldest son got him as far as the threshold of a dentist’s surgery. He never ever went in. You would have thought that three years in the trenches would have made a trip to the dentists a walk in the park. Freshly cooked vegetable would have been fine especially as his wife always well-cooked all her veg, but now those on his plate had gained another layer of leathery skin.

He sat down and started to eat the vegetables slowly, having cut them up very small. The beef also was cut small but instead of chewing it he sucked it first and then, with his best two teeth tried to break it down further. It usually ended up on the side of his plate. Once he had completed this task he climbed the narrow staircase to his bed in the second bedroom above the kitchen.

When he awoke at six-thirty in the evening he would get himself a soft sandwich and a cup of tea. At seven o clock he would go out the backdoor and along the passage to walk back to The Swan..

Stephen Andrews – December 2018

 

Bream Down

Standing on the battlements of a long lost fear

Looking over Flat Holm to Lavernock.

The misty horizon appears to wrap itself

around the silent waters. An unheard ripple

From the headland draws your eyes

To find hidden rocks waiting for the unwary.

A desolate scene, no birds, no man, just silence

And my thoughts…….

I close my eyes and see the coastal Luggers

Carefully making sail into the port of Bristol

I now feel the wind, a sou’westly in their sails.

The sea is getting up and hastens them to shore

Now out of the mist an East Indiaman reduces sail

But not the Clipper on a fast ‘reach’ into port.

I return from my Mind’s eye into the mist of ancient times.

I Look eastward to the high hill, where in prehistoric times,

A Iron Age hill fort once stood. Tumuli and ancient fields.

Shrines and Temples, maybe an Oratory. Iron Age

Bronze Age, Romano-Celtic and Saxon, all lie side by side.

All made by Man, but separated by Time.

Looking beyond, I spy on the Victorian town. It looks

As if it is abandoned, no activity at all; but I can hear

A snarling growling roar. I climb up the hill and standing

in the ancient fields I can see the South Beach.

Motorbikes are racing, roaring round. I prefer to remember

the stilled Old Town sleeping, with a sonorous snore.