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Poetry Group

SHE SITS IN HER TOWER

 

She sits in her tower,

 

Looking out, full of hope.

He’s coming today, she knows it.

He promised.

 

She peers over the tree-tops,

to see the road beyond.

Is that him? Could it be?

The hours go by

 

And still she waits,

A little doubtful now.

Did she mistake the day?

Maybe she misread the message?

But she’s sure,

 

Really sure

He’s on his way.

What if something has happened?

The roads are so dangerous,

 

Anything could happen.

Has he been hurt?

She shakes herself.

Of course he’s safe

 

And on his way.

He’ll be here soon.

It’s dark now;

 

Maybe she should give up for today

And hope for tomorrow -

Or the next day.

She trusts him.

 

Jackie Dunn

February 2021

(Dedicated to all who wait for home delivery.

Apols to Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s ‘The Lady of Shalott

Learning in Lockdown

 

I have a yearning for Bitesize learning

daily on BBC2

What will it be today?

Maps, Shakespeare and DNA

all for three minutes, or two.

 

Oh, to be fourteen years old again,

when everything learned remains in the brain.

Now, I don’t know much about history

Don’t know much trigonometry.

 

It’s Shakespeare week for secondary schools

with Romans, and lovers; kings and their fools.

There’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in modern dress.

(Not one of my favourite plays, I confess.)

I much prefer ‘Hamlet’ with his feigned madness,

and his lover, Ophelia’s tragic sadness.

 

Shall I tune into Professor Brian

talking about the belt of Orion?

But astronomy isn’t my passion.

I’d rather learn about 18th Century fashion.

‘Horrible Histories’ is much more my thing

where rats tell the stories and even sing.

 

Each televised lesson is a blessing

when you cannot go to school.

I’m too old for the online classroom

but I’ll make it a new rule

to learn something new every day.

If only to keep Lockdown boredom at bay.

 

Alison

9 February 2021

 

Georgina’s Present

We don’t even know Georgina

Or anything about her – it’s true

But while she was sorting her own Christmas out

She thought about someone who …….

 

Might be lonely this Christmas

Or struggling? Just someone out there

Georgina prepared a present,

To help another lady feel someone’s care.

 

Georgina collected things together

That she would like to receive, we think.

Some chocolates, perfume and fizz for her bath

And a bottle of wine to drink.

 

An adult colouring book and some felt tip pens

A warm orange had and some gloves

She placed all the things in a shiny blue bag

It was all ready to go with her love!

 

Georgina wrote a card with the present

 ‘’I’ve enjoyed putting this hamper together ….

I hope it brings you a smile and some fun.

And I wish you health and happiness during 2021!’’

 

And so it was that my friend in need

Opened her door on Christmas morning to find

The present from this caring lady

Who’d done something so very kind

 

It did indeed make my friend feel happy and loved

On a Christmas Day like no other.

Next year I’ll be preparing a present like Georgina’s

And give so much more thought to another.

 

Chris Rowe

January 2021

 

Does God Give You an Allowance?

 

It’s taken her well into later years to know she’s had her share.

God has given her her allowance and she’s thankful.

It’s no good wishing for the stars and moon.

What is the point unless you have a silver spoon?

And working at life’s not an easy game.

There’s no two ways about it, not one of us is the same.

To get where we are today most of us suffer some sort of pain.

In some cases more than others we are the ones to blame.

 

She’s had her chances and she’s made some wrong choices.

Perhaps she was listening to the serpent’s voices.

She’s had her share of passion and love, excitement and fun.

She’s been there, done that. Ha, the Tee shirt she won!

She played the game, admits there was no one else to blame.

Even tried the grass on the other side

But it was only slightly a different shade of green.

Kisses that sent her to a different world.

Rockets soared and exploded, yeah, the rest is left untold.

But with the good there comes the bad.

A paradise lost, happiness turned sad.

So yes.  She’s got all that she’s allowed and she’s thankful.

 

She enjoyed most of it, fell down and picked herself up.

Lots of rough times and good times, some really tough.

But contentment is a gift hard won.

She’s got all she’s allowed and she’s thankful.

 

Frank Sinatra sang, “Regrets, I’ve had a few.”

And she’s had a few that I know of.

She’s read somewhere that God only gives you what He knows you can endure.

She’s had many questions for Him in that department that is for sure.

But whatever she’s done, wherever she’s been,

If she hurt anyone she repented – now her conscience is clean.

Her fortunes are her children and grateful for good health

She swapped her Lamborghini for grandchildren. They’re her wealth.

SHE’S GOT ALL THAT SHE’S ALLOWED AND SHE’S THANKFUL.

 

Lorna

December 2020

Freedom

 

I opened up the wardrobe where the clothes hung, forgotten, within.

I don’t think I’ll be wearing them now I’m not that slim!

I can’t wear the pretty dresses as we don’t go out any more.

But it’s given me a sense of freedom which I didn’t have before!

 

I don’t wear make-up on my face, it lies redundant in the drawer

with mascara, eye shadow and lipstick

it’s not needed any more.

I like the sense of freedom that I didn’t have before!

 

I picked up a box the other day and as I turned the clasp,

the lid flew open and what it revealed almost made me gasp.

I’d forgotten about all my jewellery, as I don’t wear it any more

and it’s given me a sense of freedom that I didn’t have before.

 

My underwear lies, forlornly in the drawer. Frilly things I never wear.

They only come out for parties which we don’t go to any more.

The restrictions of a tier system, mean we can’t travel very far.

So in a desperate bid for freedom, I’ve thrown away my bra!

 

 

What Shall I Do about Christmas?

 

What shall I do about Christmas?

I've been pondering this for a while.

Our family times with games – some silly,

They always raise a smile.

 

But this year is so different.

The virus has done its worst.

We've been in and out of lock-down,

It really has been such a curse.

 

We have had this for nearly a year

And times have been very sad.

We have come through a lot together -

It could have driven us mad.

 

But we've all looked out for each other,

We've cared, supported, cried, sometimes smiled.

We've gladly met up whenever we could -

With our poems we've gone a bit wild!

 

So back to Christmas, and I've decided

That this year I'll stay at home.

The rest of the family will do the same,

And we are not going to moan.

 

Family, friends, we're in it together,

And at Christmas, wherever we are,

Our love and support for each other,

Will continue, and shine like the Star.

 

So the light will guide us in darkness,

And lead, as it did the Wise Men.

And Christmas will always be Christmas,

And we'll meet up and play games again.

 

Janet

 

 

 

Janet Southgate

 

 

 

 

A Visit from St Nicholas?  Christmas 2020

 

‘Twas the night before Christmas,

when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

No stockings were hung by the chimney o’ernight,

because Covid-19 had given the family a fright.

There were no twinkling fairy lights, nor anything pretty

and all because of a man named Chris Whitty.

He said, “If you want Christmas you must stick to the rules,

but don’t think we’ll announce early closure of schools.”

The rules are: put Gran at the end of the table

And open as many windows as you are able.

Do not share your crockery, spoons, forks or knives.

Just think of the virus and the saving of lives.

Make sure elderly Auntie is out of your reach

And ensure that she leaves when the Queen’s made her speech.

Whatever you do, don’t sing, dance or shout

in case your saliva is sprayed all about.

Don’t drink any alcohol in case you forget

to stick to the rules, an act you’ll regret.

If you wish, you can put up a pine, fir or spruce

but you can’t have a party, just a five-day ‘truce’.

Don’t dust off the board games. You must give them a miss.

And whatever you do, don’t give Uncle a kiss!

The number of households you can mix with is three,

And just for five days, so think hard whom you’ll see.

You must stick to the rules.  You can’t have a ball.

Does the virus know it’s Christmas time at all?

Please try not to fret and don’t look so glum.

There will be a vaccine. Just think - JVT and his mum.

Where’s Santa in this?  Will he stay far away?

Or, as a key worker, will he come Christmas Day?

Then I heard him exclaim (all alone in my room),

“Happy Christmas to all.  I will see you on Zoom.”

 

Alison

3rd December 2020

 

Thanks a Bundle, Lord

 

For all life's blessings that are free,

For good things that we hear and see,

And most of all for loving me,

Thanks a bundle, Lord.

 

For Mums and Dads who've put us right,

For sisters to play and brothers to fight,

For homes where we live, for beds at night,

Thanks a bundle, Lord

 

For days of happiness, and joys,

For husbands, wives, our girls and boys

who drive us mad with all their noise,

Thanks a bundle, Lord.

 

For all the different things we do,

For lovely people, friendships true,

Because I'm me and you are you,

Thanks a bundle, Lord.

 

For life's long road that we all tread,

For giving us our daily bread,

For days gone by, and years ahead,

Thanks a bundle, Lord.

 

For health and strength each day to face,

For giving us a little place

within the world, our own small space,

Thanks a bundle, Lord.

 

For being there to help us through

those days when we are feeling blue,

Times when we don't know what to do,

Thanks a bundle, Lord.

 

For those we love who've gone before,

We long to see them all once more.

One day we will, of that we're sure,

Thanks a bundle, Lord.

 

For giving us this lovely day,

Please give us many more, we pray,

But just before 'AMEN' we say

Thanks a bundle Lord.

Daphne Askew

 

Indoor Cat by Kate Woodcock about Alison’s cat Ziggy

 

I have a cat,

His coat is black.

He sits on the arm of the chair.

With his eyes of green

He’ll give you a stare,

So beware!

If you want to sit there.

 

Stay very still

And maybe he will

Come and sit on your knee

And purr.

He’s a beautiful cat,

No doubt about that,

With his long and silky fur.

 

He’ll crouch by the door

And his eyes will implore

Me, not to go out!

 

He’ll chase cat-nip mouse,

All through the house,

Darting hither and thither to catch her.

Or he’ll scratch at his post,

It’s what he likes most,

Scritchery, scratchery, scratcher.

 

He likes to pretend

He can e-mail a friend

And sit at the computer for hours.

 

He begins to stir,

And with a trembling purr

He flexes his claws as he stretches

Then he flies from the room,

Like a witch on a broom.

He’s a longing and lust for milk.

 

Then feeling replete,

He’ll stealthily creep,

To sleep,

In the back of the deepest armchair.

 

I love that cat

His coat is jet black,

As he regards me with jade green eyes,

And I?

I am mesmerised!

 

Reading Is Good for You

 

Reading is good for you.

Not the Berkshire market town,

but novels, poems, biographies;

any book you can’t put down.

 

So ….

When you feel under stress

and your life is a mess,

read a book.

 

When you need a new scheme,

plan, idea, or a theme,

read a book. 

 

When you can’t retain facts

and words slip through the cracks,

read a book.

 

When you want to learn more

to boost your IQ score,

read a book.

 

When you can’t get to sleep

and you’re fed up of sheep,

read a book.

 

When you feel low and sad

and you’d rather be glad,

read a book.

 

When you’ve got too much leisure

and you need to find pleasure,

read a book. 

 

When you want to stay sane

and strengthen your brain,

read a book.

 

 

Alison

August 2020

Pies

 

Matilda told such dreadful lies

But she did confess she loved her pies.

And you remember Desperate Dan?

His cow pies made him twice the man.

We leave out Santa’s favourite dish –

Mince pies – so he will grant our wish.

At every local football match

The pies go swiftly down the hatch.

I shouldn’t like a blackbird pie

They should be flutt’ring in the sky!

And Banner Cross ate pies of meat

To help make Christian Aid complete.

So ……… We love a pie

O me, O my.  And when we die,

Pie in the sky?

 

Jackie

November 2020

 

NORTHUMBERLAND

 

Not had a trip here for a couple of years!

Over the Scottish border for a few days in Beautiful Beadnell.

Remembering wonderful family times here.

The sunshine is here in the North East.

Hiking a beautiful Coastal Walk – it was over 10 miles!

Understanding that this would be a quiet trip with more restrictions.

Missing seeing our dear friends – as the Geordies are back in Lockdown.

Blessed to be in Bamburgh

Enjoying some fish from the Smokehouse in Craster

Running quite a speedy 5k on the Coastal Road

Loving every moment and wishing we could stay longer

Ambling along in Amble – with a Spurelli’s ice cream

Not enough time to visit the Farne Islands this trip.

Dad will be looking down on us enjoying the places of his childhood.

 

Chris Rowe

 

To Dad on his 90th Birthday

 

Ageing Dad in chair

With the grizzled hair.

Do memories of the years –

Laughter, joy and tears –

Bring pleasure to your heart,

Gladden its every part?

Dad, your children know

What to you they owe.

Love, care in many things.

The chance to spread their wings.

Sheer hardworking pluck,

Your answer to ill-luck.

A father to admire with energy afire.

With ever-active mind,

Yet sensitive and kind.

You’ve set your heart in gold.

Cast in love’s deep mould.

So, ageing Dad in chair

Enjoy your memories there.

 

Aileen Hopkinson

December 1984

 

The following poem is dedicated to our esteemed friend, Bob Mellers, who has given his permission for it to be printed

 

Oh For A Good Night’s Sleep

 

Now there’s pocket-sprung or continuous coil, even open-coil and memory foam.

Complicated to most people but for some it’s their family’s history, passed down from home to home.

Imagine having to sleep on a mattress filled with horsehair as they did long, long ago.

Now we’ve many choices like coil-springs, synthetic fibres.  Damask-sprung to lie on, head to toe.

For a peaceful slumber let me lay,

On luxurious softness.  Not a mattress filled with straw and hay!

 

In the olden days they had metal beds, with springs squeaky and rusty.

And a mattress that was filled with RAGS, all mouldy and dusty.

Oh to have a good night’s sleep at the end of the day

And sink into a soft, satin-cushioned sprung mattress, close my eyes to the world and drift away.

 

Well I’ve been to BENSON’S*, they reckon they’re the best,

And DREAMS*, they say that THEIR beds will give you a blissful rest.

I’ve laid on a “SLEEPEEZEE” a “SILENT NIGHT” and a “SEALY”.

It’s hard to choose one, and they’re not cheap! No! Really!!

But whichever I choose, whether single, double or king-size.

At the end of the day, when I close my eyes

Do I care about these so-called pockets and springs?

I just want to sleeeeeep and have wonderful dreams.

 

Lorna

October 2020

When My Sheffield Boomed

 

We’ve got Benjamin Huntsman to thank for inventing the crucible process of steel.

Imagine what it was like before.  We can’t.  It doesn’t seem real.

But that was in 1742, old Sheffield town, all farms and fields.

Our fast-flowing rivers provide what was needed to drive the water wheels.

As far back as 1297 the history books mention a Robert “The Cutler” paying his taxes.

SEE!  We were already by then grinding our blades, knives and axes.

Our land gave us iron ore, millstone grit, coal and clay.

Life must have been quite simple then.  Back in the day.

But they DID slog at their labour and tarried at their skill

Working all God’s hours, the dust making them ill.

Even Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century in his “Reeve’s Tale” saying our dreary and dirty old town

Acknowledges that Sheffield for its metalwork was renowned.

 

In 1743 along came Thomas Boulsover and he invented silver plate.

Our town, not yet a city was now becoming great.

But at what cost?

Vulcan was our god and through our name we found fame.

WHEN SHEFFIELD BOOMED.

 

You’ve heard of Henry Bessemer in 1855?

He patented his Bessemer process and we really did come alive.

Making steel more available to build a new world.

For skyscrapers, girders, bridges and railroads.

The Industrial Revolution.

AND SHEFFIELD BOOMED.

 

Furnaces spewing out an inferno. Poor men.

Day and night, they suffer again and again.

Our forefathers sweating with the heat from the ovens.

Forges and kilns needed to be fed like their children.

The tedious toil.  The eternal slog.

As the tongues of fire glowed through the filthy thick smog.

And the dark and dismal houses. The narrow back to back streets.

When the sky rained soot and only the furnaces gave heat.

THIS WAS WHEN SHEFFIELD BOOMED.

 

Wildfire in the steel works.  Sparks could send you blind.

This was Lucifer’s hell, Sheffield was a fire-box, men must have lost their mind.

THEY fed the molten steel in and out of the crucibles like lava day and night.

The factories never sleeping and the town always alight.

The crashing, the endless banging.  The never-ending thud.

No wonder my poor dad had bad hearing in the end.

Joining the thousands of men marching down dingy streets in their hobnailed boots, hunched against wind, snow and rain.

Knowing there was nowhere else to go, this was their life, their pain.

I SHIVER WHEN I THINK WHAT HIS LIFE WAS BACK THEN.

WHEN SHEFFIELD BOOMED.

 

I remember him coming home with this haversack and billy can.

I know he worked hard but he never let on.

And I remember too he smelled of oil and kicking his black steel-capped boots off under the table.

They never saw polish.  They never had to.

But I know he lost a finger through it getting septic from some steel.

I was far too young to ask him if it hurt or “How does it feel?”

Like “How long was he off work for, did it affect us back then?”

“How did they manage for money, was there social security?” That’s what I should have asked way back when.

We always had good holidays, good Christmases, good memories too.

So thank you Walter Marshall, I wish I’d spent more time with you.

WHEN SHEFFIELD BOOMED.

 

Lorna

Masks and more Masks.

 

Maria is making masks like mad -

She's got a factory going.

It started up in lock down

And now she can't stop sewing.

 

We have to wear a mask in church -

And shops – and other places.

Some wear them under their nose and chins

But we wear them on our faces.

 

Most of us had the standard ones

Bought on the internet.

But Maria came with a smart classy one -

The best that we'd seen yet.

 

“I'll make you one” she said - “no probs -

What colour would you like?”

Before we knew it she'd got a list

She'll be up making them all night.

 

So she's taken on a helper -

A nice chap – his name is Owen.

He gets her elastic, and things on eBay

To enable her to keep going.

 

The money raised is building up

For our church charity.

We all would gladly have paid her

But she won't take a pen-nee!

 

What will she do when she’s finished?

She'll get out her yoga mat.

And as for Owen, we know what he'll do -

He'll retreat back up to his flat!

 

So a big THANK YOU Maria

For making some for me.

You're artistic, and kind and clever

And we'll wear them for all to see.

 

Janet Southgate October 2020.

Vision

 

Where there is no vision, the people perish.

Old Solomon got it right,

If indeed he was the one who wrote it.

You can see what he meant;

If we look no further than our nose end

That’s all we’ll see.

If we keep our eyes on the ground

We’ll see only mud or concrete.

Perhaps now, more than ever,

In these Covid times,

We need to turn our eyes upward,

Not looking behind to what used to be,

Or even just ahead, fearful for next week,

Or a cancelled Christmas.

We need women and men of vision,

To see a new world,

A new way of living

And take us with them,

Into the future.

Where there is no vision, the people perish.

 

Jackie

1 October 2020 (National Poetry Day 2020 – theme was Vision)

 

Back to Work

Well I feel like the new girl, on her first day.

New rules, PPE, walking only one way.

Walking in ‘bubbles’ with very young children.

Smiling faces, and shouting, “Walk, don’t run.”

 

Six months at home doing jigsaws and reading.

Lockdown was strange, isolating and shielding.

This virus is here now, part of our lives.

Wearing masks, 2 meters apart, but we still thrive.

 

So lovely to see the kids’ smiling faces.

Chatter, holidays, tying children’s laces.

Out in the playground, running about.

Joyous to hear the children shout.

 

All in all, not too bad, this first day.

Life goes on, but in a different way.

 

Hazel

4/9/2020

 

 

Where on Earth …… ?

Where on earth have I put me purse?

Yesterday I lost me bag;

In the olden days, when I had me wits,

But technology now has got me fuddled.

The phone should always be kept by the stairs.

Me specs have legs, more than I can claim,

I’ve tried tying knots but tissues won’t take it.

I’ll just sit still and not move a muscle.

 

I kid you not – I’m getting worse!

Trailed upstairs again – what a drag.

Each thing in the house was kept in its ……. place.

Me eyes are dim! and me brain is muddled.

But the mobile job could be any old wheres.

And biros run everywhere, just the same.

Whatever I touch I’m sure to break it.

And maybe life will be less of a tussle.

 

Jackie

4th September 2020

 

 

Somewhere

 

There’s a place for us

Somewhere a place for us

But it’s cold in the open air

So we can’t meet there

 

There’s a time for us

Someday a time for us

Time together with time to share

Time for verse

Time for prayer

Someday

Somewhere

We’ll find a new way of meeting

Where there’s some air and some heating

Somewhere

 

There’s a place for us

A time and place for us

Is it Zoom where we’ll meet on screen?

Is it church where we’ll have to clean?

Somehow

Someday

Somewhere

 

Alison

30 September 2020

(channelling Stephen Sondheim)

This is Me

 

Lord, this is me.

Not always liking what I am, or the image that I see.

Lord, You have said

That in Your image I am made,

But that's a hard act to live up to, and I am afraid

that there are many times in life when I fall very short

Of living life the way You did,

or doing things

I ought

 

Lord, this is me.

Not always with a smiling face, or feeling full of glee.

Lord, You know very well

that sometimes life is hell,

and at other times it's grand.

But there are many things in life we'll never

understand.

 

Lord, this is me.

Not always being kind and good as You would have me be.

Lord, You listen to my problems

When I want to pray.

Help me to have the time for others,

Not to walk

away.

 

Lord, this is me.

Different I wish I was, but cannot seem to be.

Lord, You have said

You will make all things new.

So I pray that when You say

“All things” You mean

“All people” too.

 

Daphne Askew

No Time

 

I woke up late one morning

And rushed into the day.

With all the jobs I had to do,

I didn’t have time to pray.

 

Hurrying children up to school

Who dragged their feet on the way,

And the day was getting hotter, still,

I just didn’t have time to pray.

 

Walking dogs into the park,

There wouldn’t be time to play,

I was in such a hurry,

That I couldn’t have time to pray.

 

The hours were getting busier,

I had cakes to make that day,

And in my haste I burnt one,

Now there would never be time to pray.

 

I dashed through the housework,

Missing out lunch on the way,

Waging war on dust and dirt,

I just couldn’t stop to pray.

 

By the evening I was tired,

And exhausted I laid on my bed,

It was then that I remembered

What is was that God had said.

 

“When your life is getting harder,

And you need help with any task,

Just take a few minutes to speak to me,

You only have to ask.”

 

I woke up the next morning,

Thinking about the new day,

I put my hands together,

And took a few moments to pray!

 

Kate

 

THE GHOST CHURCH

 

I quietly opened the doors to the church and thought, “There's no-one there.”

It was strange, they did not see me. Or if they did, they didn't care.

There was an air about my church; I'd never experienced before.

I was frightened, I can tell you, but something led me through the door.

 

Over in the choir stalls there's jolly Mary-Jayne.

Laughing with Ann Roberts who I thought I'd never see again.

Roger's deep in conversation with Bob Chambers and Margaret Lawford,

And near the vestry, Duncan's looking for his drum-kit in a cupboard.

Leonora's noticed him having trouble with it

And in her own sweet way asks. "Are you alright?" And helps a little bit.

 

Harold Ullyatt's sitting over there, he seems in a little trance.

I bet he's thinking of his wife and how they use to dance.

Oooo, look who’s standing with lovely Helen and hubby Trevor.

They’re reminiscing with Betty Watson, same surname, but not related, I’m sure

 

It’s Margaret Elliott. "Hey Margaret!  Look it's me!"

She's collecting hymn books with Madge Forrest, then they'll make the tea.

The Women’s Network is busy organising June Emerson's famous strawberry tea.

Gwen Metcalf says she'll bake some scones, she's such a busy bee.

 

Jean Shelley's chatting to Ann Chambers and Beattie Gladwin too.

All happy with their jobs for June's garden, there's always tons to do.

Shirley Coates and husband Bryan are setting out their stall

With leaflets for leukaemia research to give to one and all.

THEIR DEDICATION IS NEVER ENDING.

 

Jean Jackson's sharing memories with dapper Sidney. What a man!

And with them it's Bill Franklin. I can only just remember him.

Busy on the platform Betsy Ginn is getting ready for

Her sermon on Sunday, I wonder what she's got in store ….. for us.

 

It's a parade service and Gillian Speed makes sure the Girl Guide flag is on display.

While Joan Rowe moves out for Thelma. No wheel-chair now. Don't get in her way!

(whisper)

They don't see me there.

I close the door.

I'm not wanted …….

Yet.

 

Lorna

August 2020

 

Jesus and Zacchaeus

 

Zacchaeus was an important man.

He oversaw the collection of tax.

He tried to see who Jesus was

but all he saw was backs.

 

He was such a little man

that he couldn’t see through the crowd.

So when he saw a sycamore tree

he made his voice very loud.

 

“Move out of my way, please.  Let me through.

I’m going to climb that tree!

I need to see the Teacher

so please make way for me!

 

When Jesus walked up to that tree

He looked up and told Zac to come down.

“Hurry, Zacchaeus, I must stay at your house

in the far side of Jericho town.”

 

Zacchaeus then jumped down to the ground

and welcomed the Lord with a grin.

But the people started grumbling,

“Why’s He staying with a man who sins?”

 

Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord,

“I’ll give half my goods to the poor,

and if I have cheated anyone,

I’ll pay him back for sure.”

 

Jesus said, “This man descends from Abraham

And he’s just gained salvation.

I’ve come to seek and save the lost

of each and every nation. 

Alison

August 2020

Thoughts about what I miss most. Kate Woodcock

The cupboards are full of crisps and snacks,
And chocolate biscuits in the tin.
It's all because of lockdown
That the children can't come in.

There are no train tracks on the floor
No hazards over which to fall,
It's all because of lockdown
That the children do not call.

There is no tinkling laughter
Of happiness at play,
It's all because of lockdown
That the children cannot stay.

The house is strangely quiet,
No music and no words.
It's all because of lockdown
That the children can't be heard.

We can watch our own television,
And use our mobile phone,
It's all because of lockdown 
The teenagers aren't at home.

We thought we'd like a peaceful house,
And time spent on our own
But it's all because of lockdown,
That the house is not like home.

We want to hear the laughter,
Noise and clutter all around,
Please let's come out of lockdown
So the family can come round!!!!

What Lockdown Means to Me

 

Church not open for the foreseeable.

Outdoor exercise and fresh air.

Random acts of kindness.

Opportunity to learn new skills.

No visitors during lockdown.

Anxious thoughts every day.

Video calls via Zoom in my living-room.

Infection rate. Is it up or down today?

Rainbows and yellow hearts in windows.

Unprecedented times.

Seeing friends waving across the street.

 

Protect the NHS and the Shielded.

Anti-bac gel, mask and gloves.

New normal.

Daily Coronavirus Briefings.

Enjoying Class challenges, quizzes and tales.

Matt, Boris, Chris and Patrick.

Is it okay to ……. ?

Caring calls, candles, and camomile tea.

 

Alison

June 2020

 

Reflections of the last few weeks

I want a lockdown!

We remember hearing on the News

Everyday updates and everyone’s views

We tried to grasp what this would mean

All our lives would change due to Covid-19

 

The Leadership Team said we’d meet soon

But not face to face – on something called Zoom!

What the heck is that? We all asked Tim.

It’s a bit like Facetime – while we’ve got to stay in.

 

Well obviously Rachel knew just what to do

And Tim had some lessons so he knew it too.

Those first few times it was a real pain.

But we got used to it when we tried again.

 

‘’What on earth is a Virtual’’ asked Mr T.

Well there won’t be a patient to actually see.

You ring the lady while she’s at home -

And she describes her problems on the phone!

 

Three ladies have arrived, who were having a call.

And some with appointments haven’t come at all!

Have you gelled your hands, have you come very far?

Is your partner waiting in the car?

 

So with the changes in clinic and no operations

We knew we’d be going to different stations

We were all really worried about going somewhere strange

There’d be such a lot to rearrange.

 

I’d like a lockdown of my own

I’d dearly love to stay at home

I don’t really want to know what’s in store

I just want to be with my mother-in-law.

 

But then we couldn’t see her and my world fell apart

Not visiting her just broke my heart

I would do my best at work instead

That way nothing would mess with my head

 

Now at last we knew – no buts, no maybes

Just like that we were helping the babies!

We were together – which had been one of our fears.

Though I hadn’t worked nights for 20 years!

 

But May brought more sadness – where will it all end

It’s now claimed the life of our very good friend

We lined the streets to say our goodbye

It all feels too much now – I can’t tell a lie.

 

It’s best not to use the bus to come in,

According to the 5 o’clock bulletin.

You should drive or walk or have a bike ride.

But you can park for nothing now – and right outside!

 

When trying to perform an intricate task

You get all hot and bothered under your mask.

You find you’re not drinking or going for a wee.

As it means ‘’donning and doffing’’ your PPE.

 

I run and I walk and have coffee on zoom

And follow worship material in the afternoon

On my days off I don’t mind staying at home

At least it’s a ‘’mini lockdown’’ all of my own.

 

And all in all I feel so blessed

I’ve not got ill and my friends are the best

When all this is over and we’re back together

I will treasure you all forever and ever.

Chris Rowe

 

 

 

Lockdown:

Goodness gracious what can this mean,

Everything must stop, because of Covid 19,

This dreadful virus, is making humans sick

The NHS must find oxygen & PPE double quick,

Thousands are dying, so many are grieving,

Families, friends & neighbours are weeping.

 

The Doctors, Nurses, porters & cleaners,

Supermarkets, drivers, posties, teachers,

The folks making scrubs, visors & masks,

So many are helping, they were not asked,

The teachers working hard to put lessons on-line,

The Keyworkers children, go to school on time.

 

The roads are empty of traffic right now,

The birdsong is beautiful & how.........

The deer & the goats are running round town,

It’s really quite strange, we try not to ‘get down’

But ‘isolate’ we must, to keep the infection rate low,

FaceTime, WhatsApp & now Zoom, do you know?

 

This new way of life is not easy my friends,

But if we all ‘pull together’, we can see an end,

Lockdown is easing, people getting about,

The numbers are slowing, let’s give a shout,

To our wonderful ‘keyworkers’ & volunteering,

Thank you, you are amazing, let’s lift our voices & sing!

 

Thanks

Hazel xx

 

Thoughts on the lock down

 

I'm sitting here and looking out

with my morning cup of tea,

and thinking of all the places

where I would like to be.

 

But most of all, the people

that I would love to see.

I miss you all, but I know you're there -

You may even miss me!!

 

I don't know how long this will last,

but I fear it could go on

for longer than we'd like it to -

so we just need to keep strong.

 

We're all in this together,

so we need to find a way

of keeping close whilst staying apart,

and carrying on, come what may.

 

Some will have to go to work

and face the risks each day.

Many help others to stay safe -

So for them all we pray.

 

What WILL we look like when we meet

after all these months locked down?

Lots of us will have long hair -

some grey – a few still brown!

 

So until that day when we all meet up,

whenever that may be,

God bless you all, keep safe and well,

With lots of love…..from 'me'.

 

 

Janet.

Lock-down Experience of 10 June 2020

 

Here I am again with my morning cup of tea.

Catching up with the latest news on BBC TV.

I'm also thinking 'which job first?', as I make my morning plan,

When suddenly the screen goes blank – sound, but no picture – damn!

(am I allowed to say that?)

I switch it off, then on again, as I've been told to do.

No joy, so I unplug it all, and fetch another brew.

I try again, but nothing – only sound, so that's no good,

So on the phone to my 'SKY' man – he's always understood.

 

But this time it's impossible, and after half an hour

Of kneeling on the floor, (poor knees) the SKY man says “Well now

We'll have to get a technician out, I'll see what I can do.

Earliest is Friday, before one, well certainly by two.

 

“Now this is what will happen in line with Covid safety plan -

He'll wear a mask, gloves, visor too, and shoe coverings” - good man!

And I will have to wear a mask, and social distance too.

Well that won't be a problem – I'll probably hide in the loo.

 

So it's all arranged, I'll leave it there and carry on with my day.

Tea time now, and preparing my meal in the kitchen, not far away.

Time for the 'briefing' – must hear that – no picture, but sound is okay

So I turn up the volume, at least I can still hear what they've got to say.

 

Part way through, I come into the room and 'Hey Presto'! the picture is here

All by itself – with no help from me, and I let out a great big cheer!

I jump up and down with joy (well, nearly!), it almost sent me up the wall.

I must be on the phone in the morning to cancel the SKY man's call

Greetings from The Fens

Just sending love across from the Fens to all the lovely people at Banner Cross in these difficult times. Have missed visits to Janet when I have really looked forward to seeing you, hopefully it won't be too long before we can do this again.

Love to you all. Keep safe.

God bless,

Daphne & Andrew Askew

 

Daf's Poem

 

Our Janet's suddenly started saying everything in rhyme,

I'm just a little worried, although it's not a crime.

It's not a problem really – she could do a whole lot worse,

But every time I speak to her, her reply comes back – in verse!

 

With all this social distancing, and rules they've put in place

She cannot play the organ, and she's treading in my space.

So all you friends at Banner Cross, I'm appealing now to you -

Keep ringing her, and whatsapp her – keep the emails coming through.

 

That way she'll be so busy, there won't be a moment free,

And once again, with a bit of luck I'll be the Queen of Poetry.

On a note more serious now, we're regularly in touch.

My Lock-down Visit to Chiropodist

 

Things are starting to open up

Albeit in a different way.

My Chiropodist was in business again

And a visit to him I should pay.

 

I knew I should go before too long,

Although I was rather unsure.

I've been strict with my self distancing,

And cross with those who ignore.

 

But how was it going to work out?

Two metres between him and me?

My leg is not long enough to achieve that,

And he needs to be able to see.

 

Well, Paula had been there before me,

So reassured it would be okay

I got on the phone to arrange it -

I went last Wednesday.

 

He told me that he would be geared up

In mask and gloves – visor too,

And I had to wear a mask as well,

And there was now no use of his loo!

 

I had to arrive as near on time

As was possible to do.

I parked up in the car, and waited

In a space where I had a good view.

 

What happened next really amused me.

The door shutter clattered away,

And then just an arm, clad in white with a glove

Appeared, and was pointing my way.

 

It was my turn now, and he ushered me in

And pointed to hand sanitiser,

While he settled down to do a good job

With the help of his scalpel and visor.

 

My feet feel so good, I'm relieved now,

We're all hunky dory and fine.

I shan't be nervous to go again -

I'll see him in six weeks time.

 

 

Janet.

Reflection from Caroline:


Covid took us all by surprise!
To its challenge we all did rise!
Shoulder by shoulder our faith glued us together
And for sure has been helped by the glorious weather!

Strange times for sure!
But these times have been here before!
Christians through and through
Our faith prevails and God to his word will always be true
       
         God Bless Everyone
                    From Caroline

Lockdown Hair

Our hair is growing longer
As the days go passing by.
It never looks neat and tidy,
No matter how we try.

Every day is Bad Hair Day,
And all the constant sun,
Only makes it drier
And really that's no fun.

The wind and rain don't help it
When we go out for our walk,
And neighbours do not know us
When we stop by for a talk.

The colour has all but faded.
The grey is showing through.
It's looking very stripey
Like a zebra in the zoo!!

We wear it up,
We wear it down,
We don't know how we'll get through.
Oh,when can we see a hairdresser?
She'll know what to do !!!!!I
                                             Kate
.

My Nails, Hair and Teeth in Lockdown

 

I have managed to cut my nails

but I haven’t touched my hair.

I really don’t want to pull my own teeth

so I long for the dentist’s chair. 

 

I have cut a nail that was growing in

but my hair is down my back.

I really don’t want to pull my own teeth

‘cos I haven’t got the knack.

 

My feet and hands are clean and neat

but my hair is going grey.

I really don’t want to pull my own teeth

but my dentist’s not called today.

 

My feet feel like I’m walking on air

but my hair looks like a hedge.

I really don’t want to pull my own teeth

‘cos that will set them all on edge.

 

My chiropodist invited me over

but I will have to book a haircut.

I really don’t want to pull my own teeth

so I hope my dentist’s not shut.

 

Alison

29 June 2020

 

My Covid-19 Words

Face mask and visor, sanitiser and gown.

Is the infection rate back up or down?

Stay at home and quarantine.

No traffic noise is heard.

These are a few of my Covid-19 words.

 

Hospitals, hospices, care homes, community.

When will these places get virus immunity?

Unprecedented, pandemic, furlough.

When will we finally see the rainbow?

 

CMOs and CSAs and profs on my screen.

When will they tell me they’ve found a vaccine?

The guidance is flouted,

so I am disturbed.

These are a few of my Covid-19 words.

 

No new cases.

Visit places

where I long to go.

I simply remember my favourite things

and then I don’t feel so low.

 

Alison

26 June 2020

 

How Many Times?  The dangers of over brushing.

So now I'm worried about my teeth,
Trying to keep them oh, so clean
As we can't get to see a dentist
During Lockdown with Covid-19.

I'm brushing my teeth 5 times a day
And using those dental sticks.
I know this won't prevent problems,
So I'd better start brushing them 6.

I'd better stop eating chocolate,
And cream cakes that taste like heaven.
Oh dear! I'm starting to panic,
I'd better be making it 7.

We have our evening meal
Followed up by a large piece of cake.
Oh no! I shouldn't have eaten it,
I'd better be brushing them 8.

Today I've only had savouries
So now I think they'll be fine,
But just to be on the safe side,
I will be brushing them 9.

I dreamed I went to the dentist
And here's what he had to say,
"You've worn all your teeth away dear,
'Cos you're brushing them 10 times a day!"
                                                       Kate

 

In an English Totley Garden (now and during lockdown)

 

My garden is on show, see how the delphiniums grow,

Lupins proud and tall, dianthus, spiky, cute and small.

Roses in full bloom today, and cornflowers shouting hip, hip, hooray.

Cupids lips, they're sweet and neat, potentilla too, growing yellow for me and you..

 

My campanula is also saying "Hello" today, He's faintly blue and what a display.

I call them moon-pennies, I know they're not but a fantastic cluster I'm glad I've got.

The passionflower climbing up the fence, adores the sun, what love it sends.

Snow-in-summer they call it and that seems right, as if from no-where so hardy and bright.

 

Pinks, marigolds, geraniums all. Are happy to say to the birds, "Just call."

The daffodils and tulips have all died down

Crocuses,, muscari, narcissus, snow-drops and hyacinths too but I don't frown.

Knowing they're just resting to show once more their beautiful glory next spring outside my door.

Alliums too, a spectacular view

I'm waiting for the agapanthus!

 

Red and pink geraniums, carnations and osteospermum, oh just look.

The clematis clinging to any hook.

Erysimum called "The Bride" was a glorious sight and japonica too is such a delight.

Gentle kerria (jews mallow) with her fluffy yellow pom-poms

Next to aquelegia and ferns with their curling fronds.

 

I'm waiting for the bold display of lots of gladioli to make my day

There's still a lot to see; different colours of wallflowers so near to me.

Sweetpeas do take their time, little pansies and snaps still a favourite of mine.

Through my window the hibiscus is growing well, he'll show some attitude, it's beginning to tell.

Next to the sedam there's petunias, a fuschia and a tall flamingo tree poses,

And dahlias and more roses.

In the top corner a honeysuckle creeps next to some raspberries the rudbeckia peeps.

 

Verbena grows up to six feet high, he's still reaching to the sky.

Pretty varigated ivy, common I know, just in the right place it seems to grow.

Wood sorrel's nice, canterberry bells and London pride

I can depend on my budlia  at my side.

And the poppies have been as big as dinner plates, magnificent deep red but then a statuesque fox-glove awaits.

Crocosmia and irises, there's a lily too, even liitle daises spring into view.

A bleeding heart, pretty and sad.  

Now make way for this painter's palette (houttuynia), colourful and glad!

There's more. Weigella, spiraea, euphorbia to name a "few"

Hebe, hosta and lavender spring into view.

And look. Nigella with its feathery leaves, bobbing about in the gentle breeze.

This is my garden, come and see, putting on a show for you and for me for free!

 

Lorna

 

Isolation

 

Oh the loneliness

I can’t bear it any more.

Another day of emptiness

No-one knocking on the door.

Again.

 

It’s just you and me I say to myself

The mirror for company.

And comb my hair and smile at me.

Again.

 

Another glass of wine could ease the pain

Decide whether red or white.

A tall glass, a tumbler, a shot, why not

Morning, afternoon or night.

Again.

 

Another tv programme I’ve seen before,

The same tea cup the same tea bag

The same kettle, the same mag.

Again.

 

Oh look there’s a bird

In the sky, grey or blue.

Does it matter. It’ll be there tomorrow

And it will happen all over

Again.

 

Lorna

 

 

Shopping in Lockdown _ Janet 

Along with others I shop online and include things that other people have asked for, among whom are Sylvia & Leslie Graves. 

So….recently they sent me a thankyou/birthday card in which Les had written: 

 

'An appreciation based on STF 465 verse 2 - 

Strong deliverer, strong deliverer 

Please continue with your shop - 

And shield. 

 

To be sung to 'Come Yonder' 

 

 

I read the above to my sister Daf, and not too long after the phone was ringing – when I answered she immediately began to sing – and it went on...and on...and….this was her reply:   (sung to 'Come Yonder' – obviously.) 

 

Guide me, O thou great Redeemer 

   Safely out to Tesco's store. 

  This last week has passed so quickly 

  And we need some food once more. 

  Now start queuing, now start queuing   

Till they let me through the door. 

Till they let me through the door. 

 

Guide me through the arrow system 

Following the proper way. 

Give me strength to steer the trolley, 

I've so much to get today - 

Tea and coffee, white and brown bread, 

Please be on the shelf I pray. 

Please be on the shelf I pray. 

 

Help my thoughts and concentration 

As I shop for other's needs, 

Pasta, fruit, cake, jam and biscuits, 

Milk and butter, eggs and cheese. 

Different food for different people, 

Lord, I want so much to please. 

Lord, I want so much to please. 

 

At the till to pack and pay now,  

Then off home, and in a while 

Take things round, drop in their gardens, 

At their window, see them smile, 

Wave a hand and mouth a “thankyou” 

Makes the whole task so worthwhile. 

Makes the whole task so worthwhile. 

 

It has been a hard experience 

Being careful and correct. 

Social distance, no church service, 

Home deliveries, click and collect. 

May the day come very quickly  

Where to shop we can select. 

Where to shop we can select. 

 

When I reach the gate of heaven 

May my fears blow with the breeze. 

Tell me there'll be no more Tesco, 

Aldi, Morrisons, Sainsburys. 

Songs of praises, songs of praises 

I will ever give to Thee. 

I will ever give to Thee. 

 

 

I called on my mother today

She's been dead some 30 years.

I wanted some help to quell my tears.

'Cos I was feeling a bit miserable

I'm allowed am I not?

Mum give me your strength, some advice, you're good at that.

Guide me through this padlocked door

Like your generation who suffered the war.

Did she smile, did she tell me what to do?

Yes with God's help you'll make it and family too.

It's akin to being in George Orwell's 101 room. (my own police thoughts)

This stark loneliness, this coldness, this doom.

And behind the mask am I smiling?

And behind the mask am I sad?

And behind the mask am I frowning?

And behind the mask

AM I MAD?

Lorna

 

A New Virus

 

We’ve discovered a new virus and we hope it’s very rare.

The main symptom’s persistent poetry that we’re desperate to share.

 

We cannot help but send to you our poems, lyrics, rhymes.

We’ve never felt like this before. These are unprecedented times.

 

Stay safe from dreadful doggerel.  Stay alert to vapid verse.

We cannot stop it spreading and it’s getting even worse.

 

This virus is highly infectious and we can’t even wear a mask.

So if you get the germ of a poem, just bin it, that’s all we ask.

 

Alison

1 July 2020


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