Monday, November 05, 2018

No armistice for Bertie

A new headstone stands
remote from the blood-red fields
and coffinned graveyards.
The gartered tree
sports your remembered name
'Bertie W. Crew':
fallen, though strangely upright
on parade with comrades
around the village green.
You ran this grass
in tag and bulldog,
leaned against this tree
on forgotten summer days
before the sting of war
took you to foreign places.
There, in a place where friend and foe
cried in accents that troubled your ear
and stumbled your tongue,
you fell in the Spring of life
to the Autumn lumberjack of combat. 

Footnote: On further research Bertie Crew of the Bedfordshire Regiment actually died in 1919 whilst serving in the 'Labour Corps' which was manned by soldiers not rated 'A1'. These were often those who had been previously injured on the battlefied. So it would appear the Bertie did actualy experience Armistice Day. He was buried in the Chapel yard of Houghton Regis Baptist Church along with Gilbert Horsler and Thomas King.


Thursday, July 12, 2018

We break bread

We break bread

We break bread and in the breaking see
a broken body for you, 
for me.
Crumbs dislodged and falling free
like sins you no longer see in me.

We share wine and in the sharing know
You’ve prepared a place for us to go
where pain and hurt and sorrow flow
purged away heaven’s glow.      

So touch our lips with that kiss of life
coming from Christ’s righteousness
and touch our lives with that peacefulness
that comes to restore,
and heal,
and bless.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The car

The photo is not a memory.
The bright and shiny car
isn’t lodged in my filing system
of yesterdays.
The car is in there
filed under hours of fun -
 rusty and clanking
along summer pavements.
Rubber tyres long worn
beyond their usefulness
rims scourging the pathways,
the pedals stiff
with age and autumns.

I do not remember it new,
I cannot remember its advent
or the joy of its unpacking.
A Christmas or birthday gift
that became a marriage,
not an affair
like so many gifts of youth
which fleet in the carefree
selfishness of childhood.

I remember the name I gave it
Bluebird the 2nd,
though speed
was never its specialty,
and painting 22
on its side.
Its rusting maroon
and curving body
mirroring Dad’s
redundant green Vauxhall
in repose on the lawn.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


Restless, the sea,
in slap and sparring agitation,
churns colour in its tumbrel
from the rousing wake
of journeying.
Like the charnel house jumble
of dreaming
in wakeful moments,
catching uninvited
in an ambush of distraction.
These days are choppy waters,
a disturbation of the even temperance
of peace
and the mechanism of tides.