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Archive for the ‘Previously Unpublished’ Category

This poem was written around 1991 and I believe is previously unpublished.

Birch Trees

Against a sky of blue or cloudy grey
Whatever the day, pale and slender boughs,
Like early summer nudes, exposed through
Frondle trails of leafy green, slightly
Bend and sway, while bushy heady tops
Are tingle-teased by a fresh spring
Early morning breeze.

Arched, white spine straining. Young stripling
Stems stretched out like yesterday’s abandoned
Streamers. Fledgling leaves ripped, stripped
From life, lost and tossed aside without
apparent rhyme or reason unless, perhaps?
A wild futile gesture of appeasement, against
This heedless, needless rampaging.

Tall white masts lying at anchor
On a neap tide of evening sylphid mist.
Faded russet topsails shrouded in calm.
The hold laden with silence and a
Nostalgic late autumn balm. While over
The horizon the first grey mast of winter
Waits patiently to cross the bar.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Note: The ‘s’ at the end of the word ‘waits’ in the last line is my addition and did not appear in Jack’s original. It may have been a typing error. I could have just as easily added it to the word ‘mast’ in the penultimate line instead but it seemed to me to be a better fit here.

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This is a previously unpublished poem of unknown date.

Love I Have Known Thee Well

Love, I have known thee well,
The soaring happiness you bring
When hand clasps hand,
Or just the merest brushing of a touch,
Her presence in a room empties it of everyone
Except ourselves.
Eyes meet, and our thoughts are as one.
The understanding being so positive
I quickly look around the room
For fear that others saw and know about our bond.

But how speedily happiness can turn to pain,
For Cupid fires his arrows with random aim.
And so I find myself alone with wounds to heal,
And no-one can I tell, for all must be concealed.
And yet, was it concealed?
To her I know it showed,
For though I never spoke of love I could not hide the glow.
And she the same as I dare not speak of love
For someone else would drown
In our emotional flood.

And so it had to end and time has dulled the pain,
Both of us have lost,
Nothing has been gained,
But if love should ever come again
I pray with all my heart
That Cupid is less careless where he aims his darts.

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This undated little gem was obviously a personal gift to some friends:

To Albert and Hilda
On the occasion of their 25th Wedding Anniversary

Something seen that makes you gasp,
Something heard that makes you smile,
Something happens that makes you wonder,
Something sad that makes you cry.
Little things all strung together,
Little highlights, little lives,
Little happenings shared with others,
Friends and sweethearts, husbands, wives.

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This previously unpublished poem was written by Jack around 1989. It introduces us to the poet who inspired him most – Edward Thomas. Regular readers please note that I will be off-line for a couple of weeks. On my return I shall consider what it is about Edward Thomas that so inspired Jack.

A Celebration

I write verse because I must.
Most end up as dry and stale as
An old crust of bread that barely
Keeps me alive, and I wonder why.
But I have to try again.
Then I lift my eyes to look at
A small treasury of books with
One, more careworn than the rest,
And sellotape repaired.
I lay open the page anywhere, the
Words are clear, misty, soft or sweet
As yesterday, while browsing with no
Intent to buy, the bold name
“Edward Thomas” caught my eye and
Instantly revived a nestling of
Words, once read, then stored, now
Brought alive, cheeping for all their
Worth, from a nestling miscellany of
Verse where it’s always spring.

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Can any family member or friend of Jack’s throw any light on the clock referred to in this poem as I have no knowledge of it? The poem has not been previously published.

The J and B Clock

The old clock stands against the wall
Its mellow face in light subdued,
Faithfully it chimes the hour
And finger-tips each moment new,
It ticks and tocks, the pendulum swings
For that is just the way of things.
Time goes on the same old pace,
Although at times it seems to race
And then again to almost stop,
But not the old grandfather clock.
It just tick tocks.

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I regret that due to other circumstances I have not been attending to this site as much as I should of late. I hope to rectify this now by adding another poem for you. Poem For Spring was written around 1989 and I am a little late adding it here as it is now summer (hopefully!).

Poem For Spring

The cradling warmth of Springtime’s sunny days
Brings out a deluge green of varied hues,
Raising hope like buntings on the breeze,
Fruitful gala of budding and renew.
Light-hearted and capriciously she comes
With childlike truth to soften wintered minds,
Stirring impish seeds of dormant childhood
So joyously across the bridge of time,
Giving off an aura of excitement,
Expectancy of something in the air
Which attunes all natural creation,
Transforming misty notions into flare.
This, this is the womb of expectation,
Here lies the root, the origin of care.

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I have no idea when Jack wrote this evocative poem and as far as I know it was never submitted to the National Poetry Foundation or published elsewhere.

Echoes of a Cotton Town

Terraced houses, old and crumbling,
Peeling paint on doors and frames.
Here and there a square of plywood
For a makeshift window-pane.
Some are painted, bright and cheery,
Bright red doorstep, snow-white cills.
Frilly curtains to the windows,
A spirit grows that won’t be killed.

People bonded close together,
In a little narrow street,
But more, much more than bricks and mortar
Are the echoing sounds that memories keep.
The ring of clogs on cobbled paving,
Head and shoulders wrapped in shawls.
Stepping from an open doorway,
Answering the weaver’s call.

Street meets street, the shouts of greeting
Mingled with wood and steel clad soles,
The distant mill buzzer blowing,
Another day’s work for a thousand souls.

Walls of houses echoing memories,
Street vendors shouting out their wares.
The cry of children playing hopscotch
Underneath the gas lamp’s glare.
Home made trucks for bringing coal in
From the nearest railway head,
Firebricks heated in the oven
Wrapped in cloth to warm the bed.
Rag rugs made of cast off clothing,
Tin bath hung behind the door,
Had such a full and happy childhood,
Never thought that we were poor.

Terraced house, old and crumbling,
An old man standing at the door,
Listening to distant echoes,
Memories of days of yore.

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