Category Archives: Poetry

Adlestrop (Edward Thomas) and my accompanying verse.

A Sequence in homage to Edward Thomas’ Adlestrop

1.
Like a Bullet Train
Through the heart of my country:
Your words travelled at speeds
Beyond my belief.

On the surface, overland
They said one thing;
But, they were saying something
Deeper, darker, underneath.

I felt their bite
As they hurtled through my station;
And, although they failed to stop,
Their passing left me changed,
Like Adlestrop.

—-

2a.
You are not really a poet
Unless you’ve been to Adlestrop;
It’s an old, abandoned station,
Where the trains don’t stop;
So, don’t think you’re smart

With your beat-box rhymes
And your new hip-hop;
Because, you are really ‘not’ a poet
Until you’ve been to Adlestrop.

2b.

I Stopped at Adlestrop
For a very short while
Had to clear some memory on my phone
In order to capture the moment
And then someone else needed to stop there
For a photographic potpourri;
And the bees buzzed,
And carried on their way;
As I carried on mine,
After an all-to-short stop
At a place with a name
And a bench with a poem upon it.

Edward’s Adlestrop has changed,
As everything does in time,
No train stopped
Or pulled away
From Adlestrop
On that sunny July day.

—-

3.

Adlestrop by Edward Thomas
Yes. I remember Adlestrop

The name, because one afternoon

Of heat, the express-train drew up there

Unwontedly. It was late June.
The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.

No one left and no one came

On the bare platform. What I saw

Was Adlestrop—only the name
And willows, willow-herb, and grass,

And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,

No whit less still and lonely fair

Than the high cloudlets in the sky.
And for that minute a blackbird sang

Close by, and round him, mistier,

Farther and farther, all the birds

Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

—-


4.
Return to Adlestrop – Graeme Sandford

“Adlestrop!

I can’t sell you a ticket to Adlestrop!
There’s no station there, and the train won’t stop
It’s been a long time since Adlestrop
was there at all, There’s no way you’ll be reaching
that destination, since Beeching removed the station.
He took out the heart of the railway nation – seemingly with elation.

Adlestrop!

I can do you a return to Kingham
or Moreton in Marsh, sir.
But there’s nothing closer
I know it’s harsh
to lose such a place,
it’s a proper disgrace,
almost an ‘improper’ disgrace,
and you can tell I’m upset
by the look on my face.

Adlestrop!”

—-

Did you miss me?

Well, did you miss me?

And my silly little rhymes?

Sorry for the lack.

Sometimes you have to refuel,

and your health is important.

Jack the Fruit – (a flash in under 500 words – not including the title)

Jack was a fruit.

Not a specific fruit,

like an Orange, Apple, or Pear;

or a rare fruit,

such as a Physalis, Durian

or the Mighty Horned Cucumber;

he wasn’t even a Tomato – which is a fruit.

Jack was ‘all’ fruits,

though not all at once,

for that would certainly be a fruit cocktail to confuse.

One Monday, last month, Jack had been a Lemon. The next day he was a Gooseberry; and this caused quite some confusion.

Jack the Lemon had had a lovely chat with Sally Strawberry; when he met Sally on Tuesday, she didn’t recognise him – for he was now Jack the Gooseberry. This caused problems for Jack and embarrassment all around.

Sometimes, when Jack was nervous, he would change fruits ‘during’ the day – and occasionally more than once – talking with Bella Banana had been the worst, Jack had changed into a Banana, and Bella had fallen for the unexpected stranger in her life, although she preferred Jack the Plum, but he had seemingly left the building – a Shoe Shop – and was never heard of again.

Finally, Jack was found close to tears, having lost the friendship of Bella Banana, Cindy Cherry, and Polly Peach all within a week.

Archie Apple saw a Lime in a corner that seemed to be crying and almost sobbing in despair.

“What is wrong, Friend Lime?” asked Archie.

Between sobs and tears, Jack the Lime answered, 

“I keep on changing from fruit to fruit, and I can’t keep a steady relationship. One day I’m a Prune Plum, the next day I’m a Manila Mango!”

The tears fell down Jack’s face and started pooling around him, creating himself as his own island.

“Listen… I didn’t catch your name?” said Archie.

“Jack.” said the woeful Lime.

“Listen, Jack; all I can say is be yourself, and perhaps wear this T-Shirt that I fortuitously found just over there.” he pointed. “It looks about your size.”

Archie handed the T-Shirt to Jack.

“It’s a magical T-Shirt that stops the wearer from changing into a different species, be it animal, mineral or vegetable. Or fruit.” 

Archie smiled benignly.

“Actually, Jack, I am your fairy godmother – I knitted you that T-Shirt myself.”

Jack popped the T-Shirt on and went to look at himself in a nearby mirror.

“Do I have to wear this always?” asked Jack.

“If you wear it three days running, it will be upon you forever, and you will stay as that fruit until the end of fruit days. So, this means that you can choose which fruit you’d like to be.” Archie disappeared in a puff of smoke – as fairy godmothers tend to do.

“Archie had stopped crying. He knew which fruit he would like to be. And all he had to do was put his magical T-Shirt on the next time that he became that fruit.

It couldn’t be that long before he was a lemon again, could it.

And Sally Strawberry might still be waiting for him.

This is not…

This is not a haiku,

or a love song –

so deal with it.

Chapter 3: The Groping City.

When a city

loses its focus,

and can’t be seen

for what it once was,

what are its occupants to do?

Higgledy-piggledy the little piggies go,

carefully tripping over unseen obstacles,

and seeking things they do not know.

The one or two ‘lucky’ ones

that retain their sight,

see such calamities,

that cannot be put right.

Bill Masen was one,

Josella another;

their paths crossing

led to salvation for each other.

Although not straightforward,

with life plot twists and woe,

it takes a deal of anguish

for a complete bond to grow.

And the blind lead the blind,

to see what next they can find.

Chapter 2: The Coming of the Triffids

Triffids are as unlikely,

or as likely,

a creature to exist, as any other.

Though the fact that they should bear some resemblance

to the few carnivorous plants that there are,

and that they are so inclined to perambulate

in search of human flesh,

is something that doesn’t bear a lot of thought.

Thinking about how they arrived upon this planet,

it is less through the comets’ antics,

and more about the designs of Mankind

to create a super-oil producing vegetable.

Or so the story goes.

Seeds, stolen from the Russians (allegedly)

were scattered upon the four winds (I thought there were more) and found their way to the four corners of the world (I thought there were fewer). Thus were sown the seeds, literally, for Mankind’s downfall.

If only they could have seen that.

Chapter 1: The End Begins

Whether it is the beginning of the end,

or the end of the beginning,

I can only say that,

it began to end

on Tuesday, 7th May,

in a year unspecified*,

with green flashes in the sky,

possibly from comets

passing by –

possibly not.

Anyway, that was when

it all began,

to end.

*1901, 07, 12, 18, 29, 35, 40, 46, 57, 63, and 68

are possible years

in the last century,

when this fictional tale

may have taken place;

but, only if you infuse –

or use –

a little reality

into proceedings.

Do the Triffid Shuffle?

It gave me the option

to shuffle

the seventeen audiobook episodes

of ‘The Day of the Triffids’

by John Wyndham.

How that would have effected the outcome

of the story,

I am not sure,

but, I think that

maybe ending on a Wednesday

that seemed more like a Sunday

than Sunday itself,

is a fine place to end…

or maybe not.

On the beach

Three little dogs,

twelve little feet,

one virginal beach,

as the tide moves out of reach.

Given no note than a few minutes

of running to and fro,

there is no part of the revealed sand

that doesn’t have a paw-print show.

Holes have been dug,

ragged rocks run ‘round,

and all can be discovered

from the tracks on the ground.

Three tired dogs,

twelve tired legs,

“We deserve a biscuit treat!”

the spokesdog says.

Triffid numbers

Friday, June 17th.

With five triffids awaiting us at the front of the house, and one solitary fellow at the rear, we have become something of a cooped goose. We can still look out at them enquiringly from behind our upstairs windows, but feel that their presence, and their depth of patience, will outlast our limited food supplies. They are already mounting pressure upon the wooden porch that precursors access to the rest of the house – ‘How long will that stand against their efforts? is a question that we are continuously asking ourselves.