Small Boat

Sad, bereft, alone, forgotten

Small boat on the bank

It’s final resting place remains

From the day it sank

Rotting and its old paint faded

Graffiti now replaces

Vacant eyes look to the water

Holes with tattered spaces

Water-filled as high tide turns

It has seen better days

A sad and trite reminder

Of a fatal summer blaze

©Jemverse (November 2005)

The Pier

Yellow and burning in the night

A sad testimony to a bygone age

Proud it might be

Of its glitz and glamour

Of its city status

And nouveaux riche citadels by the sea

But its grandeur has gone

The calming pleasure of a promenade,

The simple delight of taking the air

Distant are these memories now

And an elderly lady

Her prime like those halcyon days now bereft and lost

Is painfully prohibited

From passing gracefully away.


©Jemverse (February 2003)




Mr & Mrs Blue Mercedes

Arrive at the same time every day

He with horn-rimmed spectacles

She with sprayed on paint

Usually with an argument

But always arm in arm

Hiding ‘neath the make-up

Smiles to public charm.

But once, when it was raining

Gallantry displayed

He hoisted an umbrella to prevent

Her face from getting sprayed


Then there’s Mr Banker man

(I’m being careful what I say)

He with great green coat and hat

And an FT every day.

He who absent mindedly

Stepped heavy on my foot

With a scowl as if to warn me

Where my feet I put

I know he’s Mr Banker man

‘Cos he has a Nat West case

Yet perhaps there’s a more appropriate word

For him and his scowling face.


But then there’s always young Miss Cheery Smile

To take my mind off of such things

She who knows ‘most everyone

As with pearlescent teeth she sings

A happy word to all of us

Travelling on the seven oh two

Sending us smiling on our way

In whatever it is we do

(Apart from Mr Great Green Scowling Banker –

From her charm he is immune –

He’s too wrapped up in something’s he’s read

In his FT I assume)


©Jemverse (March 2005)

From Chanctonbury Hill

The proud, long vista of Sussex Weald

Seen from Chanctonbury Hill

Many times this splendour witnessed

Yet catches my breath still

©Jemverse (April 2013)

As well as living next to the sea, I am also fortunate to live within walking distance of one of the UK’s most breathtaking walking trails – the South Downs Way. One of my favourite walks – ordinarily with my younger brother Dave – is a route over the hills from a small hamlet called Botolphs, over the downs following part of another trail called ‘The Monarch’s Way’ and part of the South Downs Way to a hill fort known as ‘Chanctonbury’. This is topped by a ring of beech trees – unfortunately decimated in a hurricane in the late 1980’s, but now struggling back to a shadow of its former glory – and commands a breathtaking view over the Sussex Weald. It is a view I never tire of, hence these brief but heartfelt words.

What the sun does

Yellow, warming, lifts my soul

Catches me and comforts. Gives me strength

Encourages smiles when smiles are scarce.

Breathes contentment.

It is a friend, closer in the summertime;

More distant in winter chill. But always there.

Always listening. Always rooting for my best interests.

It is lavender and jasmine and honeysuckle

Combined and lingering in the evening air.

©Jemverse (September 2013)


I played on a cold November morning
Banging my drum to the crowd
As the Lord Mayor laughed and applauded
And the band played on long and loud
I played at a warm Spring gathering
Regalia turquoise and white
The people smiled, warm with the sunshine
And the band made a colourful sight
I played at a late summer festival
The dancers danced on the quay
The village couldn’t quite fit another soul in
As the band performed by the sea
I played both winter and summer
My smile as big as my drum
In Shoreham’s Beach Bateria
Parading out in the sun

©Jemverse (June 2004)

Between late 1999 and early 2010 I played a bass surdo (a 24 inch drum) in a samba band based in my home town of Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, UK. In its heyday the band numbered over 40 sambistas (players) and 20 dancers. We played at numerous summer and winter festivals, parades and carnival events in Southern England including the London Lord Mayor’s show, Brighton Pride and the world famous Emsworth food festival. Although I’m no longer a sambista, this poem captures something of the  smiles the band gave both me and the many thousands who heard and watched us play.

Capturing a smile

I watched a seagull on the shoreline today
And, as he went soaring, I believe I was heard to say
That this singular moment was spectacular
Probably to myself and no-one in particular
Because, apart from the lapping sea
And an empty expanse of sand
And the seagull up in the sky
I was alone in that moment, and
It was special, exquisite, a captured smile
Lingering with the taste of salt on my lips for a while

©Jemverse (June 2001)

Being there

We have a special privilege
And live in easy reach
Because when summer evenings beckon
We can nip down to the beach
Splash a little in the water
Have a cup of tea
Soak up a bit of sunshine
Listen to the sea
Dust off all the cobwebs
Breathe in the fresh air
Revel in the pleasure
We have by being there.

©Jemverse (May 2001)

Treasure Trove

Faded now like a clouded mirror, orange themed flock wallpaper
And a feint fragrance of breakfast and summer and scraped knees
Bare feet in the cold utility room, stone cobbles and dandelion fronds on the breeze
All these treasures stored but no cobwebs here
For they are like gold to capture and seize
Retained for a moment for a mind to set free

©Jemverse (May 2001)


Blue in meadow,Springtime green
Open window, Bright sunbeam
Weather warming, Yellow too
Sunshine beckons, Pastel hue
Grass grows longer, Green abounds
Flowers appearing, Summer sounds
Cold winds fading, Warmer breeze
Waves receding, Paddling seas
Beach huts open, Sandals out
Summer’s here, Without a doubt

©Jemverse (April 2014)

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