Last day bussokuseki

And so the last day
What philosophy inspires
to leave us with hope?
As the old fades to the new
and promise leaps to the fore
None, save a prayer for the bold


Picture – ‘Half moon bridge’ by Yoshida Toshi (1940)

The ‘bussokuseki’ is a poetic form of Japanese origin comprising a single 6 non-rhyming line verse with a 575777 syllabic sequencing



Just two days left of the year that has been
and I find myself drifting away
looking back to the past
with a bit of a blast
on twenty-one's last but one day

It's been one of pandemic but also of hope
triple boosted at its end as I am
I have exercised care
and am proud to share
I'm as healthy as I think I can

It saw six months of lockdown as we all worked from home
not that it much bothered me
as I still kept in touch
whilst not travelling much
and by vaccine remained Covid-free

And then came the freedom we had all waited for
as we slowly came back to the light
started driving our cars
and going to bars
staying out from morning to night

The summer months welcome as doors opened wide
and freedom seemed once again here
yet caution remained
with that freedom regained
as the atmosphere started to clear

Then the Omicron variant, a kick in the teeth
arrived as the year reached its end
two years of pandemic
evidentially endemic
though Christmas would still be a friend

Twenty one, will we miss it? Quite probably, not
as we look optimistic ahead
new year new beginning
as still there is singing
as we put the old one to bed

And hope again beckons as always it does
for the promise that all of us need
so may twenty two be
the one to set free
on that everyone is agreed


Photo – Emily Rose Croucher

Free writing #1

I had no words this morning
at least none written down
my poems book page empty
the one I carry round
but then it's been so busy
and the house is not our own
sharing it with offspring
now older and full grown

So much preoccupation
excitement, laughter, joy
and little time left over
for a poet to employ
the tools his craft lays open
to capture what life brings
though always left is memory
amongst those precious things

That and the social media
around us everywhere
capturing the moments
that we always freely share
so when on days like this 
when free writing is my thing
I'm grateful for that gift
as some lines it's sure to bring

So though I had no words
at least none written down
there's always some uplifting
and rarely cause to frown
As a snapshot someone's taken
like this one is a gift
which crafted by the poet
will bring the words to lift


Photo – Bezza Croucher

Drifting away

Red Snapper Mojo floating
I'm here, relaxed and me
listening to the stereo
the perfect place to be

Life goes on around about
and I'm ok with that
as I am in my element
chilled out to be exact

This laidback jazz is perfect
for the mood I'm in right now
leave the world behind me
which feels just right somehow

Perhaps I'll close my eyes
and drift away a while
cos these tunes are pretty perfect
for a snoozing with a smile


Photo – Jempics

If you could

Went for a walk
on the beach by the sea
December winds blowing
but lovely to be
in this place that we love
close by where we live
which pleasure on pleasure
it will always give

For no matter the season
or time of year
we visit these shores
we always find cheer

There's a 'je ne sais quoi'
intangible there
which with grace abundant
it's happy to share
so we oft partake
a no-brainer to do
which I'm sure you'll agree
if you could, you would too


Photo – Jempics

Incumbent of grace

The best thing about Christmas
especially this year
above all the frolics
and laughter and cheer
and the fact we have made it
despite the pandemic
testament to the spirit
of people endemic
is the absolute pleasure
we can have here for free
the being together
as one family
all seven right here
at this time in this place
the best present ever
incumbent of grace


Photo – Ed Croucher (from left to right – Jem, Bezza, Sal, Grace, Lee, Emily & Ed)

Paddle boarding Santas

On Christmas day in Shoreham
five hundred santas gathered
for a paddle on the Adur
though some were fairly blathered
and with paddle boards a-plenty
the red there and the white
made for this Christmas day right here
a truly lovely sight

It brought as it intended
a smile to every face
who stood to watch them paddle
in this very special place
and it said by words through action
that whatever life may bring
joy and laughter here at Christmas
is the most important thing


Photo – Jempics

Christmas Eve

5 of 5 in the Jemverse series ‘The week before Christmas’

Christmas Eve Friday is here at long last
let the japes and the cheer now begin
for this family together
as it has now forever
is bursting with laughter and grin

For this is our happiness and nothing less
cathartic and wondrous and free
all six here as one
for plenty of fun
to share with this great family


Photo – Jempics


4 of 5 in ‘The week before Christmas’ series from Jemverse

Twenty-third of December, just two days to go
and everything's ready I'd say
The Crouchers are coming
the house is a-humming
for the absolute best Christmas day

Twenty-third of December, just two days to go
we have food and presents galore
and never say never
we six are together
to show just what Christmas is for


Photo – Jempics

Reluctant Reindeer

3 of 5 in ‘The week before Christmas’ series from Jemverse

The Houndie House sled has been up now for weeks
for reindeer dogs to pose by
but whenever we go
our reindeer says 'no'
so we'll make do with this with a sigh


Photo – Jempics

[Houndie House is a safe dog-walking field we visit weekly in Sussex]

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