Married on a birthday

Went to a birthday party
in Surrey, Saturday night
took us a while to get there
but that was quite alright

Loud cheers when we got there
the celebrations had begun
so we hurried there to join them
so we'd not miss out the fun

And we found the cheers had purpose
for the birthday and for now
as my brother had got married
on his birthday with a vow

Charles and Geoff now family proper
overjoyed does not come close
celebrating birthday marriage
on this day to juxtapose

I am a proud and elder brother
this is the best news in a while
exuberant jubilation
evident within my smile

©Jemverse

Photo – Emily Rose Croucher – Charles & Geoff Croucher/Hack

42

Things have changed a little
here in Worthing over time
as there was no big wheel here
back in nineteen seventy-nine

Forty-two years passed since then
yet we two still are here
soulmates then and soulmates now
in our forty-second year

They say that love grows stronger over time
well, we'll attest to that
as here we are still holding hands
a total truth in fact

Yes, some things change as years go by
but forever me and you
forty-two years wed and and still
a love steadfast and true

©Jemverse

Photo – Mr and Mrs C – 42 years on – Worthing, July 2021

For Pops

Look at me now Pops, I’m an older man now
I’m past sixty, the years have flown by
That slap in the face
has long turned to grace
yet still on this day I will cry

Nineteenth of February nineteen seventy-four
etched in my mind for all time
The day that you left
leaving family bereft
although all these years later we’re fine

Just four of us left now, Mum with you now
We are older and wiser and free
Yet still we recall
as the years pass and fall
with that promise that one day we’ll see

So this one’s for you Pops, this day I remember
once a year with a glass in the air
As with happiness here
with you share a beer
and the memories happily share

©Jemverse

In loving memory of my father – John Alan Croucher (10/5/34 to 19/2/74)

Forty-three Valentines

Forty-three valentines I have now sent
to my one true love every year
Our love it grows stronger
and may it live longer
I trust as I hold her so dear

And we have been wed forty-two of those years
Soulmates, we two are entwined
So here now from me
here is forty-three
Will you please be my Valentine?

©Jemverse

Photo – Jempics; ‘Heart-stone’ driftwood sculpture – Jemdrift

41

The suit I’d purchased for twenty-five quid
all I could afford at the time
just after my twentieth birthday
my life waiting there on the line

The tie was one of my fathers’
as were the shoes on my feet
His passing was five years too early
to see his son’s wedding complete

Now forty-one years have surrendered
themselves to the life we have led
since that day way back in seventy-nine
when Sally and Jeremy wed

And our love it grows ever stronger
kindred soulmates we are both as one
our life just one big adventure
since that day when it was begun

©Jemverse

Sal & Jem’s wedding day – 7th July 1979 [Photo: Josse Davis – Jem’s best man]

19 February 1974

The knock at the door
I remember it well
though forty-six years have now passed
The vicar right there
with something to share
for a slap in the face that would last

It was anger I felt
with a fist in the air
that my father had left in that way
And I heard not a sound
from that hole in the ground
as I stood on that February day

It’s a picture I have
that years never fade
A boy of fifteen there bereft
Not a word of a lie
quite unable to cry
in spite of the void that was left

But thankfully time
the healer of ills
has mellowed the anger to love
And the man of those years
can now shed the tears
as he thinks of his father above

The slap in the face
has turned to a hug
lingering, precious and mine
and though there’s still sadness
there’s also a gladness
with his memory shared at this time

©Jemverse

Photo – Jempics

[In loving memory of my father – John Alan Croucher – 10/5/34 to 19/2/74]

42 Valentines

Forty-two and counting
Valentines I’ve sent
every one of them sincere
and full of sentiment
Forty-two to the same love
my soulmate true and through
a love that’s shared and deepened
the more years we accrue
Forty-two with every word
each February fourteen passing
meant and sealed with promise
for a love that’s everlasting

©Jemverse

Image – @valentinesdaypk (Twitter)

Companion & Friend (Ruth)

As her eldest son, I wrote this as the eulogy for my late Mother’s life celebration on Friday 14 June last.

Ruth Eunice Shrimpton
Was Croucher, Nee Dainton
is having a whale of a time
So I thought I would capture a bit of her life
for you in some syntax and rhyme

Seven and eighty years is a
good innings to have for a start
And whilst we don’t have the time
for all of that here
These words have come from my heart

So bear with me a while
close your eyes if you like
Travel back in these lines for a bit
As I’ve tried here to capture a life lived in full
and share a little of it

I’ll take you back to the thirties
Ruth’s childhood days
and regale a few of those times
Then on through the years like a film in your heads
all woven into these lines

So let’s make a start
eighty years ago when
life was quite different from now
And though most of you here are younger than that
Cast your mind there with me somehow

Ruth earliest love was a
mongrel called Ted
A white dog with gingery ears
And at five Repton Road another called Gyp
the family dog for some years

Ruth’s Dad was a baker
and in the loft twixt the sacks
Snowdrop the little cat lived
keeping the rodent populace down
until the flour was sieved

And during the war
as the Bristol bombs fell
Tinker the tortoise-shell was
a comfort indeed to a girl in her teens
in the air-raid shelters because

Onto the fifties
and Ruth fell in love
with a graduate of Pharmacy
John Alan Croucher the graduate’s name
Dad to my siblings and me

A move up to Surrey
after two years or so
whilst retaining the West Country twang
And though the years passed Ruth never outgrew
her birth-born Bristolian slang

A couple of examples
to give you a taste
‘PEE-ANO’ for piano for one
Mispronunciation her forte it seemed
as Ruth was never quite done

Charles flew to Miami
a short while ago
and in conversation one day
Pronounced it ‘MEE-ARMY’, made us all laugh
in her own inimitable way

Ruth was a mother
and the fifties and sixties
had seen us four siblings all come
Her love it exuded, kept us all safe
Til our formative years were all done

Dad left in the seventies
His time had arrived
Went to heaven in seventy-four
And then there were five but love it endured
as there was a promise in store

The eighties arrived
and three of us left
But then from Ruth’s distant past
a widower called Tom arrived on the scene
Cupid’s arrow was once again cast

In eighty-five I gave her away
Unusual for a son then to do
But the pleasure was mine
as two hearts entwined
and true love she once again knew

Tom got his doctorate
Grandchildren came
Life knew its joys and its tears
But faith and its wisdom continued to live as it
had in her life through the years

Ruth as a grandma
A match made in heaven
Warm, soft, gentle and kind
are just some of the words they’ve given to me
of the Grandma they have in mind

Ruth was a selfless
woman of peace
with never a thought for herself
Faith to move mountains steadfast in love
in life and in failing health

She was wisdom and patience
and comfort and strength
with a smile that always saw fun
Finding the best in all that she saw
until her last days were done

A wife and a mother
A grandma and friend
A sister, an auntie and more
Ruth Eunice Shrimpton, we all here agree
was a person we call adored

And yes she’ll be missed
there’s no doubt of that
But think of her now if you will
Jumping and dancing and running about
ageless and no longer ill

When she left us
an angel I met at the door
took me aside with a smile
Left me picture to treasure and hold
in my mind’s eye and keep for a while

A rounders match waiting
on a warm summer’s day
And all of the loved ones she’d known
Waiting for Mum as she ran to them now
forever in her Father’s home

My father was there
Tom of course too
and her Mum and her Dad and her brothers
A celebratory game to welcome her home
with the angels and thousands of others

These words then are done
I’ll retake my seat
But leave a request if I may
Please don’t be sad but with Ruth be glad
on this celebratory day

©Jemverse

Photo – Jem of ‘Jemverse’ with his Mum, Winter 2017 – Sally Croucher

I hadn’t thought to publish this tribute to my Mother, who passed on 20 May this year; but know now that I must. Ruth would have wanted me too as it captures the heart of who I am and what I do.

A Sussex view (revisited)

6 of 10 in the Jemverse ‘Sussex’ series

Sun sets on a winter sea
Golden ‘cross wet sand
as we go walking at low tide
as lovers, hand in hand

Obi’s here of course with us
trotting at our feet
His paws wet in the water
and enjoying this fine treat

And though there’s chill upon the air
there’s warmth within the sun
as it sinks beneath the Western sea
now the daytime is all done

By and by we’ll head back home
but for now a lingering stare
across the golden water
as the light, it fades out there

For this is Sussex by the sea
and these view they are our own
Never ceasing to bring wonder
Here in Shoreham, we call home

©Jemverse

Photo – Jempics

Jemverse originally posted ‘A Sussex View’ on 2 February 2019

40

Forty years ago today
I put my white suit on
The one I bought for twenty quid
in Jayson’s Menswear from
And the only tie I think I had
was a black one from my Dad
and a pair of his old shoes
I’d kept since I was just a lad

My best man Josse was with me
and he did his best I think
to help me look presentable
albeit with a wink
And then when we were ready
we walked down Ashby Road
to meet up with the others
from our single room abode

I was just over twenty
but in my heart I really knew
that love had spoken loud
and clear – this was the thing to do
So Sal and I were married
on the seventh of July
And today we celebrate the fact
of forty years gone by

A ruby anniversary
but far more precious is than that
the love that both of us still share
undeniably a fact
So these words are for my soulmate
repeated here anew
Three words I said both then and now
the adage “I love you”

©Jemverse

Photo – Jem & Sal on their wedding day; Saturday 7 July 1979, Loughborough

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