St Lawrence’s Lament

Deconsecrated hallowed walls to commercial gain
Shamefaced the stone walls weep
The ageing tower crenels kiss the sky
and now glazed windows
arch to residential pews

Adjacent still, forlorn the church school doors
etched into stone now hide
the jubilant voice of eager learning
faded into silent time
closed to commercial mind

Yet still an echo calls from  passing years
religion's words still cry
to this edifice, a monument to former days
saved from demolishment
from those now re-interred


Photo – Jempics

[St Lawrence’s church was built in the 15th century with 18th and 19th century additions. It was deconsecrated in the early 1960s and had become derelict until 2021 when it became part of the Ballymore led Brentford re-development project. As a part of the re-development, 850 bodies including the Commonwealth graves of two First World War heroes, victims of the 1642 civil war Battle of Brentford and builders of the Grand Union Canal in the 19th century were exhumed and re-interred in a Woking cemetery. The ex-church building has now been remodelled to provide luxury housing].


Brentford Ait fading

There's an abandoned tug listing to port
moored up near Brentford Ait
it's been quite a while since anyone cared
so it's in quite a terrible state

There's a wolf on the bow so there was some intent
at a time for it boldly to go
perhaps plying for trade on Old Father Thames
on the water to go with the flow

But those days are gone long time now I fear
and the listing says more than words can
that this once proud lady now slips away
from the time she proudly began


Photo – Jempics

Brentford Ait is a four and half acre uninhabited island on the river Thames.

The sunflower is mine

I met Vincent in a painting
there was yellow everywhere
two men who loved the sunshine
for a synergy right there

Cathartic was the moment
though he's no longer here
but the colour in his painting
still brings to us good cheer

And being in that moment
with his life's work on the wall
projected light in motion
I with Vincent stood there tall


Photo – Emily Rose Croucher

[Van Gogh Alive is an interactive experience of Vincent’s life work in sound and motion which combines projected images of his paintings onto huge screens, ceilings and floors together with quotes from his letters and compatriots. There are animations and stills, extracts and full works all condensed into a 45-minute rolling programme showcasing his prolific 2,010 work repertoire created mostly during the last two years of his short 37-year life, The experience showcased in Brighton as a part of the 2023 Arts Festival].


With Venus shining in the sky
for Galetea a sunset gleamed
and sixteenth century playwright vibes
descended to the place it seemed

the message loud and clear
spoken, signed and acted
whilst the crowd applauded here

And as dusk fell into nightfall
with shadows gathered long
the yield of epilogue spoke true
of love's all-conquering song


Photo – Jempics (the bright glow in the centre is Venus in the Western sky over Shoreham)

[Galatea is an epic tale of love, transformation and acceptance, written by John Lyly in the 1580s and adapted for the 21st century by Emma Frankland, an award-winning LGBTQIA theatre-maker and performer. Galatea premiered at the 2023 Brighton Festival on Shoreham recreation ground in the week ending 20th May]


The week that's passed, I believe will be
the penultimate week I'm away
on business for the work that I do
hip hip hip, hooray!

I know that I won't miss this thing
these business trips and travel.
One less small inconvenience
I'll not need to unravel

And yes I've seen the country
on the journeys I have known
but, truth be told, I'd rather
stay comfortable at home

So now that this penultimate
week away I can now shun
it's one more item off the list
ticked and checked and done


Photo – the inside of Kings Cross station, London – Jempics

The zest that gleamed

In the quiet a moment reconciled
as with some whimsy there I smiled
remembering my inner child
and captured it as memory filed

In the quiet before the day had started
I pondered brief what had departed
recollections I had started
some replete and some half-hearted

In the quiet as sunshine outside beamed
I knew within that what had seemed
to be a moment I had dreamed
was actually the zest that gleamed


Photo – Jempics

Tackling the jungle

Enough's enough so here we go
into the jungle at the rear
aka our back garden which
is really overdue a clear

We've rather let it go of late
and with springtime zest it's grown
into an erstwhile jungle
from the garden we have known

But armed with determination
and some shears we will reclaim
it back from something overgrown
to a garden once again


Photo – Jempics

The day of sunshine smiles

There in the grass the colour shone
here for a time before they're gone
the pinks and yellows beamed upon
a day of sunshine smiles

It was exquisite, erudite
a picture here to underwrite
the evidence here in my sight
a day of sunshine smiles


Photo – Sally Croucher

Bluebell Loop

Bluebell by name and bluebell by nature
the walk was the best in a while
Seven miles wandering the countryside pure
in Sussex to bring us a smile

Five of us this time, numbers have swelled
the family out here together
with mud underfoot and grey of the sky
determined whatever the weather

We took in the woods with the blue and the green
passing paddocks and ponds on the way
before walking the tracks yesteryear provides still
the proud Sussex Bluebell Railway

And our pleasure was crowned with a glory right there
as a train puffered by with a song
the rhythm of steam and the clatter of wheels
it passed us as we walked along

So to the Green Man at Hosted Keynes where
footsore we raised glasses with cheer
A walk we'll remember as special indeed
which long in our hearts we'll hold dear


Photo – Jempics

[The Bluebell Railway is an 11-mile heritage steam railway line in Sussex which operates between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead (on the mainline) with intermediate stations at Horsted Keynes and Kingscote. It boasts over 30 steam locomotives and 150 carriages and wagons, most of them pre-1939].


Coronation Day (aka ‘Charlie’s big hat)

It rained for the Coronation, puddles everywhere
but that didn't stop the nation with its pageantry to share
Most of us just stayed indoors to watch it on TV
a rarity in fifty-two but not in twenty-three

I heard that on Hove lawns a giant screen erected
but the precipitation meant that just a few selected
to brave out there the elements early May has gifted
though on this special day most spirits still were lifted

And it really didn't matter if you were Royalist or not
for this was history in the making and for all of us our lot
A once in almost any lifetime thing upon this day
the Coronation of a king on this the sixth of May


Photo – Charlie’s big hat – Jempics (the moment of Coronation – 6 May 2023)

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