The silence of ancient walls

Beside old Railway Gardens this old flint wall has stood
built two hundred years ago but still it's looking good
And if its stones could talk and tell the history of the years
of Shoreham since the railway came of all those toils and tears
What a merry tale that would be for us who live
in this town beside the sea and what we wouldn't give
For history books are great to have but the interesting essence
can only come from something that has stood from past to present
So sadly we will never know for these old walls are still
and silent from the years they've seen as they forever will

©Jemverse

Photo – the old walkway, Railway Gardens, Shoreham, West Sussex – Jempics

Days gone

In Regency Square
where once stood the Pier
Victorian splendour
still evident here
but time has moved on
and the 360 high
is now the feature
high up in the sky

Yet standing here now
the future I hold
is recalling the heyday
('cos yes, I'm that old)
when the West Pier still stood
as a visual feast
besting the new one
a mile to the east

And none of the brash
we see here today
was even a thought
to get in our way
Slower those days
I think then than now
and I can't help but feel
we've lost something somehow

But though those days are gone
mind's eyes' not prevented
from memories clear
and with that I'm contented
For in Regency Square
I still stand and can here
see those halcyon days
when still stood the West Pier

©Jemverse

Photo – Brighton’s i-360 tower from Regency Square – Jempics

Buckingham House

As a boy I used to play here
inside the burnt out walls
playing hide n seek and other games
within its hallowed halls

Once we ventured to the basement
down dark and dusty stair
oblivious to danger
with innocence to dare

But now all these years later
it is a block of flats
although the outside walls remain
preserved and still intact

A part of Shoreham's history
with reminder of the past
and with thanks to planning foresight
that memory here will last

And yet there is a sadness
of the grandeur now long lost
a testament to passing years
and scandalous the cost

For this history lest protected
will vanish without trace
unless we have the foresight
to preserve it now with grace

©Jemverse

Photo – South elevation of Shoreham’s old Buckingham House, West Sussex, UK – Jempics

The original Buckingham House was built in 1655 but extensively remodelled in 1808. When it’s last owner passed away in 1905 it was left empty until 1910 when dry rot and fire destroyed it. The remains were in ruins until 1962/63 when plans for the new and still existing Woodview Court were proposed within its north and west elevations. Building of the new flats was completed in the late 1960s, the east and south elevations preserved as a part of the planning permission granted.

The last West Pier

You'd never think from how it looks
that many years ago
the boards of this forgotten pier
I walked down oft and slow
Derelict for forty years
and then destroyed by fire
the skeletal remains now stand
as its last funeral pyre
Brighton's West Pier still it's called
but you'll need imagination
to picture how grand once it was
from this last iteration

©Jemverse

Photo – Jempics

Old and new (haiku)

Through the grandiose
a glimpse of today’s Brighton
History merges

©Jemverse

Photo – Jempics

Stopham Bridge III

In Sussex there’s a bridge
Built in fourteen twenty-two
now closing on six hundred years
since its fine stones were new
It spans the river Arun
near Stopham Village where
it’s provided here a crossing
for local folk to share

And it is I think my favourite place
in Sussex where I live
somewhere I’ll return to and
to it my homage give
For it brings me an exuberance
of pure unbridled joy
I’ve had the pleasure of repeating
ever since I was a boy

©Jemverse

Photo – Stopham Bridge, Sussex, UK – Jempics

The Square Tower

Where once King Henry the Eighth resided
overlooking the Solent right there
In Portsmouth old city on the sea wall
still stands the Tower of Square

Smoke Fairies played here into the night
for our pleasure at the end of their tour
with rhythm and music and flair and aplomb
to our echoing shouts of ‘encore’

And in twelfth century walls built thick for defence
like Henry we danced with the power
to different purpose eight centuries past
but still in Old Portsmouth’s Square Tower

©Jemverse

Photo – The Square Tower, Old Portsmouth – on 9 February –  the last leg of the ‘Smoke Fairies’ 2020 UK tour

The Square Tower was built in 1494 as part of the fortifications and served as a home to the Governor of Portsmouth. In 1584, it was converted to a gunpowder store, the governor having moved to a residence next to the Garrison Church. At the time of the royalist surrender of Portsmouth at the end of the Siege of Portsmouth during the English Civil War 1200 barrels of gunpowder were stored in the tower; the royalists were able to use the threat of detonating the store as a bargaining chip during the negotiations leading up to the surrender. It’s unlikely that Henry VIII ever lived there – but he would almost certainly have visited.

Bignor

Two Roman villas
Two Mondays past
we’ve visited and found several ways
to lose ourselves here
with plenty of cheer
a cure for any malaise

Bignor this time
Mosaics again
under thatch to par excellence
Discovered when farming
at the time quite alarming
in the nineteenth century perchance

Had the place to ourselves
with no-one else here
so we took time to take it all in
Inspired here to capture
in awe and some rapture
this Bignor palace will bring

We took lots of pictures
with details to use
in things that we make when back home
Sculptures and drawings
of mosaic floorings
that antiquity to us has shown

©Jemverse

Photo – detail from a 2nd century mosaic floor, Bignor, Sussex, UK – Jempics

Fishbourne

And so it was with Romans
Fishbourne finally today
saw Sal and I this morning
venture out and come this way
England’s mosaic glory
tessellated on the ground
tells a tale of history
when in the sixties found
And now this treasure prospers
revealed for all to see
Especially today for
my soulmate Sal and me

©Jemverse

Laid in AD 160, this is the mosaic floor of one of the main dining rooms in the north wing of Fishbourne Roman palace, near Chichester in West Sussex. Discovered by accident in 1960 during the laying of a mains water pipe, excavations have since revealed it to be the largest Roman palace in the UK. [Photo – Jempics]

Gone

When I was last in Cardiff
the old hotel was there
Boarded up and derelict
yet still with life to share

But now it’s been demolished
leaving just an empty space
Its bygone age has left us
with a sadness in its place

So I’m pleased I took a photo
when I was last down here
For a memory to capture
something which I now hold dear

©Jemverse

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