Redwood gone

In October red I paused beneath
its lofty heights in wonder
at the absolute magnificence
of this redwood tree asunder

So imagine my dismay today
to find that storms with thunder
and a lightning strike reduced it
to a stump and piles of lumber

Yes, there's like still there but
its pride is lost for good
a sad, contrite reminder
of a once proud tall redwood


Photos – Jempics

This what the Redwood at Sheffield Park in Sussex looked like back in October 2022. It had towered over the landscape for over 140 years but the top was blown away by a lightning strike in a storm on Wednesday 16 November 2022. The team at the park are now looking to how best manage both the tree and the land around it to give it the best chance of survival. The plan is to work with natural processes to see it can take on new shoots and growth over the next couple of months and years. As a start to that, the felled topmost part of the tree has been mulched and added to the ground around the base of its remainder.

Beechings Blunder III

Forlorn now this iron leads to nowhere
save to a shortsighted whim
synonymous to abandoned towns
where Beeching's blunder echos still

Yet testament still here they lie
as memory fades with brittle truth reminder
tracking to long lost connections
and a politician's gain


Photo – aging tracks from the Barcombe line, closed following the Beeching cuts in 1969 – Jempics


Framed by aging iron posts
the ancient steps behind
the padlocked gate lead nowhere
(least no place I could find)

Mysterious the setting
with the undergrowth and tree
left me puzzled and a-wondering
at what it all could mean

For the craftsmanship precision
was indicative for sure
the steps once led to somewhere
so I just craved for more

Sadly though the mystery
remained unanswered there that day
so I left behind the puzzlegate
as I continued on my way


Photo – mystery gate to nowhere – Anchor Lane, Barcombe Mills, East Sussex – Jempics [the only clue is evidence of a walled garden some distance to the north of the gate, suggesting the path behind has long-since become overgrown]


No. 4 in the ‘Colloquy’ series

We coddiwompled in the mud
up at Barcombe Mills
all eight of us together
amidst the Sussex hills

The rain held off but underfoot
the mud was thick and wet
but we all had the best of times
so never cause to fret

The Anchor Inn was closed
but we really didn't mind
as this was just the perfect walk
coddiwompling here to find


Photo – “The Beans at Barcombe – December 2022” – Jempics

[In the ‘Colloquy’ series, I’m exploring some the of English language’s more obscure words. Some little used, some no longer used but all recondite. ‘Coddiwomple’ is slang for travelling in a purposeful way towards a vague destination]

Wander for the day

Planned a walk, it was quite far
but the views would be spectacular
so there was little here to mar
our wander for the day

Yes, we'll be out for several hours
so hoping for some sun not showers
to claim the day and make it ours
in every single way

The cliffs are tall and will be steep
with valleys in between quite deep
all forging memories to keep
which will for all time stay

So we our best foot forward will
forge right ahead in winter chill
as it's just seven days until
our wander for the day


Photo – the South Downs Way in Sussex over ‘The Seven Sisters’ – approaching Birling Gap – Jempics

Bringing Smiles

[#16 in the ‘Past to Present’ series from Jemverse]

One hundred sixteen years ago
'Old B' he wrote some lines
and sent them to Molteno
in those now long distant times
I can't quite read his writing
but I know so well the scene
on the postcard that he used
as it is a place I've been

My hometown, Shoreham, Sussex coast
though things have changed a tad
my home since the mid sixties
when I was just a lad
And this little piece of cardboard
though it's travelled many miles
still serves the purpose given
as it still keeps bringing smiles


[Photo – of a postcard in the author’s collection].

William Henry Borrow (the artist) was 19th century English watercolorist who worked largely in Sussex between 1863 and 1893. This postcard, postmarked Bexhill-on-Sea (Sussex) on May 10 1906 and Molteno (South Africa) on 31 May 1906, is notable as it has travelled from Shoreham to South Africa and back to Shoreham again, 116 years after it was first purchased, written and sent.


Seven Sisters, South Downs Way
high up on Short Brow
looking back to Cuckmere Haven
the sun before me now
Perfect walks were made for this 
and breathing deep the air
I laughed aloud with thankfulness
for simply being there


Photo – the view of the Cuckmere Haven river valley from the top of Short Brow, Seven Sisters, South Downs Way, Sussex – Jempics

Pillbox Pond

Across Springfield by Skyglade
above the Amos brook
the pillbox by the millpond
was worth a second look
Nestled underneath the trees
its brickwork overgrown
a peaceful life from brutal years
for seven decades known


Photo – World War II pillbox – Ouse Valley, Sussex – Jempics

October Snooze

Down from fourteen acre pond
in the valley by the Ouse
I sat and had a sandwich
and a sherbert and a snooze
And yes, it's late October
but you'd never credit that
as the warmth in this fine meadow
feels like summer for a fact
There's no-one else around me
save for sheep in the next field
so I'm quite within my element
in the heart of Sussex Weald


Photo – Jempics

Time for a wander

It's been a while since I wandered out in the land
that Sussex affords in its landscape so grand
so today in my boots with my compass in hand
I ventured out there again

The sunshine was warm in an Autumn blue sky
with occasional clouds floating lazily by
so with inclemency low and good weather high
I ventured out there again

And the time that I had on the meadow and hill
did my heart proud and will stay with me still
pending the moment I'll again need to fill
when I venture out there again


Photo – Sally Croucher

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