This my village green and pleasant land
Criss crossed by country paths less trod
Here the lonely scarecrows stand
While tractors till the worm rich sod.
As twichers spurn the curlews cry
In search of rarer errant birds
The seagulls ever inland fly
O’er Friesians in their docile herds.
The churches gaze down from on high
Towards the North Sea’s endless theft
Of villages and land as I
Gaze wistfully on what is left.
History was fashioned here
The villagers have Viking roots
But now there’s nothing left to fear
They march along in hiking boots.
It calls me back, this home of mine
Where flat caps are not yet extinct
And flatter yet the land that time forgot
Where Humber and the sea are linked.
One day the sea will have its way
Erosion or the promised flood
Will claim it back and man will pay
The price for living where no people should.
I wrote her name on my pencil case,
And carved it on a tree
Somewhere in East Yorkshire
Back in nineteen sixty three.
The pencil case has long since gone,
But the tree’s still standing there
I placed our names inside a heart
But I can’t imagine where.
Her name I still remember
I still recall her face
But the whereabouts
Of that long lost tree
I simply cannot place.
On Holderness Cliffs I often stand
And gaze down on the waves below.
I muse upon this wave washed land
That so few visit, so few know.
The history of this eroded place;
Whole settlements just washed away
At nature’s own imperious pace
By waves and wind the mud gives way.
On stormy nights to natures theft
Of land hard won and tilled,
Leaving farming folk bereft
The seas vast appetite for earth is filled.
The church at Owthorne it is said
Still rings its bell beneath the waves.
Two miles from here the sunken dead
Still linger in their watery graves.
And Shakespeare spoke of Ravenser
But it as well was washed away.
Where harbour wall and village were
The seaweed and the crabs hold sway.
And soon this cliff on which I stand
Will give in to its watery fate,
And Mappleton will lose its head
For all now here, ‘twill be too late.
I see a wheatfield. What do you see?
Wind blown waves of plenty?
Not me I see myself
Half a lifetime ago,
School uniform cast aside
Wheat flattened down
Partly by design,
Partly by the motion
Of two young bodies
Caught up in the timeless
Embrace that wheat fields
Keep from prying eyes
And have done so since
The first wheat field
And the first two lovers.
It was where he went
When the shouting grew too loud.
It was where he went
When he had to think
And later it began to be
The place where he went to drink.
He pottered, he tinkered
He did what men in sheds do
To escape from the endless bickering
You know how it is, don’t you?
It became his escape
It was where he relaxed.
And it was there
On a bitter Sunday morning
That he went for the last time.
After the funeral
She had it knocked down
So there would be no ghosts.
But sometimes, sometimes
She thought she heard him,
Where no shed now stood,
Wrapping a rope
Round a piece of wood.
I saw the four riders of the Apocalypse
Riding four abreast through St James Park.
They paused near the lake, dismounted
And bought ice creams from the vendor.
Death licked his contemplatively,
Then threw the cone into the water.
They remounted, then trotted slowly off
In the direction of the Mall. Strange.
You don’t normally see ice cream sellers in December.
I began writing poetry whilst working as a station supervisor on the night shift at Holland Park. I started writing about work related issues, but now write about whatever comes into my mind.my work is largely autobiographical, (They say write about what you know: we know ourselves best). I have begun to develop other streams of poetry with a view to performing in poetry clubs in the New Year. I write in a mixture of styles; traditional rhyming forms as well as free verse. I am a work in progress as I am trying to develop my own distinct style. I write poetry because I love the freedom of creating something new and original from a blank page.
Dave reads a selection of his poems from the opening night of 'Out of Uniform'