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Poems from the WEA Irish Literature Course in Petts Wood I’m fine, thanks “I’m fine, thanks”, is what I usually say when friends drop by and pass the time of day and so it seems most all the time its so although my bones do tell me that I’m rather old and my feet no longer do what they are told. Through changing moods, seasons and events Life holds surprises, trivial, tragic and immense To hold the attention and interest of each day. Our politicians fume and fret to find new ways to solve our gargantuan debt. and a cold wet winter keeps the spring at bay. And then one morning green has turned to sparkling white and all the land a solemn stillness holds trees, gardens, roofs bear their uninvited burden of new snow, no trains, no cars, no planes disturb the scene the working world becomes a place on hold and nature battens down against the stiffening cold. The spell is broken by children’s laughter and squeals of delight the way to school breaks into a snowball fighta mother, with a buggy in one hand and a snowball in the other,

defends her fight with her toddler foe and love flies through the air the child to mother. Indoors, it’s cosy and serene, and safe from winter’s shock and thoughts then turn to what the freezer has in stock bread, milk, anything more? I’m fine thanks, to the neighbour at the door. There’s comfort, pleasure and blessing in this mutual caring between neighbours interested, and sharing. Days and nights continue with no change this prolonged snow and bitter cold is really ratherstrange. At last, one day, white has now turned to speckled green and midst the blades of grass new spikes of white can now be seen the snowdrops are returning here once more. “February Maidens” the first few flowers to greet us who can resist praising this pure and simple nodding bell to peer inside and mark each green-striped dell? How do they know the time to rise through crunching earth to give us such delight. Spring is returning, the days lengthen, and there is newlight! Traffic again trains now to the city engines buzz and wheels rotate.

Unless we hurry we shall all be late. Normality is here once more. And I’m fine, thanks‌really. Margaret Clark

Haikus I loved you dearly There is avoid that only Memory canfill J Green Signs ofspring I see Yellow dancingdaffodils Underneath mywindow. J. B

Sun steals inmy room A new andexciting day greets me Time to riseand shine. J.B

Wartime experience of a young child Fell asleep in the House and woke in a shelter In the front garden Ann Crowe

My Farringdon Memory And I remember Faringdon, during those September days The word, like Conrad's Congo ivory, rang in the air. And I remember a cold grey morning and a voice, My mother's voice, "Get up quickly, the car is here." And I well remember the big chocolate brown car at the end of the drive, Seen atop my father's shoulders. After that I remember the drivers voice, "We are doing sixty miles and hour." Something to boast of to my friends I thought. And then waking outside an old cottage and hearing my mother saying: "We are going to stay with your grandmother for a little while." And my grandmother seemed very large and very jolly. And the cottage seemed very small and full of spiders. The spiders were my most vivid memory of Faringdon.. John Allen

Perivale I remember Perivale Between Hanger Lane and Greenford On the central line. At first you’d think Built up, no obvious sign Of rural beauty. Yet across the field Behind the houses Is Selborne Wood, an avian sanctuary Where the cuckoo sings its song in May. Memories too of Horsenden Hill Go over the top towards Sudbury Passing Greenford on your way. Below is the Grand Union Canal With ponderous barges chugging by And to the south St. Mary’s church Its tower etched tiny against the sky. Perivale, my home for twenty six years Has it a claim to fame? Think Art Deco, striking white facade, Western Avenue, Hoover is its name. Ann Crowe

Haikus WREN recruit agog King Admiral ignores her Recruit deflated Frances Jacoby Tenor tumbles headlong There goes my malleolus Six months of Dickens Frances Jacoby Why are we waiting The angry rioters bellowed Bring out the traitors. John Allen

My watch has stopped I shall be late again No excuse will do. John Allen My train is late All connections buggered up My usual fate. John Allen

February 6th 1952 It was break, the bell Rang. The King is dead. Silence. We went in sad, numb Ann Crowe

A suburban garden There is a jungle Out there.What are we to do? Dig for victory Ann Crowe

And I remember And I remember, I remember, Leaving my comfort zone. My plane journey in November 2001 To the war torn country of Kosovo In 1999, from March to June Ethnic cleansing took place I know. Houses burnt and looted, Women and children uprooted, All adult males executed, cruelly killed. With mines, bullets, tanks and soldiers

The villages were filled. I recall Berat Musa, saved from Serbian bullets Returning home after an operation on his back. Ten years old,welcomed with flags and flowers United with his mother, sisters and brothers Who had travelled through snow-covered roads for hours. There were many traumatized children And widows living in tents and barns And prisoners waving through iron bars With nothing to occupy their minds for weeks And mountains to which everyone escaped Dragging the aged and infirm on plastic sheets. And schools lacking crayons, pencil and books And smiling faces with welcoming looks. Friends asked if I would visit again ‘Yes, Yes’ I replied, ‘my enthusiasm will not wane to deliver Aid, rebuild broken lives and care for those in pain.’ June Bartlett

Memories of Spain (after Louis MacNeice) And I remember Spain In the spring,in March, the feast of San Jose And the tremor of excitement at the thought of unknown things to come And the cacophony of cornets, trumpets and drums played by the villagers from all around slowly and inexorably marching And the banners and fearsome effigies carried on the shoulders of men, young and old all slowly drifting towards the old town centre Where large fires were built as high as the intricate iron balconies around the square And through all this the all pervading perfume from the orange groves – the blossoms large and lush and fecund. And then, the effigies so painstakingly built from wood and wax and plaster thrown on to the all consuming fires to cries and cheers and celebration and much wine and song. And then as ceremoniously as they came they marched to the sea where women in black with time and work-worn faces cooked paella in large blackened pans The smell of saffron and squid and rice and rabbit filling the air. And I was there Jackie Hicks

Alford- A Remembrance I remember childhood holidays in my mother’s birthplace, a small village nestled in a fertile valley in the wilds of North East Scotland Where the family farm sat square by the roadside leading to the Highlands , Its four feet granite walls impervious to the incessant rain and gales; I remember walking behind the two heifers as they ambled amiably on their way to the byre for milking, their tails swishing, and their large brown eyes wary. The smell of dung mixed with hay on the midden; I remember,too, the sound of the separator in the kitchen, tick tick tocking like the kitchen clock, the cats waiting patiently for their cream reward. The sound of the hens’ cluck, cluck, clucking on the green, roaming free as they should, not shut up in an airless coop. I remember walking down the country road on a Presbyterian Sunday to the church nestled in the valley, where my forefathers are buried, The sad epitaph on the family grave to three of my mother’s siblings who never knew adulthood. I remember the sound of my cousins’ laughter as we played in the loft on wet days, the smell of grain pungent in the airless rooms, The loft where my grandfather had carved the date of some long ago thunderstorm. These days I will never see again but they are forever in my memory bank. Janet Currie

Waiting There are trials and testings in waiting around And there’s little for comfort in the space we have found Just one tree can throw a long shadow On the path we are seeking to follow. A schoolboy’s arrow in chalk Could show us the way to walk The ground is so rocky and bare It is hard on our boots and thin wear Confusions,illusions, diversions, intrusions All tend to soften the mind As we search for the last long path we are seeking And watching for Godot and our promised meeting. Firstly memories arise, and are snatched away By our pre-occupation with time and delay. There is warmth in a travelling companion, With banter and friendship we carry on. A joke and a jest, perhaps that is best, There is no end to the things you can do With a bowler hat shared between two. Non-sense can lighten the burden of thought In this non-sensical world, so absurd And Nothing times Nothing is Nothing of naught

So when Nothing happens, nothing’s occurred. It is tempting to think in the world we see That, maybe,this is the way to be. Evening softens the day’s bright light One could almost imagine the end is in sight As we rest and stay, intent not to despair We long for anew day that’s much more fair. In the last soft rays of the sun We look up to the tree, The branches are hung with new catkins we see, That give hope for the future, and also ensure The hazel tree lives and will always endure By the tree’s own endeavour Hazel nuts are forever! Nature cares,and takes the long view When nature decays it makes all things new. Which leads me to think, could it possibly be That Godot is waiting for me. Margaret Clark

WEA Poetry  
WEA Poetry  

Poems from the WEA Irish Literature Course in Petts Wood