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Posts Tagged ‘Tony Quarrington author’


How many times d’you wash your hands a day?
Between twelve and twenty I’d have to say,
Never been so soft, like a baby’s bum,
So one good reason for not feeling glum.

The four horsemen have smiles on their faces,
Sunning themselves in all the best places
As they scatter the crowds standing too near
On the beach, outside pubs or shopping for beer.

Plenty to do while you’re residing at home,
Read a book, clean the loo – or write a poem;
Watch TV if you must, though the news sucks
For me, I’d rather be feeding the ducks.

Learn a language, decorate the spare room,
Teach your children well, watch your flowers bloom;
Catalogue your DVD collection
Or make more time for quiet reflection.

No better time to heed Jean Paul Sartre’s quote,
Hell is other people he wisely wrote;
So if you venture outdoors, please keep clear
Of others if you hold your loved ones dear.

We must mind the call for self-isolation
If we have any chance to save this nation;
But if you’re sad at missing your hugging,
We’ve sent packing the virus of chugging.

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Outside my bedroom window
A lonely wood pigeon sits,
Mourning his mate that has
Mysteriously gone missing
This past week and a half.

Compelled to remain
On the same spot,
On the same branch,
On the same tree,
Day after day after day
In the hope she may return.

He has neither called out
Nor left his perch to hunt for her,
He waits, still and stoic,
As a pair of frisky magpies
Cavort blindly above his head
And a nimble squirrel scurries
Along the adjoining branch.

He does not flinch a feather,
But sits and waits
For when his life
Will be the same again.

Though it can never be.

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Muffled footsteps on grey cracked pavements,
Whispered voices, even in vigorous debate;
Motorway noise reduced to a dull murmur,
A spectral stillness permeates the air.
The sun is shining but the children’s playground,
Slides, swings and climbing frames all,
Is empty, except for puzzled pigeons
Pottering around for particles of food.
Meanwhile, a mere half a mile away,
Shoppers scream and scuffle over
The last half dozen carton of eggs
And a pack of four quilted toilet rolls.

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Swerve me but please smile at me too
When next you see me on the street;
I promise to do that for you,
Look up, not down, at your tired feet.

We are all in this together
The politicians love to claim;
This will not go on forever,
Nobody here that we should blame.

Do not use this as time for greed,
Practice compassion and be kind;
Physical distance is all we need,
Keep each other in heart and mind.

When the time comes to stay at home
As it will surely do so soon,
Do not forget mail, text and phone
To keep in touch through May and June.

Swerve me but please smile at me too
When next you see me on the street;
I promise to do that for you,
Look up, not down, at your tired feet.

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Our world is slowly shutting down,
A veil drawn over social life;
Flights, concerts, even trips to town,
Designed to help halt viral strife.

A roaring silence stalks the streets,
Coffee catch ups things of the past,
Gone too short break or restaurant treats,
How long will this grim nightmare last?

Weeks, maybe months, we have been told
To keep our distance yet still show care
For the defenceless and the old,
To face this burden, we must share.

What do we do now when we meet?
Hugs and kisses will no more do,
Elbow bump or Namaste greet?
Choose the welcome that works for you.

So hunker down and ride this out,
Do as we’re told, no pain no gain,
And of this there can be no doubt,
It’s time to wash my hands again.

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“We love local”, the menu discreetly declares,
And be it full English, vegan, porridge or toast,
There is no other brunch venue in town compares,
For welcome and fresh fare make this no idle boast.

Hallowed hippie hangout half a century before,
Deafening juke box blasting in Archie’s coffee bar,
Reefer smoke swirling round the dim, crowded top floor;
Once the Acropolis, now Folkestone’s dining star.

My name quaintly spelt out in wooden Scrabble tiles
Beckons me to my customary window seat;
I taste my cappuccino while returning passing smiles,
No better spot from which to watch the winding street.

Among the mounted shelves and dried hops tree lights glint,
Local art and thank you cards adorn grey green walls;
I settle down to check my current poem print
And order food before the lunchtime menu calls.

My Kentish sausage breakfast bap arrives in time,
With two poached eggs sharing its king sized sourdough bed;
To not eat every single scrap would be a crime,
Or of pomegranate seed salad leave a shred.

But how do I contrive to eat this luscious beast
While maintaining my natural elegance and poise?
Here the humble breakfast is a flavoursome feast;
I glance again upon the street towards Big Boys.

Strange how the enduring romance of the scene below
Recedes when rain stained stone slabs no longer glisten,
But sitting here in the corner by this window,
Between the houseplants to cultured chat I listen.

 

 

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The birds they still sing,
The flowers still bloom,
It is almost Spring,
It can’t all be doom.

The bars are still full,
The children still play,
If this is to change
This is not the day.

That day will still come,
Later or in weeks,
For now, don’t succumb
To fears when it peaks.

Maybe our last chance,
A time of calm peace,
This inaudible dance
Will soon enough cease.

The birds they still sing,
The flowers still bloom,
It is almost Spring,
It can’t all be doom.

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Today I read that you had died.
Saw it by chance, in black and white;
After a short illness, it said,
Surrounded by loved ones, at night.

First news of you in fifty years,
No photographs nor word of yours
Had I received in all that time,
Discarded then, beloved no more.

Now I’ll never know the answers
To questions I have asked for years;
Could we have built a life together,
Endured, then blossomed through the tears?

Do you recall that dress you wore,
Long, black, sleek, shimmering and smart,
You shone a smile across the room
That burned and melted this boy’s heart?

Do you recall that Sunday lunch,
Thin pretext for our swelling love,
Before you led my hand upstairs
And laid me on your goatskin rug?

Where I first tasted a woman’s skin,
Caressed with slow and tender touch;
As your new son slept in the hall,
We basked within each other’s clutch.

Four weeks we laid in that warm bed,
Rising to feed and change your child
When passion eased and left us spent,
We lay with him and smiled, and smiled.

Do you recall the plans we made,
To leave together, your young son too,
And live in blissful poverty,
On student grant, somehow make do.

But then they said that we were wrong,
That you were ill and I too young,
That we should never meet again
Or I would pay for what I’d done.

Do you recall that still we met
Three times on my planned visits home,
When we sat on our favourite bench,
And snatched kisses from too sweet gloom?

Do you recall thinking of me,
While raising kids and making good,
At social settings with my parents
With talk of me prohibited?

Through sloping fields, by muddy river,
Along the ancient cobbled street,
Courtyards, cafes and Cathedral,
For forty years I yearned to meet.

To see once more your lovely smile,
Across unheeding crowd you’d send,
But that can never happen now,
A second and more wretched end.

Today I read that you had died.
Saw it by chance, in black and white;
After a short illness, it said,
Surrounded by loved ones, at night.

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I know I must accept that you are gone,
But I will look for you in rain and snow,
Where pilgrims trod through Black Boy Alley,
Up Castle Hill and Minor Canon Row.

I still sense your warm breath upon my cheek
In College Yard, The Vines and Blue Boar Lane;
Each whispered female voice renders me weak,
And shock of dark brown hair inflames the pain.

Thick Medway mud mocks my unavailing search
And careless castle pigeons torment me,
But La Providence provides brief release
And no shortage of shops for books and tea.

I pass where Estella taunted poor Pip,
As bat and ball collide on King’s School field,
Reminder of what I loved most till you
Bowled me over and my devotion sealed.

I turn up Boley Hill by Northgate arch
For sanctuary under cool Catalpa tree,
Spreading its graceful arms on holy ground,
I sit down and let my mind roam free.

For one perfect moment I see your face,
Hear your voice, smell your hair and taste your mouth,
But it’s all a foolish afternoon dream
In cathedral doorway in Keats’ warm South.

When I wake, to adjoining gardens I go
Where sun shines bright and birds sing oh so sweet;
Yellow roses wave in warm, gentle breeze,
But there’s no one beside me on “our” seat.

I know I must accept that you are gone,
But I will look for you in rain and snow,
Where pilgrims trod through Black Boy Alley,
Up Boley Hill and Minor Canon Row.

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A fearless chick loiters with intent
By Bob’s whitewashed seafood stall,
Affecting to ignore the cartons of
Whelks and cockles and lobster tails
Dispensed a few short steps away,
But pouncing on any edible debris
Unwittingly or deliberately dropped
By thoughtless human passers by.

By Pent’s red brick sluice gate
They luxuriate in a bracing shower
In muddy, minute puddles left behind
By gone, at least for now, high water;
With half an eye in the direction
Of Chummy’s charitable staff who
Discard empty shells on stony ground.

Teetering on bare, oarless rowing boats,
Or perched on piles of greying wood
Wedged deep into the hardening mud,
They pass the interminable time
Till the small crafts stir and sway again
And the sun glints on the wind blown water.

A fretful throng starts to assemble
At the end of sloping Rocksalt jetty,
Squabbling over the best viewing spot
To wait in line for the painfully slow
Incoming tide to reappear;
In the meantime, scavenging for scraps
On the Stade’s concrete harbour floor,
Disdainfully dropping bottle tops,
Dog ends and paper coffee cups.

Shrieks and cries rise in intensity
As the prodigal, once truant waves
Flood through Folkestone’s golden gate,
Between the now closed off East Head
And war ravaged remnants of South Quay.

A frantic chick chases after its mother,
Letting out a constant stream of whistles,
Pleading for a morsel of fresh fish
Now washing over its grateful feet;
But the peevish parent pecks its bobbing head
And bids it bide its time a little longer.

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