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Posts Tagged ‘Tony Quarrington poet’


On Thursday evenings all over the nation,
A spontaneous movement of appreciation
Has engulfed the people, young and old,
With rich and poor it has taken hold.
In every city, town and village on our map
People stand outside their homes and clap.

From houses, blocks of flats, even ships at sea,
From police and fire stations, from you and from me,
Hospitals, care homes and from all who isolate,
The sounds of cheers and horns reverberate.
A lost spirit of community once more unleashed
A mutual pride, support and respect released.

From work or play it’s a mere momentary pause
To join our families and neighbours in applause,
To demonstrate we have the needed attitude,
And proclaim our heartfelt thanks and gratitude
For those who heal and those who care,
For those who serve us everywhere,
For those whose sacrifice inspires,
Who teach our kids and fight our fires,
Who empty our bins and feed our poor,
Who help rough sleepers sat in shop door,
Who stack the shelves and deliver food,
And all those whose deeds lighten our mood.

In our homes we might on our settees sit,
But by doing nothing we are doing our bit.
Whatever else we can, or cannot afford,
We can all join in two minutes to applaud;
It takes so little time, yet means much more,
To those who risk their lives we are in awe.

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In this unsettling moment
In our recent history,
When the privilege of
Rambling anywhere,
And for as long as I like
Is no more afforded me,
Where on earth might make
This torture tolerable?

Perhaps San Francisco,
Epicentre of my cultural cosmos,
And beloved second home
For a quarter of a century,
Would be where I yearn to be?
But with Shelter-in-Place
Shutting the shining city down,
Its renowned allure is lost.

Or would I feel more at home
Ambling through the narrow streets
Of Sorrento, Taormina or Naples,
Climbing the Campanile in Florence
Or canal hopping in Venice?
But it breaks my heart to see
Mia cara Italia cosi malata,
And I cannot be there either.

But I account myself so blessed
That I am just where I should be,
Where the thrilling, restless waves,
Expansive skies and rolling hills,
Make that strict daily exercise
So satisfying yet too short;
Folkestone has everything I need
Till from our present horror we are freed.

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Waking from a sound night’s slumber,
I reach gingerly for my mobile phone
To check the overnight death toll,
Only to hear voices outside in the street.

Not the customary cacophony of
Gulls, ducks and jackdaws,
But real voices,
Human voices.

As rare on days like this
As trading stores on the high street;
At least two voices, both female,
Swear words in odious evidence.

Was this an illicit assembly
Of more than two people,
Or might they just be members
Of the same household?

In less than a fortnight,
With life never more fragile,
We have become so sensitive,
So easily offended by others’ actions.

So my thoughts turn instantly
To resentment and anger
At the perceived thoughtlessness
Of my unwelcome morning alarm.

Bu then, as I rise to rebuke,
A girl emerges from behind the tree,
Switching off her phone
After a loudspeaker conversation.

Just one girl, alone and guilty only
Of raising her voice in public at 6am;
Leaving my ears assailed by birdlife again
As I fill the kettle for the day’s first cuppa.

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Fancy a coffee?
Plenty of establishments
To choose from,
All over town they are,
Where you can sit and savour
Your black americano
Or caramel latte,
Even sneak a slice
Of millionaire’s shortbread.

Sorry………closed.

Run out of underwear,
Looking for a new dress,
Or, like me, you need
To get your cowboy boots heeled?
There’s plenty of shops
For you to browse and buy in.

Sorry……….closed.

Need some peace and quiet,
To rest your weary feet?
Pop in the library
And enjoy its warm embrace
As you scan the shelves
Or browse the events flyers.

Sorry………closed.

Is your hair getting too long
Or your nails are cracked?
The hairdresser or beautician
Will see you right in no time.

Sorry……….closed.

Caught short while out and about?
Drop by the town hall,
Asda, Sainsbury’s,
Or any of the aforementioned cafes,
Or Pleydell Gardens
Or Radnor Park.

Sorry………closed.

Arrange to meet a friend
And take a stroll along the prom?
Hug, hold hands
Or just walk side by side,
That costs nothing, surely?

Sorry……….not allowed.

All simple, everyday pleasures
We readily take for granted,
Now temporarily withdrawn.

An inconvenience, an irritation,
A jolt to our comfortable routine.

But a small price for our safety,
And the opportunity
To appreciate them again.

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No more lengthy seafront strolls,
Even where few others go,
And seductress sun beckons me
To bask in her luscious glow.

No more shopping in small stores,
Where shoulders rub far too close,
And breath commingles with breath,
Portents of potential fatal dose.

No more near social interaction,
We must scale back in good faith;
Our aims must all now be the same,
Staying home and keeping safe.

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It breaks my heart to see the town
I made my home four years ago,
Be to its knees brought cruelly down,
By an unforeseen foe, laid low.

Lines of listless people straggle
The erstwhile bustling shopping street,
Six feet apart, no speech or gaggle,
Silent, patient, shuffling their feet.

Some wait to get cash from machines,
For stores that will only take cards;
Some with trolleys in third world scenes,
Praying that shortages are past.

Coffee houses, bars, and restaurants closed,
Some may not reopen their doors;
Dark, empty shopfronts lie exposed,
Bleak images of a town floored.

The day cannot come soon enough
When we’ll be free to hug again,
Laugh and chat over coffee cups
And joy will overcome the pain.

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Walking on the Leas has the same appeal
As ever it did when Alice Keppel strolled
Its green sward with her philandering king.

But this morning, there’s an unfamiliar feel,
The world has changed, grown frail and dull and cold,
Though the blue sky screams out the start of Spring.

The peace along the path seems so surreal,
People keeping their distance, young and old,
As waves crash beneath and the small birds sing.

Nature mocks mankind’s poor attempts to heal,
Bright sunshine sends the wind and rain on hold,
Our latest disobedience our last fling.

Enjoy the sun, stay as long as you can,
You may get ill, but also get a tan.

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