October 2021

Narrative Poetry

Our second meeting of the year face-to-face. It feels as if normality is returning although we are still missing one or two as they are still ensuring that they are extra safe – who can blame them?

For this meeting Margaret and Bob took us through a wonderful range of narrative poetry and encouraged us to write our own. Our pieces follow:

Pandemic blues

Who would have thought that Covid 19

Could have changed our lives? Totally unseen.

No more visiting our family and friends

Who knows when this story will ever end?

My food now comes to me in a van

Some days it’s Jane, others it’s Sam

Trips out now are a walk in the park.

Alright for a while. It’s a bit of a lark.

Fed up with walking so switching to gardening

Planting and sowing and pruning and weeding.

Can’t get away for a trip to the sun

Bought a nice summer house. Having some fun.

Have some spare money with no hols in view.

So, tarting the house up to make it like new.

Putting on weight and drinking more booze.

Watching TV repeats. Oh, off for a snooze!

No more meetings, only on Zoom

Here we all are shut up in our room.

Pity the folk who can’t get online.

Stuck with their phones. Maybe that’s fine.

Missing our meetings and lunch out with a friend.

Restrictions, shortages driving me round the bend.

No more events to wear a posh frock

May as well go and put them in hock.

Slouching around in jeans and a jumper

No one can see that I’m getting plumper.

Weddings postponed or a tiny affair.

No stress for bride’s mum. She’s without a care.

Small number at funerals. No chance of a wake

Mourners wear masks. No sign of a cake.

Summer’s not bad but winter is grim.

Gone back to reading but the light is so dim.

We’re taking more notice of worldwide affairs.

Wildfires and floods and a downturn in shares.

Can’t bear to watch the bad news anymore.

All of it makes my blood pressure soar.

Julia ©2021

Magic Mornings

Two beanstalks sat at the bottom of my garden,

They leant against a shed,

Each morning Jack stared at the green shoots,

And sprinkled them with water,

The plants grew very tall.

One day he gazed in awe,

‘Where do they go to?’

‘Can we climb them?’

‘Wait and see,’ she laughed,

‘Look with care, at the very top.’

Two golden flowers began to peep then open,

‘My name is Sunflower,’

‘We are big and bright,’

‘Tomorrow you will look,’

‘Then smile and feel happy.’


The Traveller

The traveller set out in her stylish red car,

But fuel was getting low.

Only ten more miles on the clock, she read,

To the garage I must go.

On the local forecourt she had a shock.

No petrol to be had!

She drove around from street to street –

Situation bad.

The traveller was forced to wait in line

To fill her tank to the brim.

But it wasn’t the end of her troubles that day,

The motorway was grim.

On the M25, just a few miles from home,

The cars had ground to a halt.

Protesters were sitting all over the road,

The chaos was all their fault.

At first she was angry, and then she was sad

That activists had to fight.

The whole planet knows that we’re heating up,

So maybe they were right.

The traveller returned to her own little flat

And Googled ‘electric car’.

She vowed that in future she was going to be green

And not to travel so far.



Travelling along on an autumn morn,

Seeing fields now stripped of their harvest,

She thought of the farmer who’d worked from dawn

Planting, weeding, tending his crop to give it the best

chance in life.

A seed was sown

A plan was made

It had slowly grown

Filled out in time,

It did not fade

but reached full bloom.

As the months wore on

She knew fairly soon

That the time had come

To cut her ties

And let it die,

To bid farewell

To the one she’d loved.

So, travelling along on that autumn morn

Seeing the fields now stripped of their harvest,

She thought of the farmer who’d worked from dawn

Planting, weeding, tending his crop to give it the best

chance in Life.



Oo Arrr!

Jack Tar was at the bar,

Located on the Bristol quay,

Spending all his hard earned pay,

Which could not last all day.


It’s now he be ‘The Drunken Sailor’,

Wanting to sleep until he’s sober,

But there is no time for that,

Captain tells old rum soaked Jack


Because the tide is on the ebb,

Nobody can go to bed,

Clearly, there’s an urgency,

For the ship must put to sea!


Up upon the topmost spar,

All Jack’s toes curl round the bar,

Gripping boom with flesh and nail,

Hands now free, to set the sail,


Out at sea, Jack wonders why,

A guy like him, with just one eye

Is up here in the cold crow’s nest,

In just his shrunken pants and vest.


Thinks Jack ‘It simply has to be.

That every man has his duty,

And Jack so wants his share of treasure,

For to live in leisured pleasure!’


This is how Jack’s working brain,

Comes to reason once again,

That he must be a good sailor,

If he wants the captain’s favour.


Suddenly the ship goes fast,

(Good job Jack’s tied to the mast!)

Nosediving, the vessel falls,

And Jack can hear the devil call!


The upward wave now meets the prow,

Jack looks up into heaven now,

Angels sing so beautifully,

‘For those in peril on the sea.’


The ship tilts left, the ship tilts right,

Giving Jack an awful fright.

Booms and sails both touch the sea,

Stressing life’s fragility.


A wave swamps Jack, and all he sees,

Is Davy Jones, and Neptune’s teeth,

He gasps for breath and swallows brine,

And wants to work for a cruise line!


 But every man must do his duty!!

That last wave really was a beauty,

It drummed upon the battened hatches,

Rattling all the metal latches!


‘Is it worse below d’you think,

In the dark, can’t see the drink,

Not knowing what is coming next,

Mind and soul, both scared and vexed?’


Jack’s done this oh so many times,

His alcohol doth dull his mind ,

His watch has never been well kept,

He’s drunk, one eyed, and so inept!


Eight bells are rung, he’s sober now,

The storm is over, and allows

A change of shift and Jack can go,

And get some sleep, down below 


His hammock acts just like a cradle,

Rocking Jack it will enable,

Him to close his single eye,

And bid the waking world goodbye.


Jack’s brother, Jim, a one armed farmer,

Is just like Jack, but so much calmer,

Yet both men say ‘Oo arrr, oo arrr’

If on the farm or on the spar!


Both Jack and Jim are rough and tough,

And when they’ve simply ‘ad enough,

Of digs at how they dress and talk,

They’ll turn and make the teaser squawk!


They both fight well if at close quarters,

Jack lost his eye repelling boarders

An errant cutlass slashed his face,

Before his blade his foe did waste.


Jim lost an arm in a threshing machine,

When he placed it in-between,

Two spikes, to try and free a jam,

And so he lost both arm and hand.


Neither man received  ‘First Aid’

But wounds did heal in a ghastly way,

And now with bodies incomplete,

Both men still have to earn their keep.


No Welfare State, no loving church,

So both men must keep up their work,

To earn a crust for kith and kin,

To buy some rum, and a little gin.


Jim can plough a fallow field,

And always get a handsome yield,

He can milk the old brown cow,

There’s not much life left in her now.


He can lamb a sheep in Spring,

He can do most anything,

Harness the horse to the plough,

And slaughter his pot bellied sow.


Mucking out the old cow shed,

Clears Jim’s thumping, groggy head,

And when he leans upon his gate,

He chats to animals, and mates.


All this, back then, was normal life,

Constant toil, and stress, and strife,

And when such folk got sour, or grumpy

They always found some cheer in scrumpy!

Oo arrr!

Oo arrr!

© Bob Reader October 2021