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A COLLECTION OF POEMS FROM RAY STEARN

Our Story, Our Journey

We were nervous, some quiet,

Some seeming to want to be anywhere but here

Where Vibe welcomed us all, every one with a story to tell.

A unique group, all with a different beginning, perhaps

Trapped in a country, trapped in a mind, trapped in a place which is not always kind,

What sort of stories to tell might we find?

Too canny for Kennings, storyboard shy,

The tales some held brought a tear to the eye.

But still we kept coming.

Some reluctant, some withdrawn,

Some seeming to be brimming with confidence

But were they? Everyone with a story to tell.

Our forming group, bonding a new today, perhaps

Trapped in a country, trapped in a mind, trapped in a place which is not always kind,

What sort of stories to tell might we find?

Too canny for Kennings, storyboard shy,

The tales some held brought a tear to the eye.

But still we kept coming.

Kent Dialect


As a Man of Kent you can take it from me

Kent is famed for hops, fair maids and civility.

I hail from Starv'em, Rob'm and Cheat'm and that'll do.

(Strood, Rochester and Chatham to you)

I travelled well some 200 Kentish miles

To see a bit of the world and all is wiles.

To Kill'em, Cart'em and Bury'em I went

(That's Chilham, Chartham and Canterbury, all in Kent)

But a whistling woman and a crowing hen

Are neither good for God nor men,

So as sure as there's a dog in Dover

I came to give Rochdale a quick once over.

Now, thirty years later, I've seen some scenes

That would make a donkey run away from his beans!

But I kept me head down, I was doing alright

(For when a sheep baas it loses a bite)

It's not been all hard work, there's been time to smile

And folk are friendly, if you bide a while.

So I stayed, and worked and made some friends

But this isn't where my story ends

For its all to work, all to play

Pick up your hops and run away!

In Heywood I know some as married at Finglesham Church

Yet despite that they won't leave me in the lurch.

When I feel I've nowt but a pocketful of dead hopes

I now have friends as wouldn't leave me trapped on the ropes.

I arrived in this county all of a tremor, all of a trot

Then retired peaceful and calm as likely as not.

Well, that's near enough for hog shearing

And enough from me, all of what you've been hearing,

For a man who fair likes a place, well he don't knock it

You wants that as much as a toad wants a side pocket.

I'm trying hard to describe life at Lancashire's edge

Groping about like a blind hen, looking for a worm in a hedge.

What I'm trying to say, like a twig in a pie nest

You Lancashire folk are some of Gods finest.

© Ray Stearn 22nd April 2020

Home Thoughts From Home

Oh, to be in England

Now the lockdown’s here

And whoever wakes in England

Sees, some morning, unaware,

That the PPE and protective masks

Round the NHS are in short supply

But the staff continue, I don’t know how

In England – now!

And after April, when May follows,

As the virus builds, or we hope gets swallowed

By the social distancing, while our bets we hedge

Walk to the fields and exhale droplets

Others breathe in at the vented spray’s edge-

The wise wash hands, singing songs twice over

Lest you should think we will never recapture

The world’s fine careless rapture!

And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,

None will see it for none can now go through

The buttercups, the little children’s dower

Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower

© Ray Stearn 23rd April 2020


Isolation Blues

Mum’s knitting face masks for nurses

Gran’s swilling Corona Beer

Grandad just sits there and curses

I want to be miles from here

The government say we are lumbered

Three weeks or more we must face

I want to nip out for a burger

But afraid the police will give chase

In a lifetime or two they will wonder

What the national plague was about

But we just try not to go under

As our future just goes up the spout

Wash your hands, wash your hands is the message

Don’t go out, don’t meet up with your friends

Not with a bang but a virus

Is this how the universe ends

© Ray Stearn 17 April 2020

Isolation


Alone

Isolated

All my fears bubble up

An enormous Irish Stew on the stove of anxiety

The holly bush pops into my mind like a potato surfacing through the broth

Will its roots grow through the foundations?

Then the wind increases, the potato holly dives

Slates take its place , quorn pieces in this veggie stew

Will they still be on the roof come morning

Another bubble from the stove

Carrots surface as the front door in my mind

Is it rotten or can I repaint it?

Bubble bubble stew and trouble

Is that new chair showing signs of woodworm

Say the turnips in my mind stew

Oh

There’s a virus to worry me too

Corona covid,

So good they named it twice

Take my advice

Don’t think twice

Or hoard rice

Be nice

Be very very nice

Or your swede I will dice

Irish Stew in the name of the law

© Ray Stearn 21st March 2020

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