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Archive for the ‘Family Poetry’ Category

Don’t judge a book by its cover

Or a person by the skin

For though the cover is dusty and worn

A treasure trove hides within.

My hands are a little bit shaky,

I need glasses to help me see

And it seems that the world I have helped to shape

No longer listens to me.

An old person! Yes, that’s what I am,

I stumble and I forget,

But I still have a lot I can offer,

My time isn’t over just yet.

My shaking hand still rocks the cradle

And brushes away a tear,

My tired eyes still read the fairytale

While holding my little one near.

He smiles as he runs to my open arms

And for me that is more than enough

For a little child’s eyes never see the years

They only feel the love.

By Catherine Turner

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The little town of Banjo Bay sits proudly in the cove,

Welcoming her sons home from their toil,

Her harbour filled with laughter, her streets bedecked with love,

A place for growing up and growing old.

The scarlet dawn awakens to the song of Mrs. Jones,

Four and twenty children has she bore,

And every time the father says ‘Enough! The final one!’

And every time the mother says ‘One more?’

Three sets of twins and three of quads then six, who came alone,

And every one is loved as is his right,

Every mouth is filled, every head is neatly combed,

And every rosy cheek is kissed goodnight.

A for Annie is the first, the second B for Brad,

And C the third is beautiful Claudette,

Then D for Daisy, E for Eve and F for Ferdinand,

And thus they travel, through the alphabet.

A hard life hers but happy and no other she desires,

With spark enough to take all life may bring,

Contentedly she stirs the pot upon the cheery fire,

Each scarlet dawn awakened as she sings.

A farming man is Mr. Jones and happy with his lot,

Providing for his wife and swelling brood,

His vegetable garden fills the ever-bubbling pot,

So never will his children want for food.

His herd of cows give up the milk that growing children need,

His sheep give up the fleece that keeps them warm,

Fresh laid eggs from happy hens and apples from the trees,

Oats and barley gathered in the barn.

Waving fields of wheat supply the flour for the dough,

Snuffling pigs provide the breakfast feast,

Self sufficient Mr. Jones no other life would know,

The little farm has everything he needs.

From ‘morn till night the busy farmer ploughs and reaps and sows,

While Mrs. Jones is left to do all else,

Cooking, cleaning, shaking beds and washing dirty clothes,

All the while a-singing to herself.

Soon she will be bouncing yet another on her knee,

The family crib waits in a tiny room,

Tomorrow she will go to town, a doctor for to see,

To turn the sweet Yolanda in her womb.

For unlike every other who was born with ne’er a hitch,

Yolanda is a baby in a hurry,

But Mrs. Jones is confident that though the babe is breached,

No cause has she or Mr. Jones to worry.

Now there upon the cobbled street the ailing wife we spy,

For sweet Yolanda can no longer wait,

In haste, back to the little farm her stumbling footsteps fly,

Where Mr. Jones is waiting at the gate.

And there, beside the little gate, delivers he the girl,

But near to death his ever-loving wife,

No other child will follow sweet Yolanda to this world,

For sore the damage done to give her life.

The evening tide rolls in upon the golden, sandy shore,

As Mr. Jones a silent vigil keeps,

Little faces peer around the creaky bedroom door

A-watching o’er their mother as she sleeps.

But when the sickened reaper calls he finds no soul to claim,

For on the little farm the tide has turned,

Against all odds the roses bloom upon her cheeks again,

The pot is stirred, the cheery fire burns.

But all can see, that changed is she, the spark of life she lacks,

No longer does her song bring in the dawn,

Only tears of longing for the little baby, Zak,

The baby who will never now be born.

No morning kiss to send the farmer out to till the soil,

No loving arms to hold him as he sleeps,

Sad is he to see the love they shared so badly spoiled,

But thankful he, his tortured wife he keeps.

Tide on tide roll in upon the shores of Banjo Bay,

The baby crawls, the woolly sheep are shorn,

The wife scrubs out the heavy pot and clears the toys away,

The husband ploughs the field and sows the corn.

A life that isn’t perfect but a life that could be worse,

The tragedy behind, but not forgot,

But tragedy is never far, it waits to cast its curse,

And now it comes to twist the strangling knot.

The evening star shines down upon the narrow, cobbled streets,

As sweet Yolanda wakens with a start,

The fire of fever burning on her pretty, freckled cheeks,

The drums of hell a-pounding in her heart.

Along the alphabet they fall, as would a pack of cards,

Mrs. Jones in torment kneels to pray,

‘Dear Lord above reach down and save the harvest of my heart,’

‘Take the devil’s pestilence away’.

‘How wrong was I to weep and wail and shun a loyal man’,

‘To worry for a child you cannot bring’,

‘When every blessing you could lend was here, within my hand’,

‘Heal them Lord, and ever will I sing’.

The evening fog rolls in upon the gently waving wheat

And shrouds the empty streets of Banjo Bay,

Many a prayer is said this night on many a bended knee,

Some are welcomed, some are turned away.

The citizens of Banjo Bay stack up the bales of hay,

For all must help to bring the harvest home,

Singing as they swing the scythe in glory of the day,

And singing there beside them, Mrs. Jones.

And now beside the rusty gate the happy farmer stands,

Listening to she he calls his bride,

A-singing to the children who will work this blessed land,

And every one is present, A to Y.

copyright Catherine Turner

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The first star of the evening

through a misty window pane

Prompted me to whisper

that old childhood rhyme again

I didn’t wish for beauty

for all beauty has to end

I didn’t wish for friendship

for she was my truest friend

I didn’t wish for money

for I knew a Mother’s worth

Not even for security

for this I’d had from birth

I didn’t wish for guidance

for she taught me wrong from right

I didn’t wish for love

for I had known it all my life

The wish I made was for the thing

I thought I’d never ask

For what I knew must happen

I hoped would happen fast

Through a misty window

in a room of sterile white

My crying eyes looked out

upon the first star of the night

The saddest star in heaven

that I made my wish upon

The star that made my wish come true

that last long night with Mom

copyright Catherine Turner 2001

Star light, star bright, the first star I see tonight

I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight

Alfred Bester

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As I walked out on Christmas Day
I met a little boy at play,
And though the snow was crisp and deep
He wore no shoes upon his feet
But slippers showing dinosaurs
That long ago had lost their roars,
No gloves had he or cosy coat,
No woolly scarf about his throat,
But in his hand he proudly gripped
A paper kite, creased and ripped,
I called out “That’s a bonny kite,
Is that what Santa left last night?”
He smiled at me and with a cry
He threw the kite up to the sky,
It soared above us as we gazed
And as he laughed I was amazed
That such an uninspiring toy
Could give such pleasure to the boy.
That afternoon I felt so sad
While thinking of the little lad,
Then went upstairs and filled a box
With toys my kids had long forgot,
And through the snow ,excitedly,
The little boy I went to see
Imagining his little face
When in his hands the toys I placed.
I saw the house, the windows bright,
Curtains open to the night,
And through the window I could see
The members of his family,
His father proudly held the lad
Who sat in wonder on his lap,
They sang together merrily
As mother laughed and poured the tea,
No China cups, no steaming ham,
Just saucers cracked, just bread and jam,
The room was bare but filled with joy
That spread it’s arms around the boy,
Twas obvious that they were poor,
But not in love, of that I’m sure.
One moment more I stood and watched
The boy that Santa Claus forgot,
I didn’t knock, there was no need,
I left the toys where he would see
Then turned around and walked back home
To spend my Christmas all alone.

Copyright Catherine Turner November 2016

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Hello Lord. It’s me. Do you remember me at all?

I’m sorry that it’s been so long since I last gave you a call

It was late one Christmas evening; I was only six or seven

I prayed for you to send a teddy bear to me from Heaven

 

I haven’t asked for anything since that Christmas eve

I thought that I was too mature, too grown up to believe

But Lord, I’ve lost the angel who overheard that prayer

She left her children far behind to live with you up there

 

You must be very happy with the new friend that you’ve got

But Lord, I’m feeling lonely, and I cry an awful lot.

I wonder can you spare the time to help me out somehow

I didn’t need you in the past but, Lord, I need you now

 

I know you’ve lots of souls to save and spirits to set free

I know there must be millions who need you more than me

But could you find a moment in your hectic life up there

And send a speedy answer to my selfish little prayer

 

There’s one more favour I must ask before I say goodbye

If you see my angel as you’re travelling round the sky

Please don’t mention anything about this conversation

I wouldn’t want to worry her or cause her aggravation

 

Don’t let her know how weak I am, or that my tears still fall

Keep our little secret………just tell her Cathy called

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Scared of living but afraid to die

Cocaine nights are his only high

Screams from the past and shadows in the night

Heartache that burns him in the cold daylight

There’s a pen in his hand but he’s no writer

His heart’s been beaten and he’ll never be a fighter

We can stand by his side and point the way

But he lives alone with that terrible day.

Adam Williams January 2002

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Remembering

poppies as red as blood were the flowers that grew in the mud.

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When my son Sean was still at primary school he wrote a poem for remembrance as part of a history lesson about the wars. I have been trying to recall the words but will have to do a search amongst the old photos. I know I still have the original somewhere.

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They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old

Age shall not wither them, nor the years condemn

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning

We will remember them.

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