Writing at Home
Here are three poems from residents which respond to former Poet Laureate John Masefield’s classic ‘Sea Fever’
“Garden Fever” – with apologies to John Masefield by Margaret Evans
I must go down the garden again, to the lonely shed and the sky,
And all I ask is spade and fork to dig the ground so dry;
Watch marrows grow, runner beans sway and fruit trees in the morning,
A grey mist of aphid pests, and the courgettes forming.
I must go down the garden again, in the sun the wind and the rain
And all I ask is the hosepipe will not trip me up again;
And all I want is a calm day with the blue tits flying,
And secateurs and lots of string and the pigeons crying.
I must go down to the garden again, tying beans to their tall poles
To the blackbird’s way and the robin’s way as it blows a tornado;
And all I ask is a ball of string from a helpful fellow-gardener,
And harvest fit to serve the wife when the long season’s over.
Jane Read’s Parody
I must go down to the shops again, to procure our daily food,
And all I ask is a clear path and a queue that’s not too rude;
And a full stock of flour and yeast and all I need for baking,
And eggs and milk and butter too, be all mine for the taking.
I must go down to the shops again, for the call of the empty fridge
Is a wild call and a clear call that bugs me like a midge.
And all I ask is a decent day with the sunlight glowing,
With no Covid spray and the crowds at bay , and no wind blowing.
I must go down to the shops again, to resume my normal life,
To the old way and a normal day where germs are no longer rife;
And all I ask is a masked smile from a nervous fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the first trek’s over.
“WOOD FEVER” by Robin Shaw [Sorry John Masefield]
I must go down to the woods again and walk to the woodland crest,
And all I ask is tall trees and the winter sun in the west,
And gaunt trunks and dark limbs and fine twigs, etched against the sky.
And shafts of light on sodden leaves on the paths as I pass by.
I must go down to the woods again, for these are bluebell days
And all I ask is a pale sun, to bring out that azure haze.
And the blue spreading up long slopes and into ditch and dell
And the bare oaks and the subtle hue and the vibrant musky smell
I must go down to the woods again when they’re deep with summer shade
And the insects hum in the warm sun that lights the open glade
And no one at all heeds the pigeons call, up in the leafy tops,
And the undergrowth, is green and dense in the badger-sheltering copse
I must go down to the woods again when the leaves are gold and brown.
And all I ask is a lingering sun and the acorns dropping down,
And blackberries along the ride and the woodbine creamy white
And holly berries turning red. And a startled jay in flight.