Christmas Poem by John Calvert

RICCARTON CAROL
Before the evening, snow will fall again
Across cold Arnton Fell will rise a star
From the last train,few passengers remain
To wait the opening of the tiny bar
Down from the hill , the shepherd and his dog
Around the curve of line , sheep lift their heads
Foresters by Steele Road cut one last log
Now junction children sleepless in their beds
As low moon steals across white sheeted land
Soon owls will call from spruce plantations cold
A locomotives breath-a burning brand
As evening stars the lines cord into cold

A train creeps up, its prescence like a prayer
Steaming a blessing on the fell -frost air.

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Poem by Julia McGuinness

At Port Sunlight

The houses are gracious here, hold

respectful distance from the road;

sentinelled with chimneys, grass-locked

islands of secrets, packaged in blocks.

But how these old-timers can talk!

 

Hear them argue their origins,

old friends animated over a pint:

half-timbered assertions of Evolution:

a village that rose from the swamp;

red-bricked insistence on Creation:

an orderly paradise forged by design.

 

Their eaves breathe profit and palm oil

from vats that boil, seeping into scent

of hyacinths, bleached and lined in beds.

Ghost echoes criss-cross their walls:

clop of hooves on stone: The Master rides,

warmed by ‘his’ children’s laughter.

 

Their world was simple as soap and water,

towelled in timetables, welfare and faith

in the pure march of progress.

But the air flicks a tear: for five hundred

once sheltered, lost in Flanders fields.

Silence as you face them then

 

their glassy stare turns to cottage charm.

Sedate, they pose, all Mona Lisa smiles,

scrubbed fronts in the sunlight;

backyard, residents tidied from sight:

model village.

 

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