Poets Run WILD Entries
Haiku and photo by James Warman
The storm is passing
The air is now fresh and clear
It’s time to move on
(from a poem “Monumental Shrewsbury” written by Michael Carding in 2013)
Lord Hill, victorious yet solemn,
Stands atop his Doric column;
In battledress, with sword at hand,
None could look down on one so grand.
If he could speak to me and you
He’d tell us tales of Waterloo.
You’re right, dear poet, I’ve lots to tell
Of canon breach and horse that fell.
But first I’ll get down from this stand,
So many steps, lend me your hand.
Two hundred years, how time has flown,
These streets of wool I called my own;
Through Salop town let’s take a walk
Of stories old and new I’ll talk.
Ah! Here we are on terra firma,
Four lions sleep without a murmur;
I watched that ugly building rise
(It looks no better from the skies).
Down Abbey Foregate, past The Bell,
Which of my noble birth might tell:
Proud Hawkstone, dressed in oak and holly,
Now fairways complement the folly.
We pass the Abbey’s old south door
Where Henry prayed post-Agincourt,
Then on across the English Bridge,
Queen Mary eased the summit ridge.
The army was my sole vocation,
To fight the French and save our nation;
A captain aged just twenty one
At thirty wounded by a gun.
The Cop has hardly changed at all,
Romance and love at Lion Ball.
That statue, is it me up there?
No! vulgar Clive adorns the square.
His wealth, enough to make Hill’s puke
Yet never did he serve the Duke;
I rose to be his number two
And win the day at Waterloo.
Turn right with pride and, keeping cool,
We reach the castle and the school:
Thomas Telford was well met
His roads and bridges stable yet;
Little Charlie, from the Mount,
Would look and draw, observe and count;
The three of us our puzzles solved
As nineteenth century evolved.
History for me was earlier
With Bolingbroke and rash Hotspur;
We gathered yearly by the Cross
To praise the victor, mourn the loss.
I joined the army, wandering far
From Egypt to Peninsuar;
A soldier, destined from the start
To crush the mighty Bonaparte.
I died in eighteen forty-two
Since when I’ve had my Hill-top view.
The railway came in forty-eight
With station next to prison gate,
London Road stretched south for miles
Bringing lepers to St Giles,
Later Severn men would play
In grassy meadow, bold and gay.
Without a wife I knew Grope Lane,
A Viscount none the less became,
Yet died so soon, just four months grace,
And up the column took my place.
Dear poet, we must hurry back,
Thanks for your company, nothing lack;
I’ll stand and watch the to and fro
As two more centuries pass below.
Lord Hill, he climbed back up his column,
Spring in his step, no longer solemn.
In battle dress and sword at hand
We’d walked the streets, surveyed the land.
His stories I have shared with you
From Hawkstone through to Waterloo.
Michael Carding May 2020
Caught? Who knows how;
Off? Who knows who;
Remedy? Who knows what.
Our lives rocked, diaries wiped clean and sanitised,
Nothing stands in the way as the
Angel of Death stalks the land whispering “Be Afraid”.
Ventilator shortage, systems gasping for breath,
Isolate, wash hands and pray for deliverance.
Re-boot the model to delay and suppress;
Undertake to repent, rethink and recover.
Survival of the fittest.
Michael Carding: 16th March 2020 as the seriousness of the pandemic became clear
Uncertain Nature at Eastertide
The Severn runs wild in February
The Virus is running wild in the East.
By April, trees send blossom to our pavements
By Maundy Thursday birds sing their rightful chorus.
A drowning of human noise, replaced by thrushes whistling to
A choir of blackbirds, wrens, robins, sparrows and Tits.
The threat on Good Friday is one beautiful Jay in an apple tree
The Virus wild, silent; increases , threatening humanity itself.
Love is resurrected on Easter Day as families reach out to their own
Nature is resurrected in each primrose, catkin and forget-me-not.
The Severn runs gently in May joined only by its lazy brooks
Hope rises gently in our hearts, tamed only by uncertainty.
"Wild The Call"
Amongst the hills of Stretton
With buzzards and kites
The fields that patch the plain
With lambs that skip
And golden grain
Older than time
And dead mens’ bones
Where dippers play
Wild the call
Of nature’s art
Wild the call
To our Shropshire hearts.